Penal Contextualism and Ideational Frameworks: A Guide for the Perplexed

Alessandro Spena


In my paper, I attempt a critical review of Nicola Lacey’s book In Search of Criminal Responsibility, by arguing, firstly, that she gives the categories of “character responsibility” and “capacity responsibility” an over-inclusive account, which results from her filling each of them with views that are not only disparate but also based, at least in part, on conflicting principles; and, secondly, that Lacey’s spelling out of various conceptions of “criminal responsibility” necessarily entails an underlying unitary definition of its subject matter, that is, the concept of “criminal responsibility,” which seems to conflict with her (version of) penal contextualism.

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