New Criticals

If we are to have a robust notion of human freedom, there must also be a robust notion of responsibility that coincides with that freedom. By revealing the complexity of the criminal-dividual, will, freedom, and responsibility are not eliminated, but illuminated. The assertion is simply that the dichotomy fails, and that an overemphasis on either side—individual or social—does not adequately capture the complex nature of the criminal and crime. Nonetheless, by becoming aware of the various social and historical factors that always circumscribe an individual's action, we understand that the rigid schism between individual and society is not only false, but a paradigm that has important social, political, and moral consequences. A society that is serious about equality, justice, and freedom must take the criminal seriously, not just through reactive "tough on crime" policies, but through a proactive and intelligent reevaluation of crime and punishment that is responsible to society, the victims, and the criminal.