Should Therapeutic Jurisprudence Be Used to Analyze Impacts of Legal Processes on Government?

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St. Thomas Law Review


This article takes the controversial position that despite therapeutic jurisprudence’s (sometimes referred to as “TJ”’s) focus on the impact of laws and legal processes on the emotional and related physical well-being of human beings, there can be TJ-like impacts on government, at least in certain circumstances, that can be discovered by making a TJ analysis of the situation. It further contends that these TJ-like impacts on government ought to be examined for a number of important reasons: 1) they provide greater insights into therapeutic and antitherapeutic impacts on humans; 2) the deeper understandings gained through this analysis can then be used to formulate recommendations and solutions to refine and reform the law or government’s actions as a legal actor — ultimately for the benefit of human physical and emotional well-being; 3) government informed by these findings can, in these circumstances, revise its interactions with the governed in order to enhance the likelihood of successful completion of government initiatives through proactively recognizing and addressing antitherapeutic impacts on the persons involved; and 4) use of these TJ findings to revise government conduct can advance both respect for government and law, and encourage voluntary compliance with law and legal processes, all of which are essential to government’s ability to fulfill its role in society.

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