UCL Faculty of Laws


Online | Imprisonment

17 June 2021, 4:00 pm–5:15 pm

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This event has been organised by the UCL Legal Philosophy Forum

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws

Please note that the time allocated for this seminar will be devoted to discussion of the paper. The paper will be circulated to registered delegates a week before the event date.

Speaker: Dr Hadassa Noorda (University of Amsterdam)

About this event

Criminal law theorists have for the most part neglected the question of what imprisonment is. In what ways does the state imprison people and what does it mean to be imprisoned? The few scholars who have addressed these questions have focused on how prison facilities restrict freedom of movement and access to particular human functioning, but they have ignored state measures that do not include confining individuals behind bars. I defend an alternative account: I argue that the use of prison facilities is part of a raft of state measures, which include measures that have a relatively minor impact on individuals and others that are more severe. This continuum of state measures enables us to decouple the concept of imprisonment from walls, locks, and political and social barriers, thereby highlighting atypical forms of imprisonment, such as open prisons, as well as potential forms of imprisonment to be employed outside of prison, including the mandatory wearing of electronic tagging devices and house arrest. For instance, a person confined to a prison facility can, to a certain extent, be free to take part in society, or a person subject to other state measures can reside at home but be constrained from carrying out a major part of her functions. The account I develop also enables us to identify imprisoned individuals as well as those subjected to measures similar to imprisonment, which have potential consequences for their legal rights.

About the speaker

Hadassa Noorda is a Rubicon Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers Institute for Law and Philosophy and The Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence of the University of Amsterdam, sponsored by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. She is also an affiliated researcher with NYU’s Center for Law and Philosophy. Dr. Noorda has spoken at several reputed conferences and workshops in North America, Europe and Asia and her most recent publications appeared or are forthcoming in New Criminal Law Review, Criminal Justice Ethics, and Criminal Law and Philosophy.

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