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.

‘Piety and Iron’1: New Labour and Social Authoritarianism

‘Piety and Iron’1: New Labour and Social Authoritarianism

‘Piety and iron’: New labour and social authoritarianism

I told her [Margaret Thatcher] about my meeting with John Smith. I say, “You've shifted the centre about two hundred miles to the right”. She said, “Yes but not far enough yet” (Wyatt, 1998: 107).

I am reminded of a conversation with a senior figure from the CBI. … On a visit to Downing Street, he and his colleagues had decided on their top and bottom lines in a negotiation with Blair. They never got any further than the top line. To their amazement, Blair was ready to accept all that they wanted. The police, business leaders, intelligence services and Republican presidents of the United States tend to get what they ...

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