Responsibility without blame: therapy, philosophy, law

Hanna Pickard

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I offer a philosophical account of the meaning of responsibility and the meaning of blame which shows how it is possible to distinguish them, in theory and in practice. Drawing on clinical interventions targeting problematic behaviour in service users with personality disorder, I explain why it is essential to maintain responsibility and accountability in order to enable learning and change, while it is essential to avoid blame. I suggest that the clinical stance of Responsibility without Blame be adopted within the criminal justice system, as a framework for addressing offending behaviour in a way which serves not only justice, but also reform and rehabilitation, by attending to the mental health of offenders while yet holding them responsible and to account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-16
JournalPrison Service Journal
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2014


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