Policy mobilities and comparative penality

Tim Newburn, Trevor Jones, Jarrett Blaustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The study of ‘policy transfer’ has been subject to sustained criticism, in particular by critical policy studies scholars. This critique—together with the rather marginal role that policy transfer research has played in criminological debates to date—raises questions about the continued utility of such research in scholarly discussions of crime control and penal policy-making. However, we argue here that such studies can enhance our understanding of the local, national and global influences over crime control policy formation. In particular, the developing interest in comparative criminology, in the political economy of punishment, and in the ‘proximate causes’ of penal change, are all areas to which this work can make a useful contribution. Although we feel that some elements of the critique are over-stated, the critical policy studies notions of ‘mobilities’ and ‘assemblages’ offer important advances that capture more fully the complexities of the processes involved in the cross-national movement of penal policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-581
Number of pages19
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Comparative penal policy
  • penality
  • policy mobilities
  • policy transfer
  • political economy
  • punishment
  • Cardiff University

    Jarrett Blaustein (Visiting researcher)

    20 Sept 201628 Sept 2016

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesVisiting an external academic institution

Cite this