Criminal Process as Mutual Accountability: Mass Incarceration, Carcerality, and Abolition

  • Stephen DarwallEmail author
  • William Darwall
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Ethics and Public Policy book series (PASEPP)


Elsewhere, Stephen Darwall has argued for a mutual accountability framework of law and gestured toward a mutual accountability framework of punishment. Little was said, however, regarding what the latter conception of punishment would require, structurally and functionally. Here Stephen and William Darwall address these matters in the specific context of contemporary American policing and penal institutions. From historical and empirical work on the American carceral regime, they argue, first, that its institutions fail to meet accountability conditions necessary for their legitimacy. Second, they argue that these institutions are responsible for producing social dynamics that undermine the possibility of mutual accountability in general. They conclude that American carceral institutions lack the authority they purport to have to make and enforce the criminal law, and thus that any effort, theoretical or practical, to realize justice in the domain of criminal process, requires an abolitionist framework.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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