Department of Political Science


Dr Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard

Dr Jeffrey Howard

Lecturer in Political Theory

Find out more



I am a political philosopher in the School of Public Policy at University College London. I work on a variety of topics in normative political and legal theory. I have a doctorate from Oxford and an undergraduate degree from Harvard.

Back to top.


My primary research interests concern crime and punishment. I am interested in the kinds of acts that should and should not be criminalized, focusing currently on the limits of criminalization set by the right to free speech. I also work on the justification of criminal punishment, having recently published a moral theory of offender rehabilitation. Finally, I am concerned with what the state’s criminal justice policies should be in conditions of structural injustice, focusing on debates about the ethics of policing and the mechanisms fuelling mass incarceration.

I have subsidiary interests in democratic theory and public reason, and have written on democracy, contractualism, and judicial review. I also work on the ethics of counter-terrorism; as part of this project, I am writing articles on free speech and incitement to terrorism, the justifiability of paying ransoms to terrorists, and the ethics of counter-radicalization.

Grants and Awards

I have a 2015 Rising Star Engagement Award from the British Academy, as well as a 2016 BA/Leverhulme Grant on the topic of “Dangerous Speech”.

In 2016, I was the faculty recipient of the Departmental Teaching Award from the UCL Department of Political Science. In 2015, I won the Best Lecturer Award for the whole of the University of Essex.


    • “The Labors of Justice: Democracy, Respect, and Judicial Review,” Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (accepted)
    •  “Punishment as Moral Fortification,” Law and Philosophy (forthcoming in print; available online)
    • “Moral Subversion and Structural Entrapment,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 24, 1 (2016): 24-46.
    • “The Instability of Democratic Contractarianism,” Political Studies Review 13, 2 (2015): 184-95.
    • “Democracy as the Search for Justice: A Defense of the Democracy/Contractualism Analogy,” Political Studies 63, 1 (2015): 259-75.
    • “Punishment, Socially Deprived Offenders, and Democratic Community,” Criminal Law & Philosophy 7, 1 (2013): 121-36.


See my TEDx talk here

Back to top.