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Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal (2002)
  • John A Bozza
How we view the nature of human behavior has a great deal to do with how we respond to criminal offenders. If we believe that behavior is the product of the exercise of free will, we will be more inclined to adopt a retributive orientation and punish the offender because he or she deserves it for making a poor choice. On the other hand, if we accept that behavior is less the product of a voluntary decision and more the result of influences beyond the person’s control, a response approach intended to effectively alter the offender’s behavior will be more attractive. The response approach has most often been justified by pointing to assumptions about the causes of crime. In this essay I argue that the reverse may also be true, that the response choice plays a subtle but significant role in shaping our view of why criminals behave the way they do. This approach is a development that is accelerating with the emergence of what I view as a renewed and compelling interest in treatment as an alternative response to myriad forms of criminal behavior. The movement toward a treatment orientation has been motivated by both traditional social pragmatism and developments in the application of science to the modification of behavioral anomalies. I suggest that a new treatment imperative is likely to fundamentally influence, with attendant social consequences, core conceptualizations in the criminal law concerning the nature of criminal liability and justifications for criminal sanctions.
Publication Date
Winter 2002
Citation Information
John A Bozza. "THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT”:" Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal Vol. 12 Iss. 1 (2002)
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