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Chapter

Roger Matthews

Imprisonment has been the main form of punishment in western societies for the last 200 years. In that period, however, its role, scale, and functions have changed considerably. This chapter discusses the history of prisons; the role and impact of imprisonment; changes in its scale and purpose; and why it has become the dominant form of punishment in Western societies for the last 200 years.

Chapter

This chapter examines the three main ways to approach the justifications of punishment. These are consequentialist philosophies that look to justify punishment in terms of preventing future offending; retributive philosophies that focus on responding proportionately to the actual offence; and abolitionist philosophies which maintain that punishment cannot be either morally or politically justified.

Chapter

Kieran McEvoy, Ron Dudai, and Cheryl Lawther

This chapter explores the intersection between criminology and transitional justice. The chapter begins with a critical discussion on the utility of criminological scholarship from settled democracies to the exceptional circumstances of post-conflict or post-authoritarian societies. It then explores a range of debates related to the punishment of offenders in such contexts including the role of prosecutions, amnesties, the reintegration of former combatants, and the role of restorative justice. The chapter next considers the social and political construction of victimhood in transitional contexts including competing notions of the ‘idealized’ victim. The relationship between transitional justice and social control is then examined including the importance of countering denial, the relationship between deviance and memory and the particular contribution of efforts ‘from below’ to counter elites-level narratives on past abuses. The chapter concludes that a criminology of transitional justice provides the basis for revisiting some of the foundational questions on responding to crime and justice in the most challenging of settings—a sobering but intellectually rich research agenda for years to come.

Chapter

This chapter provides an overview of the major themes in the history of crime and punishment in England and Wales over the last 250 years. It discusses the usefulness of historical research in this field and the research methods employed by historians; some salient features of the history of crime, criminal justice, and punishment; and aspects of criminal justice history that can assist in the understanding of contemporary issues and debates. The chapter demonstrates that the nature of crime and criminal justice at any given time can only be understood within the period's specific political context.

Chapter

26. Alternatives to punishment  

Diversion and restorative justice

This chapter considers two alternatives to punishment: diversion and restorative justice. It begins by looking at approaches to the delivery of criminal justice which challenge conventional assumptions about crime and punishment. It then traces the origins and development of restorative ideas and practices and goes on to discuss the emergence and impact of diversion as an intervention strategy; the purpose of alternatives to punishment and offence resolution; the structure, organisation, and operation of alternatives to punishment; and the achievements of alternatives to punishment. It also cites examples of the implementation of alternatives to punishment before concluding with an assessment of the limitations of alternatives to punishment.

Chapter

This chapter examines a range of perspectives which question the assumptions underlying the concept of ‘punishment’. It first explains what is meant by the idea of critical perspectives on punishment before discussing a number of critical perspectives on the justice system including abolitionism, social control theories, community justice, and transformative justice. It then explores unjust punishment and problems for criminal justice of discrimination and inequality, focusing on the disparities in treatment between white, BME, and other sectors of the population in the criminal justice system. It also considers how ‘crimes of the privileged’ and state crimes can remain unseen or unpunished and concludes with an evaluation of the limitations of critical analyses of crime and punishment.

Chapter

This chapter examines the utilitarian justification for punishment: an approach that focuses on the consequences or outcomes of sentencing and punishment. It discusses the origins of this approach in the work of Beccaria and Bentham, and its modern expression in the work of writers such as Wilson and Kennedy. Focusing on the specific outcome of deterrence, the chapter begins by reviewing its role in current sentencing practice and policy. It later considers whether punishment is effective in reducing offending, and reviews the available research and the problems that arise in establishing a deterrent effect. It also considers some of the difficulties with the utilitarian justification for punishment.

Book

Edited by Anthea Hucklesby and Azrini Wahidin

Criminal Justice provides a thought-provoking and critical introduction to the challenges faced by the UK's criminal justice system, including policing, sentencing, and punishment at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Expert contributors, including criminologists and lawyers, provide students with a critical introduction to issues, institutions, and agencies that shape the operation of the criminal justice system. The book provides students from a range of disciplines including criminology, law, sociology, psychology, and social policy with knowledge and understanding of the key areas of the subject and an appreciation of contemporary debates, policies, and perspectives. Each chapter features questions, summaries, tables, diagrams, annotated further reading, and weblinks to ensure the book is as accessible and engaging as possible, and provides clear guidance on further study. An illuminating glossary of key terms is also included. In this second edition: all chapters have been completely revised and updated; a new chapter has been included on the policy landscape of criminal justice; additional material has been incorporated into two chapters on the police and policing; and a new chapter on the criminal courts has been included, as have additional chapters on innovative aspects of criminal justice, and science and psychology in criminal justice. This title is accompanied by an Online Resource Centre containing an online version of the glossary of key terms and annotated web links.

Chapter

This chapter explains the history, philosophies, current practices, and policy debates surrounding those sanctions that are often referred to as ‘alternatives to prison’. The discussions cover the types of community sentences and sentencing trends; the National Probation Service and National Offender Management Service; ways of understanding the politics of punishment in the community; diversity and punishment in the community; community sentences and populist punitiveness; community sentences and the ‘What Works?’ agenda; and community sentences and probation in other countries.

Chapter

The subject of the punishment of offenders always excites controversy. Some will argue that the law is too soft. Others believe that it is excessively harsh. This chapter examines how the exercise of punishment (in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law) might be validated. Futher it examines the various theories that have been advanced by penologists, law reformers, and philosophers to justify or explain its rationale. These theories include the idea of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and denunciation. Each of these theories makes an attempt to defend the use of state coercion in order to achieve certain objectives.

Chapter

N V Lowe, G Douglas, E Hitchings, and R Taylor

This chapter considers the meaning and function of parental responsibility. It examines the content and limits of parental responsibility including in areas such as: education; medical treatment; corporal punishment; religious upbringing; and naming the child.

Chapter

The question of how or why or whether convicted offenders should be punished is controversial in most societies.Whether a judge or magistrate fails to penalize a convicted criminal sufficiently harshly or whether a sentence is too severe is a matter of continual public interest and debate. This chapter briefly considers how the exercise of punishment—in pursuit of the enforcement of the criminal law—might be validated and discusses the various justifications for the exercise of the state’s power to deprive individuals especially of their liberty, life, or, property. These include the concepts of retributivism, consequentialism, restorative justice, and communication.

Chapter

David Harris, Michael O’Boyle, Ed Bates, and Carla Buckley

This chapter discusses Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 3 prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It imposes a negative obligation on states not to engage in such treatment or punishment and a positive to act to prevent private persons from doing so. There is also a procedural obligation to investigate allegations of ill-treatment. Article 3 applies to treatment in all life contexts, including treatment in prisons. Unlike most Convention articles, Article 3 is expressed in unqualified terms so that proscribed ill-treatment is never permitted, even for the highest reasons of public interest.

Chapter

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 7, which prohibits the retrospective application of criminal laws. This means that a person should not be convicted for an offence that did not exist at the time he or she committed the acts in question, nor should any punishment they receive be one that was not available to the courts at that time. Article 7 also embodies the principle of legal certainty in the context of criminal law. In order for people to adjust their conduct accordingly, they must be able to know the laws that apply to them and be able to foresee the circumstances in which laws will be applied. As an aspect of the ‘rule of law’, Article 7 embodies the idea that the law should not be used arbitrarily.

Chapter

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. It discusses European Convention law and relates it to domestic law under the HRA. Questions, discussion points, and thinking points help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress and knowledge can be tested by self-test questions and exam questions at the chapter end. This chapter focuses on Article 7, which prohibits the retrospective application of criminal laws. This means that a person should not be convicted for an offence that did not exist at the time he or she committed the acts in question, nor should any punishment they receive be one that was not available to the courts at that time. Article 7 also embodies the principle of legal certainty in the context of criminal law. In order for people to adjust their conduct accordingly, they must be able to know the laws that apply to them and be able to foresee the circumstances in which laws will be applied. As an aspect of the ‘rule of law’, Article 7 embodies the idea that the law should not be used arbitrarily.

Chapter

Course-focused and comprehensive, the Textbook on series provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This chapter explains the definition of crime and how it is differently interpreted. The discussions cover the judicial process; formal sources of criminal law; enforcement of criminal laws; the criminal; terminology and classification (felonies and misdemeanours, arrestable and non-arrestable offences, and indictable and summary offences); appeals; limits of prosecution; evidence; and punishment.

Chapter

This chapter begins by addressing the question: what is a crime? It then discusses the role of criminal law; the statistics of criminal behaviour; the ‘principles’ of criminal law; proposals for a Criminal Code; kinds of conduct that should be criminalized; culpability; the victim in criminal law; the criminal process; criminal law and the Human Rights Act 1998; critical criminal law; feminist legal thought; punishment; and sentencing.

Chapter

John Child and David Ormerod

This book focuses on substantive criminal law, that is, how offences such as theft and murder are defined. This introductory chapter sets in context criminal offences and defences, first by considering the basis upon which certain conduct is criminalised and other conduct is not. It then outlines the reasons why people commit crimes, which types of people commit them, and whether certain groups are over-represented in criminal statistics. It also discusses the role of evidence in assessing how well criminal offences can be proved in practice; the punishments for committing crimes; the difference between criminal and civil law; the process and procedure to obtain a criminal conviction; sources of the substantive criminal law; the internal structure of offences and defences; principles of the substantive criminal law and the subjects to which it applies; legal reform; and the application of the current law.

Book

This book focuses on substantive criminal law, that is, how offences such as theft and murder are defined. This introductory chapter sets in context criminal offences and defences, first by considering the basis upon which certain conduct is criminalised and other conduct is not. It then outlines the reasons why people commit crimes, which types of people commit them, and whether certain groups are over-represented in criminal statistics. It also discusses the role of evidence in assessing how well criminal offences can be proved in practice; the punishments for committing crimes; the difference between criminal and civil law; the process and procedure to obtain a criminal conviction; sources of the substantive criminal law; the internal structure of offences and defences; principles of the substantive criminal law and the subjects to which it applies; legal reform; and the application of the current law.

Chapter

This chapter examines the complex relationship between ‘punishment’ and ‘welfare.’ It traces the various ways in which penal systems are influenced by, and interact with, broader systems of social welfare and how these linked institutions function as modes of social control and class control. Following a critical review of the historical and comparative literature—and associated questions of data and method—it discusses how penal and welfare policies relate to the social problems they purport to address and to the political and socio-economic structures within which they operate. ‘Penal-welfarist’ and ‘welfarist’ practices are defined and differentiated, some common elements of practices of punishing and assisting are identified, and the fundamentals of ‘the welfare state’ and its recent neoliberal history are explained.