Neurointerventions, Crime, and Punishment: Ethical Considerations

ISBN : 9780190846428

Jesper Ryberg
256 ページ
156 x 156 mm

Advances in new neuroscientific research tools and technologies have not only led to new insight into the processes of the human brain, they have also refined and provided genuinely new ways of modifying and manipulating the human brain. The aspiration of such interventions is to affect conative, cognitive, and affective brain processes associated with emotional regulation, empathy, and moral judgment. Can the use of neuroscientific technologies for influencing the human functioning brain as a means of preventing offenders from engaging in future criminal conduct be justified? In Neurointerventions, Crime, and Punishment, Jesper Ryberg considers various ethical challenges surrounding this question. More precisely, he provides a framework for considering neuroethical issues within the criminal justice system and examines a set of procedures which the criminal justice system relies on to deal with criminal offending. To do this, Ryberg addresses the following questions, among others: Is it morally acceptable to offer more lenient sentences to offenders in return for participation in neuroscientific treatment programs? Or would such offers be unacceptably coercive? Is it possible to administer neurointerventions as a type of punishment? Would it be acceptable for physicians to participate in the administration of neurointerventions on offenders? What is the moral significance of the sordid history of brain interventions for the present or future use of such treatment options? As rehabilitation comes back into fashion after many decades and as neuroscientific knowledge and technology advance rapidly, these intricate and controversial topics become increasingly more urgent. Ryberg argues that many of the in-principle objections to neuroscientific treatment are premature, but given the way criminal justice systems currently function, such treatment methods should not be put into practice.


Chapter 1: Neurointerventions and Crime Prevention: Setting the Stage
Chapter 2: Neurointerventions and Penal Reductions
Chapter 3: Compulsory Neurointerventions on Offenders
Chapter 4: Neurointerventions as Punishment
Chapter 5: Neurointerventions and Physician Participation
Chapter 6: Neurointerventions and the Lesson from History
Chapter 7: Neurointerventions and Criminal Justice Practice


Jesper Ryberg is Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Law at Roskilde University, Denmark. He is head of the Research Group for Criminal Justice Ethics and of the Neuroethics and Criminal Justice Project funded by the Danish Research Foundation.