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The Criminal Justice System and Health Care$
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Charles A. Erin and Suzanne Ost

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228294.001.0001

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Medicalizing Crime—Criminalizing Health? The Role of Law

Medicalizing Crime—Criminalizing Health? The Role of Law

(p.257) 15 Medicalizing Crime—Criminalizing Health? The Role of Law
The Criminal Justice System and Health Care

Jonathan Montgomery

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws together the broad themes of the book, utilizing two of the areas of focus (the criminalization of medical malpractice and disease transmission) as case studies. A socio-legal analysis is undertaken of whether the intervention of the criminal law in health care is defensible, and whether it can, in fact, achieve the realization of social goals. It is argued that the role of the criminal law in health matters should necessarily be limited by the interests of justice. Public health policy needs to take a broader view, and law-makers need to consider the importance of reinforcing good public health and health care practice. The key considerations lie in the extent to which those who may be rendered criminals should be seen as taking on the moral norms of the State.

Keywords:   criminal law, health care law, public health, patient safety, criminalization of mistakes, HIV/AIDS, media constructions

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