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    Missed opportunities and new risks: penal policy in England and Wales in the past 25 years

    Jacobson, Jessica and Hough, Mike (2018) Missed opportunities and new risks: penal policy in England and Wales in the past 25 years. Political Quarterly 89 (2), pp. 177-186. ISSN 1467-923X.

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    This paper discusses trends in criminal justice and penal policy over the past 25 years. This period has been characterized as a time of penal populism, which originated in the failure of the 1991 Criminal Justice Act, and the competition between the main political parties to be ‘tough on crime’. However, this is not the only trend to be found in penal policy. There has continued to be a strong undertow of support for rehabilitation and community penalties, including restorative justice. There has been pressure from the left as much as the right to take domestic violence, sexual offences against women and children and hate crimes more seriously. There have been pressures to meet performance targets – which gradually transformed into calls to build the legitimacy of the justice system. Finally there have been pressures to privatize criminal justice agencies. These various impulses have sometimes amplified and sometimes counteracted the pressures towards tough penal policy. If the period of intense penal populism ran from 1993 to 2007, inertia in the system has ensured that there have been no significant attempts to row back from tough policies, and to reassert the values of penal parsimony. Given that money has been tight since 2007 and crime has continued to fall, this must amount to a lost opportunity of significant proportions.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Penal policy, sentencing, populism, sentencing guidelines
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Crime & Justice Policy Research, Institute for
    Depositing User: Jessica Jacobson
    Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2017 10:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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