chapter  6
9 Pages

Civil and social death

Criminalisation and the loss of the self
WithAndrew Henley

This chapter offers an alternative perspective to the themes of 'dying', 'loss' and bereavement' within criminal justice and explores the relationships which exist between social practices of punishment and the status or positioning of former lawbreakers who have been punished. It provides a brief history of punishments in England whose object was to bring about not only the literal death of the condemned person but also their 'civil death'. The chapter connects these historical practices of juridical 'othering' to the 'pains of criminalisation' which exist in the present. It suggests that the 'mortification of the self' disrupts pre- and post-conviction social identity in ways which require one to develop wider conceptions of 'loss' and 'bereavement' in criminal justice research. The chapter discusses that the negative reaction will most likely arise as a result of the disclosure or discovery of an individual's criminal record.