PUNITIVE CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND POLICY IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
AbstractThis paper examines the influence of so-called popular punitivism on contemporary society. Concerted efforts by policy makers have, in recent times, promoted the use of punitive criminal justice methods and rhetoric to maintain a castigatory sentiment amongst the public. This has lead to the acceptance that crime and anti social behaviour are more effectively controlled by harsh and authoritarian measures. Central to this rise in punitive sentiment and attacks on social deviants known as the ‘other’ is the use of media and other agencies to legitimize and encourage a sensationalized fear of crime which owes more to imagery and emotive elements than criminological research. The question of whether this political and media manipulation of criminal policy has resulted in a more punitive society is not without difficulty however. Despite this punitive political and media driven focus a number of important factors need to be addressed in order to better understand punitivism in contemporary society.
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