The first essay, which was written by the editor (Michael Tonry), reviews the relevant literature on "Determinants of Penal Policies." It develops generalizations intended to assist in explaining national differences in penal policies and practices; and it suggests ways to build on what is currently known. The second essay, "Comparative Criminology," develops the argument that comparative criminology is not only an academic exercise pursued for gaining knowledge of the field, but is also an independent variable that may explain some of the changes in penal practices and policies in various countries. The third essay, "Visions of Penal Control in the Netherlands," outlines and reflects on the evolution of Dutch penal policy since the early 1970s. "Penal Policy and Practice in Belgium," the fourth essay, analyzes penal developments in Belgium on the basis of research on mechanisms that explain changing prison populations in Western countries and on the basis of Garland's description of the characteristics of the transformation of penalties in late-modern societies. "Penal Policy in Scandinavia" reviews the legislative reforms and ideological changes in Scandinavian countries from the late 1960s onward. Other essays address "Punitive Trends and Stable Imprisonment Rates in Canada," "Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Japan," "Tough on Crime: Penal Policy in England and Wales," "Criminal Justice Policy in France: Illusions of Severity," "Pardons and Amnesties as Policy Instruments in Contemporary France," and "Comparing Penal Cultures: Child-on-Child Homicide in England and Norway." Tables, figures, and references accompany each essay, and a subject index is provided.