The article discusses the widely debated comparative question about the scope and regional range of the 'punitive turn' in criminal policy.'
The article discusses the widely debated comparative question about the scope and regional range of the 'punitive turn' in criminal policy, in particular with respect to the German situation. The argument starts with two similar attempted 'lynchings' that took place in England in 1998 and in Germany in 2012. The concept of 'American exceptionalism' is used as a reference point for identifying the role Germany plays in the discussion about the radical change of criminal policy. However, it is applied in the reverse sense to investigate the 'received wisdom', especially in English-speaking criminology, that 'German exceptionalism' is one of the 'benign' cases 'deviating' from the punitive tendency that exists in other countries. The article presents some evidence and a number of expert voices that reveal an 'insider's view' that contrasts strongly with outside perspectives. The article concludes with some reflections about the 'extra-criminological' sources of the punitive turn which Germany shares with the countries that are known as the core exemplars of the punitive changes in penal policy. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.