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.

Prison Privatization

Prison privatization

Our analysis so far suggests not only that there is a coherent ‘pattern of penality’ – in respect of both its nature and also its relative severity – across the main types of late capitalist societies we are comparing; but also that it is possible to account for this, broadly, within the context of a radical pluralist framework of analysis. In this section we turn to the changing balance between public and private sector involvement in the operation of prison services and facilities: a process that is commonly referred to as ‘prison privatization’. Although the term conjures up an image of a shift in the ownership and control of the entire prison system from the public to the private sector, which is what ...

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