Penal Policy and Political Culture in England and Wales: Four Essays on Policy and Process

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Waterside Press, 2003 - Law - 147 pages
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'I dislike heaping so much praise on a book, as people often imagine another agenda, purpose or friendship is at stake. That makes writing a review of Penal Policy and Political Culture all the more difficult. This really is an excellent book and it is very difficult to put down. For those with and interest in the small 'p' politics of penal policy, it will be of immense appeal. Students enrolled on courses looking at pressure groups and their influence - or lack thereof - will not find a better text. For those at the coal axe - governors, managers, officers and prisoners - it will fascinate and enlighten. And for reformers, it is something of a manifesto. Utterly Suberb': Steve Taylor, Prison Service Journal For many years making penal policy in England and Wales was in the hands of a small, male metropolitan elite made up of Ministers, liberal lobby groups like the Howard League and the Prison Reform Trust, and senior civil servants. Even Parliament was kept at a respectful distance, and public opinion on important penal questions like capital punishment was taken to be something that had to be managed and circumvented rather than acted upon. Penal Policy and Political Culture in England and Wales looks at challenges to this cosy, elite policy making world, first from below as prisoners groups such as PROP and victims groups like Women Against Rape demanded their say in the 1970s and 1980s, and then later, as the New Right deliberately mobilised public opinion around penal questions as a mechanism to support its harsh social and economic policies in the 1980s and 1990s.

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About the author (2003)

Mick Ryan is Professor of Penal Politics in the School of Humanities at the University of Greenwich, London.

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