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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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
The past several decades have seen a tremendous increase in the U.S. incarceration rate, with varying trends in other advanced industrial democracies. These developments…
The past several decades have seen a tremendous increase in the U.S. incarceration rate, with varying trends in other advanced industrial democracies. These developments have only recently begun to attract the attention of political scientists. This chapter provides a critical review of recent literature on mass incarceration by both political scientists and scholars in related disciplines, and a discussion of directions for further research. I argue that further work in this area should involve theoretically informed analysis of interactions between criminal justice experts and professionals, elected politicians, and the public at large, with particular attention to how public concerns about crime are parsed and interpreted by public officials in the making of penal policy.