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Neurointerventions and the LawRegulating Human Mental Capacity$
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Nicole A Vincent, Thomas Nadelhoffer, and Allan McCay

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190651145

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190651145.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 February 2021

“It Will Help You Repent”

“It Will Help You Repent”

Why the Communicative Theory of Punishment Requires the Provision of Medications to Offenders With ADHD

(p.255) 11 “It Will Help You Repent”
Neurointerventions and the Law

William Bülow

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores The question of whether prison inmates suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be administered a psychopharmacological intervention (methylphenidate) for their condition. The theoretical starting point for the discussion is the communicative theory of punishment, which understands criminal punishment as a form of secular penance. Viewed through the lens of the communicative theory, the provision of pharmacological treatment to offenders with ADHD need not necessarily be conceived of as an alternative to punishment, but as an aid to achieving the penological ends of secular penance. The criminal justice system punishes offenders who commit offences prohibited under the criminal law, and the hope is that this will lead them to become repentant, to start reforming themselves, and to reconcile with those whom they wronged. However, the neurophysiological obstacles associated with severe ADHD present serious obstacles to achieving repentance and self-reform. As a remedy, the chapter proposes that to achieve those aims, criminal offenders diagnosed with ADHD should be offered the option to undergo pharmacological treatment. This proposal is defended from the objection that secular penance made possible by methylphenidate is less authentic.

Keywords:   ADHD, autonomy, cognitive enhancement, communicative theory of punishment, philosophy of punishment, prison

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