Legal Punishment and the Public Identification of Offenders

Richard Lippke
Publication Date
View publication information

From Res Publica:

In the United States, the identities of criminal offenders are matters of public record, accessible to prospective employers, the press, and ordinary citizens. In European countries, the identities of offenders are routinely kept hidden, with some exceptions. The question addressed in this discussion concerns whether the public disclosure of the identities of offenders is part and parcel of their legal punishment. My contentions are that public disclosure is not conceptually part of legal punishment, necessary to serve substantive penal aims, or likely to enhance penal aims. At times, it will conflict with defensible aims of legal punishment. Other values might support or require the public identification of criminal offenders, but the aims of legal punishment do not appear to do so.


Lippke, R. L. (2017). Retroactive Sentencing Changes: Exploring the Complications. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, gqx017.