With prisons overflowing and penal policy the topic of hot debate, Punishment and Prisons: Power and the Carceral State presents a lively and accessible discussion of possible solutions to the current crisis, by one of the foremost scholars in the field.

Joe Sim traces the development of penal strategy over the past three decades, through a critical analysis of the relationship between penal policy and state power. Exploring the contested histories of punishment that are prominent in criminology, and its development in penal policy, the book analyzes four key dimensions of modern penal trends:

  • Continuity and discontinuity in penal policy and practice
  • Reform and rehabilitation
  • Contesting penal power
  • Abolitionism

Articulate, innovative, and theoretically informed, Punishment and Prisons offers a critical overview of contemporary penal politics that will prove a compelling addition to the criminological library.

The book is written for not only for students and academics but also for those involved in the debates on penal policy – including prison reform groups, politicians, and the media. It offers a series of suggestions for alleviating the current crisis, setting out a policy agenda for transforming the role and place of the prison in the criminal justice system.

Law, Order and the Penal System 1974–83

Law, order and the penal system 1974–83

Many of the things we hold dear are threatened as never before, but none has yet been lost. So stay here, stay and help us defeat Socialism, so that the Britain you have known may be the Britain your children will know. These are the two great challenges of our time – the moral and political challenge, and the economic challenge. They have to be faced together and we have to master them both (Margaret Thatcher, speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Blackpool, 1975).

The previous chapter noted that one of the central themes of this book is the continuity in punishment across different historical epochs. It also noted that it has become ...

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