Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice

Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice

The rehabilitative ideal of criminal justice is again at a critical crossroads. Over the course of the 20th century, various normative models of rehabilitation were theorized and implemented. From among these, recent trends in legal scholar­ship and jurisprudence have increasingly embraced “social” rehabilitation as a fundamental goal of justice that protects against potential violations of the rights of persons involved with the criminal justice system vis-à-vis punitive ideologies and incapacitating practices of punishment. Although social rehabilitation is gaining momentum on the international legal scene, its normative meaning and scope remain unclear and not fully ex­plored. Moreover, criminal law experts and legal practitioners tend to have a fragmented understanding of the many ways in which social rehabilitation is (or could be) operationalized and substantiated within different crim­i­nal justice settings. Hence, the legal literature would benefit from a systematic overview of social rehabilitation in criminal jus­tice, one that addresses and brings together under a unified framework current views in legal and jus­tice scholarship, national legislations, and international jurisprudence.
Against this backdrop, this project aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of current directions in social reha­bil­i­ta­tion scholarship and research by bringing together in a comparative, international, and interdisciplinary fash­ion the voices of legal scholars, criminal jus­tice professionals, (social) scientists, and people directly impacted by criminal justice. In particular, the project seeks to offer a fairly comprehensive narrative of the legal meaning, nor­ma­tive scope, jurisprudential understandings, and interdisciplinary views about social rehabilitation in penal con­texts through five main domains: 1. normative theory; 2. legal comparison; 3. human rights; 4. (social) science; and 5. policy.
In pursuit of this aim, the project embraces a broad theoretical and comparative overview of key international trends within the legal domain. This overarching legal approach is complemented by a selection of perspectives in social rehabilitation research emanating from social psychology, critical criminology, penology, and neuroscience. These perspectives are selected in light of their relevance to inform and enrich the legal and jurisprudential de­bates on the qualification of social rehabilitation as a fundamental goal of justice across domestic and interna­tional legal systems.


Outcome: edited volume (Oxford: Routledge, 2022); (project start: 2020)
Research focus: I. Foundations
Project language: English
Project status: completed
Photo: © Susanne Jutzeler/Pexels



Coppola, F., & Martufi, A. (Eds.). (2023). Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice. Abingdon: Routledge.
Coppola, F., & Martufi, A. (2023). What is Social Rehabilitation? In F. Coppola & A. Martufi (Eds.), Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice. Routledge.
Coppola, F. (2023). Social Rehabilitation under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: A Jurisprudential Analysis for Change. In F. Coppola & A. Martufi (Eds.), Social Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice. Routledge.

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