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Article

Gender and Community-Based Correctional Programs for Women  

Nicole Kaufman

In the contemporary era of “tough on crime” policies and the globalized drug war, the number of women in the criminal justice system has increased across several countries. Women’s involvement in the system is not limited to imprisonment, however, and many criminalized women (those involved in the justice system with the assigned status of defendants, offenders, etc.) participate in community-based programs after serving sentences in prisons or jails or as an alternative to incarceration. Criminalized women encounter multiple interlocking forms of oppression based on sexuality, race and ethnicity, class, disability, immigration status, punishment status, and (importantly) gender. Gendered ideas and norms shape the way women are treated not only by the carceral state but also by community-based, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs have played an increasingly prominent role in the provision of social services since the 1970s. Organizations working with criminalized people in more affluent, English-speaking nations commonly address job readiness, psychological and substance issues, parenting, sexuality, romantic relationships, and spirituality, among other important areas. Some NGOs work with criminalized people as a condition of their criminal sentences. Criminalized women’s self-reported needs are great, yet resources are often scarce, inadequate, and unwelcoming, particularly for women of color. Responding to a dearth of services available to women, feminists formed NGOs focused on this population beginning in the 1970s; women are also served at NGOs that work with men. “Reducing offending” and “empowerment” are frequently stated goals at NGOs that work with women, but these goals can be interpreted widely depending on the views of NGO leadership and staff about gender. NGOs can approach women’s gender in a variety of ways. For instance, they can resist or affirm the dominant views used by the carceral state that criminalize and stigmatize women. Their approaches matter because of the implications for equality of opportunities that follow. Two major philosophies can motivate the outreach that NGOs do with criminalized women. Gender sameness disregards gender differences and stresses that it is necessary to treat women “like men” to reverse the disadvantages and marginalization that women encounter. Gender difference emphasizes the importance of treating men or women based on their purportedly unique characteristics and social experiences. Much critical feminist research on NGOs that work with criminalized women has studied programs formed around ideas of gender difference. Critical researchers have examined gender in organizational work with women outside of prisons, in community-based prisons run by NGOs, and in more traditional prisons. Researchers have examined practices at programs, the philosophies underpinning them, and their implications. This body of work shows that NGOs can perpetuate gendered exclusions and may expand the power of the carceral state. In their prescriptions for responding to the status quo, critical researchers make arguments along a spectrum from advocating more moderate social change, such as by creating more effective programs, to more radical social change, such as by ending community-based programs that perpetuate carceral control.

Article

Global Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children  

Julie Anne Laser-Maira, Charles E. Hounmenou, and Donna Peach

The term commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) refers to the for-profit sexual exploitation of children and youth through buying, trading, or selling sexual acts. CSEC is a subset of children and youth who are victims of human trafficking or trafficking in persons (TIP). The Stockholm Declaration defines CSEC as a form of coercion and violence against children that amounts to forced labor and a contemporary form of slavery; there are many forms of CSEC, including child prostitution, child marriage, early marriage, forced marriage, temporary marriage, mail-order brides, child labor, child servitude, domestic servitude, begging, massage, sex tourism, child pornography, online streaming of sexual abuse, sexual extortion of children, and sexual solicitation of children. Not all experiences of sexual servitude are globally recognized. It is critical to explore the concepts of race, inequality, power, culture, and globalization and how they impact the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Article

Green Cultural Criminology: Foundations, Variations and New Frames  

Anita Lam, Nigel South, and Avi Brisman

Green cultural criminology (GCC) is a hybridized, interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon general propositions associated with green criminology and cultural criminology. Whereas green criminology is concerned with crimes and harms affecting the natural environment and the planet, including their associated impacts on human and nonhuman life, cultural criminology is focused on the ways and means by which crime and crime control are socially constructed, enforced, represented, and resisted. The directions of GCC are wide-ranging and can be expressed as forms of inquiry about (a) media and popular cultural representations of environmental harms, crimes, and disasters, including how difference, deviance, and resistance are constructed in regard to environments and spaces; (b) the dynamics and constructions of consumption, especially with respect to the commodification of nature; and (c) the contestation of space, transgression, and resistance in relation to environmental harms. Over time, variations in GCC have emerged to explore how the cultural production of meanings—namely meanings associated with environment, human, and nonhuman species along with the connections and linkages between them—structures and informs the various ways that we conceive and make sense of, think and feel about, as well as act toward, interact with, and make decisions regarding the environment. To enhance existing ways of thinking about GCC in a post-pandemic world, four additional “cultural frames” are suggested for investigation and analysis: ekphrasis, elite consumption, commodification of nature, and Black Sky Thinking.

Article

Habitat Loss  

Mònica Pons-Hernández

Habitat loss refers to the disappearance of natural environments that house specific plant and animal species. Habitat loss encompass three main types: habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation. Habitat destruction involves extensive devastation of natural environments, habitat degradation results from the depletion of vital resources like water and food, and habitat fragmentation refers to the conversion of large wild areas into smaller ones. All forms of habitat loss are endangering species’ survival. Primarily driven by human activities, the loss of habitat adversely affects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Land conversion for agriculture, mining, and urban development leads to the loss of forests and other habitats. Aquatic environments also suffer habitat loss caused by dredging, pollution, or waste. Moreover, climate change, a consequence of global warming, further intensifies habitat loss. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and changing water conditions impact both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Although the link between habitat destruction and criminology may not be immediately apparent, its harmful effects make it of interest to criminologists. Green criminology’s focus on harms, along with crimes and the impacts of these harms toward all species and environments, makes habitat loss of key interest for criminology. Habitat loss falls under the scope of green criminology because of its effects on ecosystems, humans, and nonhuman species. It is important to note that habitat and biodiversity loss are deeply intertwined. The case of the European eel illustrates the (slow) violence linked to habitat loss and its effects on biodiversity. European eels face multiple threats due to habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation. The construction of weirs and dams is one of the major factors that negatively impacts eels. It restricts their movement and blocks both upstream and downstream migration routes, destroying and fragmenting their habitat. As a migratory species, freedom of movement is crucial for their survival, making the presence of these barriers a significant concern. Additionally, global warming and ocean modifications further degrade eels’ habitats, affecting the survival of larvae during their drift and silver (adult) eels during their spawning migration. Furthermore, the introduction of nonnative species and the increasing contamination levels in eel habitats also contribute to their degradation, posing another danger to the species’ survival. Overall, European eels are a landmark opportunity to highlight the diverse range of causes of habitat loss and the (slow) violence ingrained in it.

Article

The Harms and Crimes Against Marine Wildlife  

Alison Hutchinson

The concept of crime within traditional criminological scholarship has tended to center on human or state victims. This anthropocentric focus facilitates speciesism within criminal law, where the recognition of, and responses to, environmental and wildlife victims are diminished. In contrast, and building on the foundations of critical criminology, green criminology is less confined by the strict definitions of crime found in orthodox criminology. The emergence of nonspeciesist perspectives within green criminology offers a means to expand the concept of crime and justice to recognize the numerous harms committed toward wildlife and environmental victims. It is well documented that marine species are under numerous and increasing pressures—from climate change, acidification of oceans, and the intensification of extractive ocean industries. Species who are also regarded as food resources face additional pressures from human exploitation as markets expand and demand grows. Very few of these pressures are actively criminalized. While fishing, mining, and polluting activities, and the disturbance and trade of protected species may be prohibited in certain situations, many detrimental practices toward marine species remain normative, condoned, and encouraged (e.g., fishing, shipping, and mining activities that involve the killing, displacement, or disruption of marine species). Transformative expansion of definitions of crime is urgently needed, to recognize the legal yet harmful behaviors that continue to victimize, exploit, kill, and potentially drive marine species to extinction.

Article

The Harms and Crimes Against Plant Species  

Esteban Morelle-Hungría and Pablo Serra-Palao

In the 21st century, the socio-environmental crisis is not limited to the quantitative analysis of the biophysical conditions on a global or sub-global scale. Individual species are directly affected by the “dynamics of the Anthropocene”: climate change, extreme weather events, deforestation, the acidification of the oceans, pollution, the use of pesticides, and many other anthropogenic pressures. All of these pressures have serious implications for individual species. Among all these affected species, this entry focuses on plant species. The Anthropocene dynamics and their associated impacts on individual plant species can be perceived at a number of different levels and with varying degrees of intensity and severity. In green criminology, the conceptual complexity of the distinction between environmental damage and crime has been widely debated, mainly due to their different politico-legal responses. For this reason, it is essential to provide an overview of environmental harms and crimes that affect plant species. To achieve this, the analysis begins with a theoretical foundation of green criminology, outlining its origins, multiple definitions and perspectives, ethical foundations, and justice frameworks. From this green criminological perspective, the scientific literature on a selected list of harms and crimes against plant species is reviewed using a holistic and interdisciplinary approach.

Article

The Harms and Crimes of Farming/Food  

Ekaterina Gladkova

The processes of food production and consumption illuminate the relationship between society and the natural environment as well as the inner workings of the global political economy. As a result, food has been increasingly used by scholars to explore the world, and food-focused research is a rapidly growing research area within criminology. Studies of food crime and harm challenge the legal-procedural approach in criminology by examining harmful but legal activities and challenging the limitations of the victimhood construction. Industrial farming presents a useful case study for expanding the criminological research frontiers. Although a socially normalized and even encouraged practice, it is characterized by systemic harms rooted in the normal functioning of the capitalist food system. This includes harms against more-than-human animals, the natural environment, and communities living in that environment.

Article

The Harms and Crimes of Fracking  

Jack Adam Lampkin

A plethora of academic research into fracking for shale gas suggests the practice leads to a variety of social and environmental harms and crimes. Social harms involve the impacts that fracking has on the lives of local communities that adopt fracking. This involves the impact of “boom-and-bust” cycles on communities, the adverse impacts of fracking activities on property values, the impact of corporate financial bribery on physical and mental health, and other disturbances such as heavy truck traffic, dust, noise, and light pollutions. Environmental harms include the ability of fracking to create earthquakes, the potential contamination of natural water systems, problems around the creation and disposal of hazardous wastewaters, and the climatic impacts of flaring and venting waste gases. Fracking is also directly linked to crime in a myriad of different ways, including through crimes of the powerful, consequential crimes, and indirect crimes. Crimes of the powerful include fraud, corruption, and the violation of environmental laws and regulations. Consequential crimes are a by-product of fracking exploration and production, such as protest-related crimes and state crimes. Conversely, indirect crimes are committed as a result of fracking activity. This includes street-level crimes, violent crimes, and domestic assaults, all of which are found in higher prevalence in locales that experience fracking operations compared to those that do not. Overall, prospective governments and policy-makers should carefully weigh any potential economic benefits of fracking with the possible ensuing social and environmental harms and crimes the process produces prior to legislating in favor of the process.

Article

The Harms and Crimes of Logging and Deforestation  

José Luis Carpio-Domínguez

Among the socioenvironmental problems that have been determinant in the causes of climate change, deforestation represents one of the main ones. The environmental harms caused by deforestation include the extinction of flora and fauna species, the loss of soil fertility, and limits on regional sustainability, affecting efforts to mitigate climate change. The social harms include the reduction of communities’ capacities for development and the loss of ecosystem services such as water and soil fertility for subsistence, and phenomena such as illegal logging, when configured as organized crime, threaten the security of local communities. Despite government efforts to regulate this practice at local, regional, and global levels, it is still present in an illegal or uncontrolled manner in many countries. Deforestation is linked to soft law enforcement, the economic precariousness of the places where deforestation takes place (as a subsistence or illegal activity), and highly profitable illegal markets, therefore requiring a multifactorial response. Improving forest law enforcement and environmental conservation also requires strong political commitment across governments, as well as institutional, social (including native and Indigenous communities), economic, and environmental sector collaboration, promoting horizontal governance at all levels.

Article

The Harms and Crimes Against Terrestrial Wildlife (Nonhuman Animals)  

Rebecca W.Y. Wong

Nonhuman animals are widely exploited and abused by human beings. While some of these exploitative actions (or inactions) are punishable by law, many actions are not legally defined, and these actions continue to be carried out despite the harm they cause to nonhuman beings. It is incorrect to assume that actions that are lawful cannot harm nonhuman beings or the environment, and the sociolegal approach asks, “What is the harm involved?” rather than “Is this lawful?” This approach departs from a human-centered focus on environmental crime, which results in more victims (nonhuman beings or the natural environment) being identified. Ultimately, changes in attitudes and behavior are crucial for environmental conservation. Environmental campaigns should be more culturally sensitive and free from racial stereotypes to be effective in driving changes.

Article

The Harms and Crimes of Waste  

Lieselot Bisschop and Karin van Wingerde

The increasing volume and toxicity of waste generated globally has been one of the most significant environmental issues since the 1980s. Following several disasters across the world, waste was more strictly regulated, and the waste industry became a massive industrial complex. Waste is inherently tied to consumption and production processes and therefore goes hand in hand with societal developments like industrialization, urbanization, and globalization, which have all impacted the scale and hazardousness of waste. Although many cases of illegal waste trade have been documented and even prosecuted, the harms and crimes of waste relate to much more than the illegal transport and disposal of it across borders. Waste crimes and harms occur in everyday production and consumption processes and often remain hidden or only become known after a considerable amount of time. Moreover, most of the harms caused by waste follow from regulated industrial processes or consumer behaviors. Not only has waste been a long-time societal challenge, but it also remains a key focus of criminological inquiry. Waste continues to be a paramount example of the ambiguities that come with globalization and the regulation of harmful business and societal practices. Based on a review of the available academic literature and using several case studies as examples, this article provides a broad introduction into the topic of the harms and crimes of waste. It focuses on household and industrial waste, on (global) waste streams, on waste production, and on treatment and disposal of waste, and it illustrates the criminogenic characteristics of waste. Moreover, this article discusses both the causes (industrial processes) and the effects (harms) of waste production and disposal.

Article

The Harms and Crimes of Water Theft and Pollution  

Katja Eman

Water is a natural resource vital for the sustenance of life. Any harm against water resources should thus be recognized as a crime—defined in procedural and moral terms as wrongdoings determined within the legal justice system and social norms. With water scarcity and related crises, water protection has become a crucial concept, one impacting political, social, economic, and other fields. Therefore, identifying, defining, and prosecuting different forms of water crimes are essential. In this context, even the use of the term “water crimes” communicates the severe consequences of such activities for society. Water theft and water pollution are only two among various forms of crime against water resources, causing irreparable harm and damage, mainly due to the multiple dimensions of such crimes, in many areas. Water theft is understood as any form of stealing water from the natural water resources or water supply system to obtain an economic advantage by physically altering the supply system. Water pollution means any intentional contamination of water. The consequences of both crimes are a reduction in the quantity (and quality) of water, causing harm to the natural environment and its inhabitants (i.e., plants, animals, and humans). Moreover, most cases of serious water theft or pollution can end in the loss of life, including human life.

Article

Hyperincarceration and Indigeneity  

Thalia Anthony and Harry Blagg

Indigenous people have been subject to policies that disproportionately incarcerate them since the genesis of colonization of their lands. Incarceration is one node of a field of colonial oppression for Indigenous people. Colonial practices have sought to reduce Indigenous people to “bare life,” to use Agamben’s term, where their humanity is denied the basic rights and expression in the pursuit of sovereign extinguishment. Across the settler colonies of Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, the colonial drive to conquer land and eliminate Indigenous peoples has left deep scars on Indigenous communities and compromised bonds to kin, culture, and country. Indigenous people have been made refugees in their own countries. Contemporary manifestations of penal incarceration for Indigenous people are a continuation of colonial strategies rather than a distinct phase. The concept of “hyperincarceration” draws attention to the problem of incarceration and its discriminatory targets. It also turns our attention to the turnstile of incarceration in Western postmodernity. However, the prison is but one form of exclusion for Indigenous people in a constellation of eliminatory and assimilatory practices, policies, and regimes imposed by colonial governance. Rather than overemphasizing the prison, there needs to be a broader conceptualization of colonial governance through “the camp,” again in the words of Agamben. The colonial institutionalization of Indigenous people, including in out-of-home care, psychiatric care, and corrective programs, is akin to a camp where Indigenous people are relegated to the margins of society. We eschew a narrow notion of hyperincarceration and instead posit a structural analysis of colonial relations underpinning the camp.

Article

Immigrants and Crime  

Daniel L. Stageman

The gap between public perception of immigrant criminality and the research consensus on immigrants’ actual rates of criminal participation is persistent and cross-cultural. While the available evidence shows that immigrants worldwide tend to participate in criminal activity at rates slightly lower than the native-born, media and political discourse portraying immigrants as uniquely crime-prone remains a pervasive global phenomenon. This apparent disconnect is rooted in the dynamics of othering, or the tendency to dehumanize and criminalize identifiable out-groups. Given that most migration decisions are motivated by economic factors, othering is commonly used to justify subjecting immigrants to exploitative labor practices, with criminalization often serving as the rationale for excluding immigrants from full participation in the social contract. When considered in the context of social harm, immigrants’ relationship to crime and criminality becomes more complex, especially where migration decisions are forced or made under coercive circumstances involving ethnic cleansing, genocide, or other state crimes; many recent examples of these dynamics have rendered large numbers of migrants effectively stateless. Experiencing the direct or collateral effects of state crimes can, in turn, affect immigrants’ participation in a wide range of crime types, from status crimes such as prostitution or survival theft to terrorism and organized criminal activity such as drug trafficking or human trafficking. While there is no available research evidence indicating that immigrants participate in any given crime type at higher rates than the native-born, the dynamics of transnational criminal activity—reliant on multinational social networks, multilingual communication, and transportation across borders—favor immigrant participation, though such crimes are often facilitated by multinational corporations.

Article

Left Realism: “Taking Crime Seriously”  

Jayne Mooney

Left realism emerged in the mid-1980s as a criminological theory of the Left. In 1979 Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government had been voted into power in the United Kingdom on a largely law-and-order ticket. Thatcher led an administration of the radical Right, close in politics to Ronald Reagan’s Republicanism in the United States, bound to laissez-faire economics, to incentives for work, cutting back on the welfare state, and a heavily punitive response to street crime. Yet, despite Thatcher’s law-and-order agenda, the crime rate continued to rise, and there was widespread public unease about crime and disorder, especially in inner-city areas. Riots, largely the result of political marginalization and aggressive policing, which had occurred against a background of high unemployment and deprivation, impacted several major British cities and, in particular, communities of color. Although central government was Conservative, many of the metropolitan councils (local government) were Labour Party controlled and were committed to addressing the high levels of unemployment, caused by Thatcher’s monetarist policies, together with the growing problem of crime, while, at the same time, curbing the excessive use of police powers. The latter was viewed as the major cause of the riots and as having resulted in a plethora of police malpractices. This provided the impetus and support for left realism: a perspective intent on identifying problems of crime and policing in urban areas, committed to keeping law-and-order issues high on the political agenda, and seeking to find crime-control policies that were progressive and non-authoritarian, with the understanding that ultimately change had to occur at the level of the social structure. The substantive inequalities that tarnish the social fabric had to be confronted. While left realism is concerned with state and corporate crime, it became particularly associated with tackling the problems of street crime—that is, crime which directly affected poor and working-class communities. The aim of left realism is to take the problem of crime seriously, to listen to the concerns of ordinary people, especially those living on inner-city housing estates [projects], and to reclaim the politics of crime and disorder from the Right. The founding text of left realism was John Lea and Jock Young’s What Is To Be Done About Law and Order? (a book greatly influenced by Ian Taylor’s Law and Order: Arguments for Socialism). Initially, conceived as a Left social democratic project that would work to intervene both theoretically in criminological debates and politically in the Party politics of the day, in recent years there has been a revival of interest in left realism and its development. Its aim being that of advancing what John Lea described as “a radical program for social justice” to confront the challenges of the contemporary period.

Article

Moral Panics and Folk Devils  

Nachman Ben-Yehuda

Moral panics refer to cultural and social situations where heightened and exaggerated attention is given to a moral issue, accompanied by inflated demands to activate and practice steps to control what is portrayed as the challenging and threatening danger to morality. The nature of the threatening challenge materializes characteristically with the emergence of increased anxiety and fear from the moral threat to the well-being and future of a culture, or part of it. Down-to-earth representatives of such threats are epitomized by folk devils. These folk devils can be drug users, those who supposedly practice witchcraft or Satanism, sex traffickers, drivers involved in hit and run car accidents, muggers, AIDS carriers, terrorists, immigrants, asylum seekers, and—obviously—criminals. The concept of moral panics left its convenient zone in sociology and criminology to become extremely popular. It has been applied to such diverse fields as global warming, child sexual abuse, trafficking in women, soccer hooliganism, 9/11, and more. Many panics are short-lived, but such panics can also linger for longer periods. Moral panics are comprised of five basic building blocks: disproportionality in portraying the moral threat and the requested responses, concern about an issue, consensus regarding the threat, and hostility towards the folk devils. Moral panics do not stand alone and need to be understood within larger cultural and social processes composed of negotiations, struggles, and conflicts focused on moral codes. Indeed, while folk devils are typically vilified, stigmatized, and deviantized, complex cultures also enable folk devils to fight back. Moral panics are thus significant and important occurrences in the social construction of moral boundaries. These panics represent reactions, counter-reactions, and moral challenges—presented by folk devils—to cultural cores, which form central symbolic structures of cultures and societies.

Article

Narrative Criminology  

Lois Presser

Narrative criminology is a relatively new theoretical perspective that highlights the influence of stories on harmful actions and patterns of action. Narrative criminology researchers study stories themselves, rather than what stories report on, for effects. Narrative criminology takes a constitutive view of stories as opposed to the representational view that is rather more common within criminology. Hence a hallmark of the perspective is its bracketing of the accuracy of the stories under investigation. Stories legitimize conduct, compel action, and induce detachment, however fanciful they may be. Narrative criminologists analyze the role of stories in active harm-doing, passive complicity, desistance from offending, and resistance to harm. The field of narrative criminology has evolved rapidly.

Article

Pecuniary Punishments  

Patricia Faraldo-Cabana

The genealogy of pecuniary punishments is a story of constant reformulation in response to shifting political pressures, changes in institutional and administrative arrangements, and intellectual developments that changed ideological commitments of legislators and practitioners. Within this chronicle of reformulation, broad transformations since the late 17th century are discernible. These legal transformations, most of which have been widely discussed and debated, help delimitate old and new forms of punishment and, to some degree, different modes of constructing punishment inside the criminal law. Based on the notion that the legal discussions during the 19th century set the stage for the profound reforms initiated by the emergence of consumer societies, the discourses that unfolded from around the end of early modern times until now are analyzed, even though few could have predicted the increase in the use of fines and confiscation that would occur throughout the 20th century. For the fine to reach such a state of ubiquity, one of its most criticized characteristics derived from its monetary nature had to undergo a severe scrutiny: the unequal impact on offenders caused by the unequal distribution of money between individuals in society. Confiscation, on the other hand, after having being extensively used by the Nazi, fascist, and Francoist regimes against “people’s enemies” and political opponents, was rediscovered as one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against organized crime during the war on drugs in the 1980s. In the 21st century it has become increasingly important for countries to be able to freeze and confiscate property related to the committing of an offense, thus depriving criminals of their illicitly obtained assets.

Article

Philosophies of Punishment  

Jerry Cederblom

Numerous philosophical theories purport to justify a system of legal punishment. It is doubtful, however, that any of them successfully answer these three questions: Why punish? Whom to punish? How much to punish? Straightforward retributive theories, which justify punishment by looking back at the wrongful harm done by an offender, don’t adequately answer the question of why the offender should be harmed in return for harm done. More sophisticated retributive theories construe punishment as equalizing an unfair advantage taken by an offender. Such theories have difficulty with the question of how much to punish. Consent theories view offenders as willing punishment onto themselves by their voluntary acts. The various versions of this theory all fail to answer one or more of the three questions: why, whom, and how much. Rights forfeiture theories give a question-begging answer to the “why” question and don’t answer the question of how much. Consequentialist theories, which justify punishment by looking forward to results such as deterrence and incapacitation, have difficulties with whom to punish and how much. Arguably, punishing an innocent person who is believed to be guilty could deter potential offenders, and a serious offense might be deterred by a less severe punishment than a minor offense. Some philosophers see insurmountable problems for strictly backward-looking theories that appeal to guilt of the offender and for strictly forward-looking theories that appeal to future consequences. The solution, then, could be a theory that appeals to future results to provide a reason for punishing, but looks back at harm done by the offender to answer the question of whom to punish and how much. However, without a unifying rationale for taking these different approaches to these particular issues, such a mixed theory would be ad hoc if not incoherent. In recent decades, philosophers have offered several approaches that might avoid the pitfalls described above by providing a unified rationale for punishment that is both backward and forward looking. Self-defense theories hold that it is rational and justifiable for the state to threaten punishment in order to defend citizens against offenses. They then move by various strategies from the justifiability of the threat to the justifiability of punishment. Forced choice theories justify punishment as a way of distributing necessary harm to the guilty rather than the innocent. Censure theories attempt to justify punishment as the state’s means of expressing disapproval of offenses against the law. Each of these theories faces difficulties, but proponents might judge that even though they haven’t yet been able to adequately state the justification of punishment, their theory is on the right track. Others view the difficulties faced by all theories and boldly conclude that punishment is not justifiable. There is little support for rehabilitation as an alternative to punishment. The practices associated with restorative justice, although not directly aimed at punishment, typically involve punishment, so they still require a justification for punishment. Whether a system of restitution could take the place of a system of punishment is problematic. The situation is made even more troublesome by the fact that the theories that have been surveyed aim to justify punishment in a society with a just political structure and laws. Even if such a theory succeeds, it is far from clear that it would justify punishment in a society where many of those who are harmed by punishment have also been victims of injustice.

Article

Political Ideologies and Penality  

Zelia A. Gallo

The literature on contemporary Western punishment presents us with a number of possible approaches to political ideologies and penality. The first approach requires us to ask what different political ideologies have to say about crime and punishment. This entails a close analysis of the ideologies’ main claims on matters of power, authority, and collective co-existence, to see if and how such claims have played out in the penal sphere. Analyses of social democratic penality serve here as useful case studies for such an approach. Such analyses also illustrate the second approach to questions of political ideology and penality. This approach requires us to ask what impact crime has had upon the fate of different ideologies. Have the changing incidence and changing perceptions of crime come to threaten the legitimacy of dominant ideologies? The third approach is that of critique of ideology: penality is studied as ideology, to discern what it conceals about reality and existing power relations. Here the analysis of contemporary UK offences of dangerousness acts as a case study for such an approach. To the extent that offences of dangerousness are rooted in neoliberalism, the discussion also introduces us to debates concerning neoliberalism and penality, in particular the idea that contemporary punishment expresses both the ascendancy of neoliberal doxa, and the decline of existing macro-ideologies such as social democracy. This decline can be seen as a move toward a post-ideological era, in which crime and punishment have come to replace political visions and utopias. However, recent scholarship on political ideologies argues that the latter are ubiquitous and permanent features of political thinking. This implies that the contemporary era cannot be described as post-ideological. Rather, it is an era in which macro-ideologies such as social democracy—which provided a holistic view of social order and comprehensive ideational resources to construct it—have been replaced by thin ideologies—which offer us narrower visions and ambitions. Examples of such thin ideologies include populism and technocracy. It is then possible to study the link between thin-ideologies and penality, a study that is here exemplified by the analysis of populism and penal populism, and technocracy and epistemic crime control. An analysis of thin ideologies and penality can also be undertaken with a normative project in mind, namely that of identifying within these thin ideologies, possible ideational resources that might be used to imagine a better penal future: one that is more moderate, more democratic, and less punitive.