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Justice Through Apologies
Remorse, Reform, and Punishment
In this follow up to I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies, Nick Smith expands his ambitious theories of categorical apologies to civil and criminal law. After rejecting court-ordered apologies as unjustifiable humiliation, this book explains that penitentiaries were originally designed to bring about penance - something like apology - and that this tradition has been lost in the assembly line of mass incarceration. Smith argues that the state should modernize these principles and techniques to reduce punishments for offenders who demonstrate moral transformation through apologizing. Smith also explains the counterintuitive situation whereby apologies come to have considerable financial worth in civil cases because victims associate them with priceless matters of the soul. Such confusions allow powerful wrongdoers to manipulate perceptions to disastrous effect, such as when corporations or governments assert that apologies do not equate to accepting blame or require reform or redress.
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