Oxford publishes Jake Monaghan's book: Just Policing

Jake Monaghan, PhD.

Published April 24, 2023

Oxford University Press has announced the publication of Just Policing, a new book by Jake Monaghan, PhD, UB Philosophy Alum. He was recently appointed assistant professor, tenure track, at the University of Southern California (USC). Monaghan states, "My research is concerned with realized, as opposed to abstract, institutions. I am interested in whether and how we can justify the actual institutions we live in on grounds we can all accept. Further, I explore the moral obligations that arise out of, or in response to, the imperfections of realized institutions."  Monaghan's  dissertation, Theory of Consent, was completed in 2019. Professor Ryan Muldoon served as advisor.

Just Policing, Jake Monaghan, Oxford University Press, 2023.

  • Offers a sustained philosophical investigation of ordinary city policing
  • Uses a non-ideal theory approach and draws on research from a variety of disciplines to justify or critique real policing practices
  • Develops a novel "legitimacy-risk" framework for evaluating police discretion, operational styles, and the form of police agencies

Abstract: Diverse and dynamic societies face a problem of social control. Institutions of social control, of which the police are a part, are a necessary part of just and legitimate governance. But in our non-ideal world they are also responsible for injustices of their own. This project raises questions of political philosophy as they apply to the professional police agency. It begins by constructing an inchoate, but mainstream view about just policing, legalism, according to which police power is justified by the criminal code, and just policing is just the faithful enforcement of law. This view is undermined by the practical realities of policing, which involves widespread and unavoidable police discretion. It then develops an account of just and legitimate police discretion, including principles of proportionality, liberal neutrality, and democratic responsiveness. This sheds lights on controversial police tactics, order maintenance initiatives, and community policing strategies. This account also informs the just institutional arrangement of police powers, informing ongoing debates about police reform and abolition.