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Tough on Crime: Penal Policy in England and Wales (From Crime, Punishment, and Politics in Comparative Perspective, P 425-470, 2007, Michael Tonry, ed. - See NCJ-241880)

NCJ Number
Tim Newburn
Date Published
46 pages
Trends in crime and penal policy in England and Wales are explored.
Over the past quarter century, crime and penal policy have come to occupy a central place in political and public debate. Declining faith in rehabilitation interventions has been accompanied by an increasingly harsh form of penal populism that emphasizes the general deterrent and incapacitation effects of imprisonment and has disparaged welfare-oriented approaches as being "soft on crime." One consequence is a significant increase in the use of imprisonment -- making England and Wales the highest incarcerator in Western Europe. Although the last decade has seen substantial drops in overall levels of crime, this is not reflected in public opinion, which continues to believe that crime and disorderliness are rising. The shift toward a more punitive and populist penal politics has been visible since the early to mid-1990s. From around 1993/94, both main political parties became joined in a contest to present themselves as tougher on law and order. This occurred just as crime was peaking and beginning its downward path. The consequence has been a proliferation of crime-oriented legislation, the broadening of the agenda to "antisocial behavior," and a rapid and sustained rise in the number of people incarcerated. (Published Abstract)