Penal Populism

Front Cover
Routledge, 2007 - Social Science - 210 pages

Expertly drawing on international examples and existing literature, Penal Populism closes a gap in the field of criminology. In this fascinating expose of current crime policy John Pratt examines the role played by penal populism on trends in contemporary penal policy.

Penal populism is associated with the public's decline of deference to the criminal justice establishment amidst alarm that crime is out of control. Pratt argues that new media technology is helping to spread national insecurities and politicians are not only encouraging such sentiments but are also being led on by them. Pratt explains it is having most influence in the development of policy on sex offenders, youth crime, persistent criminals and anti-social behaviour.

This topical resource also covers new dimensions of the phenomenon, including:

  • the changing nature and structure of the mass media
  • less reliance on the more orthodox expertise of civil servants and academics
  • limitations to the impact of populism, bureaucratic resistance from judges, lawyers and academics and the restorative justice movement.

This is essential reading for students, researchers and professionals working in criminology and crime policy.

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About the author (2007)

John Pratt is Professor of Criminology at the Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington. He has published extensively on the history and sociology of punishment, including Punishment in a Perfect Society (1992), Governing the Dangerous (1997), Dangerous Offenders: Punishment and Social Order (2000, joint editor), Punishment and Civilization (2002), Crime, Truth and Justice (2003, joint editor) and The New Punitiveness (2005, co-editor).

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