Mariam Shah - Typical Criminals: A Schutzian Inspired Theoretical Framework Exploring Type Formation and Potential Application in Magistrate’s Courts in England

This is one of the papers from our 2017 Annual Conference, the Future of Phenomenology. Information and the full conference booklet can be found at www.britishphenomenology.org.uk

This paper will review the potential reason for discrepancies in sentencing outcomes in magistrate’s courts in England.  Other disciplines such as criminology, psychology and sociology, have tried to explain why sentencing disparities occur, but have resulted in superficial analysis which has failed to penetrate to the core of this particular issue.  Through phenomenological inquiry, this paper will investigate how individuals involved in the criminal justice system could potentially be consciously and unconsciously influenced by innately determined types.  Conscious and unconscious reliance on subjectively determined types could allow assumptions to inform decision making, particularly when they are used indiscriminately and un-reflexively.  This paper will demonstrate how innately determined types could operate in practice in magistrate’s courts, and assess whether it is possible to interrupt these processes.

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