Penal Populism: Key Ideas in Criminology Series
J. Pratt: Routledge (2007)
Expertly drawing on international examples and existing literature, Penal Populism closes a gap in the field of criminology. In this fascinating expose of current crime policy, author John Pratt examines the role played by penal populism on trends in contemporary penal policy.
Penal populism is associated with the public's decline of deference to the criminal justice establishment amidst alarm that crime is out of control. Pratt argues that new media technology is helping to spread national insecurities and politicians are not only encouraging such sentiments but are also being led on by them. Pratt explains it is having most influence in the development of policy on sex offenders, youth crime, persistent criminals and anti-social behaviour.
This topical resource also covers new dimensions of the phenomenon, including:
the changing nature and structure of the mass media
less reliance on the more orthodox expertise of civil servants and academics
limitations to the impact of populism, bureaucratic resistance from judges, lawyers and academics and the restorative justice movement.
This is essential reading for students, researchers and professionals working in criminology and crime policy.
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Penal Populism and Public Opinion – Lessons from Five Countries
J. Roberts et. al: Oxford University Press (2003)
Although criminal justice systems vary greatly around the world, one theme has emerged in recent years – a rise in both the rhetoric and practice of severe punishment at a time when public opinion has played a pivotal role in sentencing policy and reforms.
The authors argue that the growth of penal populism has meant that criminal justice policies have been designed to appeal to the public appetite for punitiveness and that it does very little to reduce crime or understand community views. They call for the introduction of more informed, research-based sentencing policies across the western world.
The Politics of Sentencing Reform
C.M.V Clarkson and R. Morgan: Clarendon Press Oxford (2005)
In recent years, sentencing practice and reform has assumed a high political profile in many jurisdictions. Changing public attitudes about the relative seriousness of different offenses, evidence of inconsistent governmental concerns about the escalating costs of criminal justice, and support for a return to more traditional conceptions of justice in the wake of loss of faith in individualistic rehabilitative responses to offending, have all given sharper focus to the reformist agenda.
This text brings together case-studies of legislative sentencing reform initiatives in the USA and Canada, Australia, Sweden, and England and Wales alongside three essays by leading international authorities on the impetus for and dynamics of change. The picture that emerges is complex. Changing sentencing policy is a highly political process in which, as these case studies show, options are judged to be acceptable as much for their presentational characteristics as their substantive ones.
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Penal Populism, Sentencing Councils and Sentencing Policy
A. Freiberg and K. Gelb (eds): Hawkins Press, 2008
With particular emphasis on the emerging role of sentencing commissions, advisory councils or panels in a number of English speaking countries, this book brings together the theoretical perspectives on the role of the public in the development of sentencing policy.
Freiberg and Gelb expand and develop the existing literature that looks at public attitudes to justice and the role that the “public” can play in influencing policy. It asks the critical questions: even if “public opinion”, or preferably, “public judgment” can be ascertained in relation to a particular sentencing issue, should it be relevant to court decision-making, to institutional decision-making and to the political process? And if so, how?
For the first time, descriptions and analyses of new and proposed sentencing advisory bodies in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Scotland and South Africa are outlined and provided. Further, it adds to the knowledge in the field of public opinion by presenting practical examples of ways in which the public has a role in sentencing – illustrating the implementation of recommendations that have been made in existing research over the past few years. These recommendations have focussed on ways to improve public knowledge about the criminal justice system in order to counter political platforms and public outcries that are based on misinformation and misconceptions about the criminal justice system and in particular, about the nature of current sentencing practice.
The book is structured in two parts. Part 1 deals with general matters relating to public opinion: our knowledge of what it is or purports to be, and how that influences or shapes sentencing policy. Part 2 deals with the development, and nature of, sentencing councils and their roles vis a vis the public, government and courts.
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