Coercion and the Neurocorrective Offer

In David Rhys Birks & Thomas Douglas (eds.), reatment for Crime: Philosophical Essays on Neurointerventions in Criminal Justice. Oxford, UK: (forthcoming)
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According to what Douglas calls ‘the consent requirement’, neuro-correctives can only permissibly be provided with the valid consent of the offender who will undergo the intervention. Some of those who endorse the consent requirement have claimed that even though the requirement prohibits the imposition of mandatory neurocorrectives on criminal offenders, it may yet be permissible to offer offenders the opportunity to consent to undergoing such an intervention, in return for a reduction to their penal sentence. I call this the neurocorrective offer. In this chapter I consider the coercion-based objection to the neurocorrective offer, which claims that offenders cannot provide valid consent to undergoing a neurocorrective on the basis of this offer because it is inherently coercive. Having outlined early formulations of this argument, I point out that there are in fact two different versions of this objection, which appeal to different understandings of the concepts of coercion, consent and voluntariness.

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Jonathan Pugh
Oxford University


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