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.

‘Those with No Capital Get the Punishment’1: New Labour and the Working Prison

‘Those with No Capital Get the Punishment’1: New Labour and the Working Prison

‘Those with no capital get the punishment’: New labour and the working prison

Where the courts sentence or remand an offender in custody, we must provide the necessary prison capacity. Violent and serious offenders are now significantly more likely to get a custodial sentence and to be sent to prison for longer than in 1997. We now have 19,000 more prison places than we did in 1997, and there are around 7,000 more seriously violent offenders in prison, protecting the public from thousands of offences a year, which might otherwise have occurred. Spending on prisons has increased by more than 35 per cent in real terms since 1997 … (Home Office, 2006a: 32).

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