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New Labour – New Penology? Punitive Rhetoric and the Limits of Managerialism in Criminal Justice Policy

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This paper argues that New Labour’s ‘tough’ stance on law and order has given rise to a criminal justice policy which is based on fundamental contradictions and which involves a substantial retreat from traditional socialist thinking on crime. The continuation of a populist punitive approach ensures the predominance in policy making of a ‘criminology of the other’ which, in turn, sustains a ‘punishment deficit’ which fuels public expectations that crime can be controlled effectively by a policy of deterrence through punishment. This populist punitiveness, it is argued, is at odds with another strand of government penal policy, the attempt to secure greater efficiencies and economies by an intensification of managerialism throughout the criminal justice system.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, England

Publication date: 1998-09-01

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