When Children Kill Children: Penal Populism and Political Culture

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Oxford University Press, 2008 - Law - 328 pages
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This title examines the role of political culture and penal populism in the response to the subject of child-on-child homicide.

Green explores the reasons underlying the vastly differing responses of the English and Norwegian criminal justice systems to the cases of James Bulger and Silje Redergard respectively. Whereas James Bulger's killers were subject to extreme press and public hostility, held in secure detention for nine months before being tried in an adversarial court, and served eight years in custody, Redergard's killers were shielded from public antagonism and carefully reintegrated into the local community. This book argues that English adversarial political culture creates far more incentives to politicize high-profile crimes than Norwegian consensus political culture. Drawing on a wealth of empirical research, Green suggests that the tendency for politicians to justify punitive responses to crime by invoking harsh public attitudes is based upon a flawed understanding of public opinion.

In a compelling study, Green proposes a more deliberative response to crime is possible by making English culture less adversarial and by making informed public judgment more assessable.

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About the author (2008)

Dr David A. Green is Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, University of Oxford. Prior to this he was awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD whilst studying for an MPhil in Criminology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology. In 2005 he took up a postdoctoral Junior Research Fellowship at Christ Church, Oxford and taught at the Oxford University Centre for Criminology. He is also currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.

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