DPU Programme

Diritto Penale e Uomo (DPU) – Criminal Law and Human Condition (short presentation)

In less than a minute, the summary of the editorial project Diritto Penale e Uomo (DPU) – Criminal Law and Human Condition.

Click here to download the file in pdf format.


Diritto Penale e Uomo (DPU) – Criminal Law and Human Condition is the expression of a broad cultural project committed to tackling with determination and scientific rigour the articulations of meaning, the functioning, the effects and the aporias of criminal law in contemporary society.

Indeed, it seems that the words used in law and the decisions that derive from them are ever more frequently losing their connection with the human being, with real life, with the community and relational dimension of social life, and that the choices of criminal policy made in the last few decades are detached from any prior careful analysis of the real problems of collective human society.

It is as if we were witnessing, as inactive spectators, a progressive disintegration of the foundations on which the criminal justice system is based, and at the same time as if we could feel this system becoming increasingly distant from the world of facts and the world of meanings as it loses sight of its main focus and purpose: man and his behaviour.

One now realizes, in a nutshell, that criminal law has become dangerously closed in itself; that it is too often isolated in an interpretative world that is incapable of constructing authentic dialogues with people, or of interaction with socio-cultural processes and with other scientific languages; and, finally, that criminal law, frankly, if it can be thus characterized, runs the risk of becoming – as already denounced by numerous intellectuals – a mere expression and a pure exercise of authoritarian power.

A renewed perspective of analysis, interpretation and critique of current penal law is therefore necessary to avoid its collapse or otherwise allowing it to become merely self-referential: starting from the data of the ius conditum, but interpreting these data in light of the knowledge and stimuli acquired from other sciences and their influence, in an attempt to bring man back into the spotlight, even during the phase of jurisprudential application, and to create fruitful prospects for the search for new solutions de iure condendo.

Here lies the mission of DPU project: it is necessary to put hand, head and new resources at the service of an overall reconsideration and reassignment of meaning to criminal law (substantive and procedural) and to the penal system connected to it.

This inevitably means leaving the comfort zone and the self-referential territory of a traditional strictly technical-legal mental scheme in order to open our attention, our listening and our sensitivity to other languages and other forms of communication proper to other disciplines, which now demonstrate (successfully) a powerful capacity for unprecedented signification.

We are referring to the various human sciences, to the analyses of digitized societies, to the neurosciences, to physical-mathematical disciplines, to logical-computational methods and, more generally, to all the theoretical and applied studies that are breaking free of stereotyped formulas of expression and now ask the questions that constant and unstoppable social, technical and even anthropological transformations demand.

Moreover, the results of the research and scientific procedures that are reorganizing our comprehension of the world are not to be understood as “products” of disciplines that are ancillary to criminal law, to be used, if necessary, to support, as an added feature, certain theoretical statements or to prove, during the trial phase, some probative aspects of evidence. Rather, we are faced with the need for criminal law to open up much more to authentic confrontation with scientific thought and to converse on an equal footing with other disciplines that deal, albeit with different perspectives, with man and his existence in contemporary society, in order to support a profitable exchange of knowledge with other discursive and argumentative orders.

Access to the plurality of languages is an exquisitely trans-disciplinary commitment that aims to stem the flow of banal assertions, brilliant chatter and the loquacious appearance of “common sense”. The interweaving of different communication codes must however be carried out with the necessary scientific and semiotic rigour so as to avoid becoming an inaudible and insignificant cacophony.


Project and purposes of DPU Journal

DPU project has an editorial programme that in addition to the publication of the Journal intends to organize and promote, in cooperation with other research centers, conferences, study meetings, seminars, trans-disciplinary laboratories, training and informative events, symposia and legal-scientific round tables, some at an international level.

The overall aim is for different languages to converge on a work plan and a confrontation oriented to reassigning meaning to the exercise of criminal law.

DPU research programme includes the main issues and problems of modern society pertinent to criminal law, putting certain fundamental questions “on the table” that were deliberately left open and, therefore, unanswered. These constitute the first guidelines for research on criminal law, on man and on the relationship between the two.

This is the beginning of a process that will be developed gradually with the contribution of various forms of knowledge, experience and intelligence, and its purpose is to stimulate “new” questions and to find – hopefully – a few “new” answers, too.


How DPU Journal is organized

DPU journal is promoted and supported by Lawyer Luca Santa Maria, former founder and editor of Diritto Penale Contemporaneo (DPC). Its structure is comprised of an Editorial Board, a Scientific Committee and an Editorial Staff. In addition, the Journal avails itself of prestigious consultants, in different fields of knowledge, and of several Reviewers.

DPU Journal is free and accessible online.

DPU Journal is registered at the Court of Milan (n. 71/2019).

DPU Journal is provided with a set of editorial rules.

DPU Journal does not impose any article processing charges (APC) or submission charges.

DPU Journal obtained the recognition of scientificity in accordance with the Anvur classification for reviews (areas 11 – Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche, and 12 – Scienze giuridiche).

DPU Journal is also indexed in DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals).

ISSN 2612-677X (website)

ISSN 2704-6516 (journal)


Who are the ideal recipients of DPU Journal?

Lawyers, magistrates, scholars and professionals of criminal law; professionals, researchers and those working in the psycho-socio-pedagogical and health sectors; scholars in the physical, logical, mathematical, computational and biological sciences and in all the branches of theoretical or applied knowledge that have relevance to the sphere of law; philosophers, historians and psychoanalysts; experts in the field of communications, information and new media; in general, anyone interested, for professional or personal reasons, in examining the relationship between criminal (and penal) issues and the set of factors impacting the overall socio-cultural system of contemporary society.

The vast number of subjects – authors and readers – DPU project hopes to reach arises from the awareness that criminal law has always been the “mirror” of basic structural coordinates of society as a whole, as well as the main regulatory tool of these coordinates: to speak of criminal law, therefore, is equivalent to discussing man himself and human society.

Redefining many criminal (and penal) issues and bringing them back into the centre of the public debate is urgently necessary, as they have an impact on us today more than ever, and thus we all bear responsibility, whether we work in legal fields or not.


How DPU Journal is structured

DPU Journal is divided into five sections, some of which are divided into subsections, each containing distinct document formats.

 The Interviews section contains audio and video testimonies, where one can listen directly to the words of national and international experts, along with written interviews in the traditional journalistic style. Both have the aim of putting users in direct contact with contemporary scientists and authors, so as to minimize acts of mediation and the inevitable editorial contamination of their thought.

 The Stories section, aims to publicize the experiences of those who know and can narrate the effects of criminal law first hand, but also those of people working daily in the field as scholars, researchers or operators in the broad sense.

 The Contributions section contains documents signed by the authors and the editors, and is structured in such a way as to offer the user different levels of detail. Here one can find:

  • the Arrows, i.e. quotations, excerpts and interesting facts. These are meant to prompt discussion and be a starting point for independent approaches to analysis and research;
  • the Reflections section contains texts that are more elaborate, yet agile, free of formal constraints. They address various issues, raising questions and introducing critical and constructive considerations so as to initiate communicative exchanges and deeper thought throughout the entire scientific community that chooses to participate in DPU project. Among other things, conference papers, congresses, symposiums and seminars are published in this subsection, as well as comments and notes to sentences, reviews, thematic data summaries, annotated bibliographies, etc. Moreover, it contains “historical” documents, some from the recent past – including articles already published elsewhere, for which the release has been granted –, with brief accompanying notes, in order to (re-)activate reasoning and debate on currently relevant issues;
  • the Articles sub-section is the “traditional” part of the Journal and contains as yet unpublished scientific articles: structured studies that respect the “classical” canons of a scientific legal journal, accompanied by bibliographic and jurisprudential references, written and formatted according to the editorial rules of the Journal. Articles submitted for publication are subjected to a double review, with blind procedure (in which case the anonymity of the revision is guaranteed), or, at the author’s choice, open procedure (in this case, the names of the Reviewers and the relative judgments will be made known to the author, at the end of the review process);
  • from April 2020 the Contributions section also hosts a series of E-books published by the Association “Criminal Law and Human Condition”, editor of the Journal. Original works, which can be freely read online or downloaded in PDF format, and wich are subject – as well as the materials published in the Journal – to the evaluation procedure set out in DPU editorial rules.
  • from September 2020, a section dedicated to some Historical Sources is also available; these documents, often difficult to find, are selected by the members of the board and by the Authors of the Journal and considered worthy of re-publication due to the extreme topicality of the topics covered, their cultural significance or because they’re often hard to find. In addition to promoting their spread, the (re)publication of these documents is aimed at stimulating further reflection and carrying out research on the topics addressed

 In the Projects section, national and international educational and research initiatives of trans-disciplinary interest are published. These are capable of arousing the curiosity and interest of passionate followers of various disciplines and will create bridges for collaboration between the “world” of law and the “universe” of the other sciences. This section also includes legal projects, parliamentary discussions and illustrative reports accompanying legislative measures or government initiatives, some from other countries.

 Finally, a last section is dedicated to the Reporting that may be of interest to the Journal’s readers.

The common thread of the entire editorial project, which spans and connects all the sections described here, are the tags – key words that accompany each document published in the Journal and allow readers to build their own personal path of research and exploration, with the hope that they may lose their old bearings and find themselves on a new path of continuous growth and enrichment.


DPU – the blog

To enrich the aforementioned editorial program, from February 2020 DPU Journal is accompanied by a blog, designed to offer an even more “open” space, dedicated to a frank, direct and spontaneous debate, and able to intercept and make resound all the voices of those who are directly affected by the contemporary problems which DPU intends to face.


To read the editorial rules, click here.

To read the editorial guidelines, click here.

A meeting of knowledge on individual and society
to bring out the unexpected and the unspoken in criminal law


ISSN 2612-677X (website)
ISSN 2704-6516 (journal)


The Journal does not impose any article processing charges (APC) or submission charges