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Criminology (1st edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 28 June 2022

p. 74227. Critical perspectives on crime and punishmentlocked

p. 74227. Critical perspectives on crime and punishmentlocked

  • Steve Case, Steve CaseProfessor of Criminology, University of Loughborough
  • Phil Johnson, Phil JohnsonCriminology Lecturer and Academic Subject Leader, University Centre at Blackburn College
  • David Manlow, David ManlowPrincipal Lecturer in Criminology
  • Roger SmithRoger SmithProfessor of Social Work, Durham University
  •  and Kate WilliamsKate WilliamsSenior Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University


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.

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