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Punishment as Politics: The Penal System in England and Wales

Abstract : In the 1995 edited collection, Western European Penal Systems, Mick Ryan and Joe Sim concluded their chapter on the penal system in England and Wales by observing that ‘the future looks bleak in England and Wales’ (Ruggiero et al. 1995: 124). Without wishing to sound overly pessimistic, it would seem that their prediction was prescient. Indeed, many of the trends identified by Ryan and Sim in 1995 have deepened and a number of penal innovations have reinforced what they described as the ‘disciplinary drive’ (ibid.: 119). Most obviously, the prison population has continued to increase at an alarming rate, going far beyond the increases predicted in 1995. It now stands at record levels at over 87,000 prisoners (ICPS 2012). These figures omit the two to three thousand foreign nationals detained at any one time in ‘immigration removal centres’ or ‘short term housing facilities’ in England and Wales (Silverman and Hajela 2012), bringing the total incarcerated population closer to 90,000.
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Emma Bell. Punishment as Politics: The Penal System in England and Wales. Vincenzo Ruggiero (dir.); Mick Ryan (dir.). Punishment in Europe : A Critical Anatomy of Penal Systems, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.58-85, 2013, 978-1137572424. ⟨10.1057/9781137028211⟩. ⟨hal-02552303⟩



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