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Punishment and Prisons

Punishment and Prisons
Power and the Carceral State

  • Joe Sim - Liverpool John Moore's University, UK

June 2009 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

With prisons overflowing and penal policy the topic of hot debate, Punishment and Prisons: Power and the Carceral State presents a lively and accessible discussion of possible solutions to the current crisis, by one of the foremost scholars in the field.

Joe Sim traces the development of penal strategy over the past three decades, through a critical analysis of the relationship between penal policy and state power. Exploring the contested histories of punishment that are prominent in criminology, and its development in penal policy, the book analyzes four key dimensions of modern penal trends:

  • Continuity and discontinuity in penal policy and practice
  • Reform and rehabilitation
  • Contesting penal power
  • Abolitionism

Articulate, innovative, and theoretically informed, Punishment and Prisons offers a critical overview of contemporary penal politics that will prove a compelling addition to the criminological library.

The book is written for not only for students and academics but also for those involved in the debates on penal policy – including prison reform groups, politicians, and the media. It offers a series of suggestions for alleviating the current crisis, setting out a policy agenda for transforming the role and place of the prison in the criminal justice system.


Continuity and Contestation in Penal Politics
Law, Order and the Penal System 1974-1983
Hard Reign
Thatcherism and the Consolidation of Penal Authoritarianism, 1983-1990

From Big House to Bleak House
Prisons in the 'Iron Times' 1990-1997

'Piety and Iron'
New Labour and Social Authoritarianism

'Those with no Capital get the Punishment'
New Labour and the Working Prison

For Abolitionist Praxis
Transcending the Prison Mentality

Abolitionism in an Anti-Utopian Age

This book provides a fascinating insight into penal politics and whilst this will be purchased for the library for a course I currently teach on it is not essential reading.

Ms Lesley Spiers
IHCA, Worcester University
March 23, 2010

A critical reader for level 3 undersgraduates studying penology and post graduate students

Ms Helen Poole
Social Science , Coventry University
December 21, 2009

This book provides a scholarly and indepth analysis that makes an essential contribution ot any critical analysis of imprisonment. It is and will continue to be a vital text for our criminology students.

Mr William Jackson
ESPaCH, Salford University
December 17, 2009

An excellent and comprehensive text.

Miss Jennifer Phipps
Other, Canterbury Christ Church University
December 7, 2009

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Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

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ISBN: 9780761960041
ISBN: 9780761960034

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