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The Prisoners' Dilemma
Political Economy and Punishment in Contemporary Democracies

$73.00

Part of The Hamlyn Lectures

  • Date Published: July 2008
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521899475

$73.00
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  • Over the last two decades, and in the wake of increases in recorded crime and other social changes, British criminal justice policy has become increasingly politicised as an index of governments' competence. New and worrying developments, such as the inexorable rise of the US prison population and the rising force of penal severity, seem unstoppable in the face of popular anxiety about crime. But is this inevitable? Nicola Lacey argues that harsh 'penal populism' is not the inevitable fate of all contemporary democracies. Notwithstanding a degree of convergence, globalisation has left many of the key institutional differences between national systems intact, and these help to explain the striking differences in the capacity for penal tolerance in otherwise relatively similar societies. Only by understanding the institutional preconditions for a tolerant criminal justice system can we think clearly about the possible options for reform within particular systems.

    • Written by a leading expert in criminal law and legal theory
    • Takes into account the increasing politicisation of British criminal justice policy over the last 20 years
    • Proposes a range of potential options for reform in Britain and America
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "...Overall, the work is powerful. The empirically-based comparison between political economies is effectively presented in a manner that strongly supports her basic propositions...The book is easy to understand and is highly logical. This work will be of use to those interested in cross-cultural comparisons of crime and those who wish to understand the relationship between the political economy and crime..."
    --J. Michael Olivero, Department of Law and Justice, Central Washington University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521899475
    • length: 254 pages
    • dimensions: 222 x 142 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Punishment in Contemporary Democracies:
    1. 'Penal populism' in comparative perspective
    2. Explaining penal tolerance and severity: criminal justice in the perspective of political economy
    Part II. Prospects for the Future: Escaping the Prisoners' Dilemma?:
    3. Inclusion and exclusion in a globalizing world: Is penal moderation in co-ordinated market economies under threat?
    4. Confronting the prisoners' dilemma: the room for policy manoeuvre in liberal market economies.

  • Author

    Nicola Lacey, London School of Economics and Political Science
    Nicola Lacey is Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science and an Adjunct Professor at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra.

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