Jarvers, K. (2021). Effectiveness, Proportionality and the Abstract and Concrete Forms of Decriminalisation. The Example of Italy. In E. Billis, N. Knust, & J. P. Rui (Eds.), Proportionality in crime control and criminal justice (pp. 207–226). Oxford: Hart Publishing. doi:10.5040/9781509938636.ch-011
The question of the proportionality and effectiveness of criminal law was addressed back in the nineteenth century by Franz von Liszt, who called punishment a double-edged sword aimed at the protection of legal interests (of potential victims) through the infringement of legal interests (of potential offenders). If punishment is to serve as a means to an end, it must, on the one hand, be tailored to that end (proportionality) and, on the other hand, economy in its use must be maximised (effectiveness). In light of these considerations, this chapter examines whether and to what extent modern trends that limit the scope of criminal law by introducing both abstract and concrete forms of decriminalisation can lead to a more proportionate and, at the same time, a more effective criminal justice system. Following an overview of the general concepts, the chapter focuses on Italy as a pertinent and complex example.