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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2011

12 - Explaining Canada's imprisonment rate: the inadequacy of simple explanations

from PART 2 - Comparative penal policies
Summary

Introduction

Canada does not fit easily into the typology of political economies and their penal tendencies proposed by Cavadino and Dignan (2006a; 2006b). Based on a study of penal systems in twelve contemporary capitalist countries (not including Canada), these scholars demonstrate a relationship between a nation's political economy on the one hand and the punitiveness of its penal culture (particularly as expressed by its rate of imprisonment) on the other hand. Indeed, they suggest that certain political regimes (e.g. neoliberalism, conservative corporatism, etc.) have distinct penal landscapes (i.e. more or less punitive penal policies).

In terms of penal policies, most observers would probably assume that Canada would fit neatly within those nations described as having political economies and penal tendencies that could be categorised as neoliberal. This placement would certainly seem obvious given geographic, economic and cultural proximity to the country highlighted by Cavadino and Dignan as the ‘archetypical example’ of this group (USA). In addition, it would seem natural that Canada would be grouped with the ‘other examples’ of the neoliberal political economy listed by these scholars – England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – given their historical (e.g. as members of the Commonwealth) and institutional (similar legal systems) ties.

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International and Comparative Criminal Justice and Urban Governance
  • Online ISBN: 9780511974953
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511974953
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