Penal Systems: A Comparative Approach is a comprehensive and original introduction to the comparative study of punishment.

Analyzing twelve countries, authors Michael Cavadino and James Dignan offer an integrated and theoretically rigorous approach to comparative penology. They draw upon material provided by a team of eminent penologists to produce an important and highly readable contribution to scholarship in this area.

Early chapters introduce the reader to comparative penology, set out the theoretical framework and consider whether there is currently a ‘global penal crisis.’ Each country is then discussed in turn. Chapters on comparative youth justice and the privatization of prisons follow. Comparisons between countries are drawn within each chapter, giving the reader a synoptic and truly comparative vision of penality in different jurisdictions.

Introducing Comparative Penology

Introducing comparative penology

This book was largely prompted by the uneasy feeling that understanding the international dimensions of punishment is on the one hand increasingly vital for the student of penology, and on the other hand inherently problematic.

It is increasingly vital for a number of reasons. Firstly, because developments in penal ideas and practices are flitting ever faster around the globe like epidemics of Asian (or more often American) influenza. Whatever one takes to be the nature of ‘globalization’, this is partly because of the accelerating international velocity of both information and people in the late modern age, and partly because of the increasing activity of multinational agencies such as intergovernmental bodies and large capitalist corporations. We need to understand all this if ...

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