Mapping the conditions of penal hope

Brown, David (2013) Mapping the conditions of penal hope. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 2(3), pp. 27-42.

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This article examines the conditions of penal hope behind suggestions that the penal expansionism of the last three decades may be at a ‘turning point’. The article proceeds by outlining David Green’s (2013b) suggested catalysts of penal reform and considers how applicable they are in the Australian context. Green’s suggested catalysts are: the cycles and saturation thesis; shifts in the dominant conception of the offender; the global financial crisis (GFC) and budgetary constraints; the drop in crime; the emergence of the prisoner re‐entry movement; apparent shifts in public opinion; the influence of evangelical Christian ideas; and the Right on Crime initiative. The article then considers a number of other possible catalysts or forces: the role of trade unions; the role of courts; the emergence of recidivism as a political issue; the influence of ‘evidence based’/‘what works’ discourse; and the emergence of justice reinvestment (JR). The article concludes with some comments about the capacity of criminology and criminologists to contribute to penal reductionism, offering an optimistic assessment for the prospects of a reflexive criminology that engages in and engenders a wider politics around criminal justice issues.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 63897
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: hope, penal reductionism, catalysts, reflexive critical criminology
ISSN: 2202-8005
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2013 23:03
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2013 12:02

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