Birks, D. and Douglas, T., (Eds.) (2018), 'Treatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointervention in Criminal Justice'. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Preventing recidivism is one of the aims of criminal justice, yet existing means of pursuing this aim are often poorly effective, highly restrictive of basic freedoms, and significantly harmful. Incarceration, for example, tends to be disruptive of personal relationships and careers, detrimental to physical and mental health, restrictive of freedom of movement, and rarely more than modestly effective at preventing recidivism. Crime-preventing neurointerventions (CPNs) are increasingly being advocated, and there is a growing use of testosterone-lowering agents to prevent recidivism in sexual offenders, and strong political and scientific interest in developing pharmaceutical treatments for psychopathy and anti-social behaviour. Future
neuroscientific advances could yield further CPNs; we could ultimately have at our disposal a range of drugs capable of suppressing violent aggression
and it is not difficult to imagine possible applications of such drugs in crime prevention.
Neurointerventions hold out the promise of preventing recidivism in ways that are both more effective, and more humane. But should neurointerventions be used in crime prevention? And may the state ever permissibly impose CPNs as part of the criminal justice process, either unconditionally, or as a condition of parole or early release? The use of CPNs raises several ethical concerns, as they could be highly intrusive and may threaten fundamental human values, such as bodily integrity and freedom of thought. In the first book-length treatment of this topic, Treatment for Crime, brings together original contributions from internationally renowned moral and political philosophers to address these questions and consider the possible issues, recognizing how humanity has a track record of misguided, harmful and unwarrantedly coercive use of neurotechnological 'solutions' to criminality.