Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective: Volume 19

Subject:

Table of contents

(18 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
Content available
Purpose

In this chapter I discuss judicial contributions to Italian penality. I look at the penal incentives produced by interactions between judicial and political classes, and ask whether judges and prosecutors have been forces for punitiveness or moderation. I discuss the relevance of the Italian case for broader analyses of Western penality.

Design/methodology/approach

My chapter offers a political-sociological account of judicial contributions to punishment. I analyse the penal incentives created by different national institutional set-ups, specifically addressing judicial contributions to penality using a framework developed by Joachim Savelsberg and Nicola Lacey. The framework examines judicial structure in the institutional context looking at the penal implications of bureaucratisation of the judiciary and the capacity for co-ordination between judges and politicians. I include judicial legitimacy as an additional dimension in this framework.

Findings

I conclude that the Italian judiciary have been forces for punitiveness and moderation. Their contributions can be systematised by looking at the waxing and waning of judicial legitimacy, and the consequent expansion and contraction of judicial powers. I claim that judicial legitimacy is also relevant to other (‘non-Italian’) analyses of judicial contributions to contemporary Western penality.

Originality/value

By adding legitimacy to investigations of judicial contributions to penality I provide an organising principle with which to analyse the penal role of Italian judicial actors. I thus allow Italy to be kept in conversation with existing comparative models, without assuming that it either conforms to the models entirely, or that the models should otherwise be eschewed. I use the Italian case to demonstrate the relevance of legitimacy when analysing judicial contributions to Western penality, arguing that changing legitimacy affects the terms and effect of interaction between judicial and political classes.

Purpose

In this chapter, I examine the juvenile justice system and incarceration practices in Turkey. The study focuses on the basic agents and the legislation of the juvenile justice system and the current status of juvenile incarceration. This study also reveals the problems of the functionality of the system. I conclude with policy recommendations for successful implementation of the juvenile justice system and prevention of recidivism.

Design/methodology/approach

I discuss concepts in the juvenile justice system of Turkey and highlight the function and problems of each agent of the system. I focus on problems of the juvenile justice system and its reflection on high rates of recidivism of juveniles.

Findings

Overall, the leniency of the juvenile justice system is associated with high rates of juvenile recidivism in Turkey. Infrastructure insufficiencies have limited the standardization of services and practices. The delayed response and perceived leniency of the justice system promoted juveniles’ continuation on a crime trajectory.

Originality/value

Few scholars have examined the functionality of the juvenile justice system, its problems, and its reflection on high rates of juvenile recidivism in the Turkish case.

Purpose

This chapter reviews the economic turn in criminology to contextualise the prominence of market rationalities in penal privatisation and outsourcing in England and Wales. It illuminates how fiscal crisis and austerity have provided opportunities for transferring state penal assets and powers to private interests on an unprecedented scale. A series of scandals relating to fraud and mismanagement by private companies have revealed regulatory gaps and wilful oversight on the part of legislators. These factors virtually guarantee that state regulators will continue to be disadvantaged in asserting the public interest.

Design/methodology/approach

The chapter brings together the literatures on prison privatisation with theoretical critiques of neoliberal influences on state disaggregation. It applies those insights to recent trends and controversies surrounding the privatisation of prison and probation services in England and Wales.

Findings

The race to privatise more prisons and resettlement provisions in England and Wales is placing additional strains on an already inadequate regulatory system, which virtually guarantees that future scandals and crises relating to private sector custodianship will recur.

Originality/value

This chapter explores the under-appreciated criminogenic and governmental challenges to the regulatory environment which are brought about by outsourcing.

Purpose

This chapter reconstructs and critically examines the recent history of strip searches in Belgium. About 10 years ago the Belgian parliament adopted its first law on prisoners’ rights. A major part of the Prison Act of 12 January 2005 deals with disciplinary and control measures. Article 108, in particular, has provoked quite some controversy. It introduced a clear distinction between the (more superficial) search of an inmates’ clothes on the one hand, and the (substantially more intrusive) measure of strip searching on the other hand. The main difference between these two measures is that the latter involves forcing prisoners to strip naked. Because of their intrinsic intrusiveness, such strip searches were meant to be exceptional measures: they should only take place following an individual assessment and decision by the prison governor. In practice, however, the prison administration tended to interpret Article 108 somewhat differently and the line between searching an inmate’s clothes on the one hand and strip searching on the other became blurred.

Design/methodology/approach

I first discuss the problem of order in prisons and explore how strip searches have been regulated in Europe. I then reconstruct the recent history of the regulation of strip searches in Belgium. In order to make sense of this history, I mobilize some of the ideas of Stanley Cohen’s sociology of denial, in particular, his distinction between literal, implicatory and interpretive denial, and apply these to the history of strip searches in Belgium.

Findings

A consistent finding from this chapter is that the Belgian prison administration has – through creative manoeuvres of interpretive denial – been able to circumvent the new barriers that were erected by the Prison Act of 12 January 2005 and, in doing so, it has been able to continue stripping detainees naked without an individualized decision from the prison governor. The approach that I develop throughout this chapter helps us better appreciate the limits of legal reform and top-down (European) regulation of strip searches.

Originality/value

The chapter demonstrates that Stanley Cohen’s work on denial is not only useful for scholars who do research on gross human rights violations but also for interpreting more down-to-earth aspects of criminal justice systems across the globe.

Purpose

In this chapter, we explicate the evolution of Canadian corrections, the political, social and judicial realities that have shaped punishment and imprisonment over history. We reveal how such factors continue to leave their mark on the current Canadian federal criminal justice system and its structures of incarceration.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive review of accessible literatures detailing the nation’s development of punishment and incarceration is presented. The history of imprisonment is traced up to the current year and the role of penal populism as theorized by Garland (2001) and, later, Pratt (2007) is presented to discern the motivations for the current punitive correctional rhetoric, as well as its impact on conditions of confinement and program implementation in penitentiaries.

Findings

Canada’s correctional history is largely shaped by how punishment is defined and how such definitions are influenced by members of society; including victims, perpetrators, politicians and media personalities. The realities of current conditions of confinement have been impacted by social and political pressures that encourage increasingly punitive policies oriented towards ‘tough on crime’ initiatives. Current corrections are characterized by overcrowding, concerns about rehabilitative programming and resource allocation and mental health care.

Originality/value

Recent legislative amendments have solidified a ‘tough on crime’ agenda in Canada, however the process underlying the movement towards the acceptance, even public demand, for such legislative changes remain in need of dissemination; particularly in light of the decades of decreasing crime rates in the country.

Purpose

This chapter discusses the confinement conditions that women doing time for federal offenses in Mexico nowadays face. This discussion focuses on two conditions: the evolution of theories about feminine criminal behavior; and the effects that policies against drugs, prevailing in Latin America and other world regions, have on this population.

Design/methodology/approach

Some 149 out of 300 women doing time in an Island prison in Mexico were interviewed by the author, who tried to understand the conditions that women faced before committing the crime and once they were in prison.

Findings

The study shows that policies against drugs have caused severe damage and brought about few, if any, benefits. A cost-benefit approach and more rational policies are suggested.

Originality/value

The chapter will describe relevant punishment conditions, including involuntary or trickery transfer of women to the Island prison; difficulties to communicate with their families and ill-treatments, humiliation, and abuses from personnel and will hear several of their stories.

Purpose

This chapter calls attention to penal regime shifts, emphasizing the importance of comparing different periods of prison development. In particular, it examines different instantiations of prison across time.

Design/methodology/approach

I discuss three periods of prison development (1790–1810s, 1820–1860, and 1865–1920), focusing on the nature of prison diffusion across the United States. Specifically, I discuss the homogeneity and diversity of prison forms in each period.

Findings

I demonstrate that the first two periods were particularly homogenous, as most states that adopted prisons followed a single model, the Walnut Street Jail model (1790–1810s) and the Auburn System (1820–1860), respectively. By contrast, the post—Civil War period experienced the emergence of women’s prisons, adult reformatories, and distinctively Southern approaches to confinement. Using neo-institutional theory, I suggest this post-war proliferation of prison forms was only possible because the prison had become institutionalized in the penal landscape.

Originality/value

Scholars rarely examine multiple shifts in penal regime together, reducing their ability to make comparative insights. This chapter juxtaposes three historical periods of prison development, thereby illustrating the diversity of the third period and improving extant understandings of prison evolution.

Purpose

In this chapter, the author outlines the historical, legal, and jurisdiction regarding incarceration rates of Native Americans. It examines reports and data in areas where problems of racial disparity continue to endure. As the smallest minority population in the United States, it raises questions as to the disparity of Native Americans. Native Americans are unique in their relationship with the federal government, and should be critically examined to distinguish what makes their involvement in the criminal justice system inimical.

Design/methodology/approach

The author examines the law enforcement, courts, and corrections data, through various reports; concerning causes of Native American criminality, incarceration rates, health disparities, jurisdictional schemes, human rights, and race. It is argued that federal governmental laws and various bureaucracies exacerbate conditions through overreaching policies which invalidates many of the positive aspects Native People bring to themselves.

Findings

Native Americans are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. As the smallest segment of the population, they have a higher incarceration rate per capita. It is without question that chronic underfunding of law enforcement, courts, and corrections in reservation communities continues. In light of Congressional claiming to want to alleviate problems in Indian country, little impact has been realized.

Originality/value

Native American societies are often considered a silent minority. Information pertaining to the many social issues enveloping Native communities often falls on deaf ears and political party leaders who are more interested in a larger constituency fail to lend their assistance in a manner deemed appropriate to truly grasp the larger problems.

Purpose

This chapter aims to demonstrate that the fundamental human rights principle that no one should be subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender. It should be applied both during imposition of the sentences and also during execution of already imposed sentences.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to reveal whether this principle takes into account serious medical conditions, including terminal illness of the offender in the calculus of the proportionality of punishment and whether it is applicable at the execution stage of sentences, this chapter examined the roots of the fundamental human rights principle of proportionality of punishment by briefly surveying the penal theory, jurisprudence, court cases, laws, and legislative history from the U.S. federal and state jurisdictions and from Europe.

Findings

There is a consensus among surveyed theories that terminal illness of the offender is an element of the principle of proportionality of punishment. Thus the fundamental human rights principle must be interpreted to take it into account. The principle should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Originality/value

This chapter re-examines the roots of the fundamental human right to not being subjected to (grossly) disproportionate punishment. It does so in order to demonstrate that the right should be interpreted to take into account terminal illness of the offender and that it should be observed not only at the imposition stage, but also at the execution stage of already imposed sentences.

Purpose

In this chapter, the author analyzes sentencing and incarceration practices in South Africa during the last 20 years, a period which saw the country transforming into a fully flexed democracy.

Design/methodology/approach

The concepts of sentencing, mandatory minimum sentencing, sentencing of children and incarceration are discussed. The past 20 years of democracy serve as a point of departure for this discussion. The retrospective nature of the adopted approach necessitates a heavy reliance on existing literature, but a statistical analysis is also relied upon. The author also reflects on research conducted during the last 20 years.

Findings

While it is almost impossible to duly consider all sentencing-related developments in democratic South Africa, important advances have been made but they were not always systematically followed through. Well-intended policies have at times been poorly executed. Specially, the correctional system destroyed all types of staff motivation through poor human resource practices.

Originality/value

Few scholars have considered the influence of sentencing practices on the South African inmate population, more particularly during the period of democracy that has been running for 20 years. This influence in the South African criminal justice system will be highlighted. The contribution of sentencing in the democratization of the country may be drawn from this discussion. The study may contribute to policy implementation for decades to come and through that, strengthen the South African democracy. At the same time, lessons from South Africa may serve as a roadmap for other young and established democracies.

Purpose

The number of reported cases for Japanese Penal Code offenses amounted to 2.5 million in 1997 and increased every year, reaching 3.6 million in 2002 and 2003. However, the number decreased from 2004 to 2008 to 2.5 million. Almost throughout the same period, the number of cases and persons cleared remained comparatively steady between 1.3 and 1.5 million and 1 and 1.2 million respectively, but the latter finally fell below one million in 2011. In this chapter I describe such a rise and fall as a “Mt. Fuji-line” that appears as a mountain-shaped curve on a graph.

Design/methodology/approach

The Japanese government reacted to the increase of crimes, which was seen as a reflection of a weakened or broken security and safety. The most effective policy, it was thought therefore, was to increase the number of policemen. This policy followed the strategy of New York City, made famous by its then Mayor Giuliani, who declared “A War on Crimes” and increased the number of police officers by ten thousand to revive New York from “A Crime City.” As criminologists have experienced so-called “labeling shocks” and learned from the approach of symbolic interactionism, criminologists can no longer simply accept that statistical data reflect weakened or broken security issues. Agencies of criminal justice, especially police officers, use such data as statistical evidence to show that the crime situation got worse.

Findings

I argue that the rise and fall of crimes, especially the increasing and decreasing number of reported cases, reflects changes of crime control policies. I analyze the Mt. Fuji-line from 1998 to 2011. The increase of crimes as well as the weakened or broken security and safety functioned as evidence that justified the reinforcement of police power and a new criminal justice shift for a lay judge system in the rising phase (1998–2003). Since the concept of a bigger justice system needs, however, lots of personnel and material sources, the Japanese government eventually gave up sustaining it. Agencies used their discretion to skip petty crimes and divert suspects because of a reduction of excessive burdens and inappropriate prison population, but they stepped into a new stage to adjust their burdens, keeping their own empowered framework of criminal justice system. These changing policies resulted in the reduction of crime in a falling phase (2004–2011).

Originality/value

These phenomena are explained from the viewpoint of Jürgen Habermas’ crisis theory. I conclude that the framework and capacity of the Japanese criminal justice system grew far bigger and that original functions of crime control through criminal procedure became weaker by being outsourced to other peripheral social systems and agencies. Thus the crime control system has been successful in bringing about a net-widening effect.

Purpose

This chapter aims to examine the ways in which gender has featured in Hong Kong’s prison system from its colonial origins to its contemporary form as a politically autonomous region of China. We conclude with a discussion on the reasons for these recent trends of imprisonment.

Design/methodology/approach

We draw from the concepts of patriarchy and colonialism to examine how gender has operated and shaped Hong Kong’s prison system. Our analysis is based on historical and contemporary government reports and other documents and secondary data.

Findings

Similar to other locales around the world, Hong Kong’s prison system was designed for and by men in its early colonial days, as expected given that most prisoners were male. Although a few prison administrators attempted to provide some programs for women and voiced concern over the conditions of women’s imprisonment to colonial authorities during the latter part of the 1800s, it was not until the 1930s that the first female prison was established. Since then, Hong Kong prison authorities have faced the challenge of a phenomenal and rapid growth in women’s imprisonment, which resulted in a historical reversal of shifting male prisoners to alternate accommodation to make room for their female counterparts.

Originality/value

This study is among the few which have examined how gender operates in the context of imprisonment in a colonial and postcolonial context. This chapter does this by examining how colonial authorities managed competing political debates about the purpose of punishment and cultural understandings of race and difference, and the limited recognition of gender and difference. It also examines how, in postcolonial Hong Kong, authorities have placed gender center stage and the reasons for this in coping and dealing with the growth in women’s imprisonment.

DOI
10.1108/S1521-6136201419
Publication date
2014-10-10
Book series
Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78350-910-2
eISBN
978-1-78350-907-2
Book series ISSN
1521-6136