The road well traveled in Australia: Ignoring the past, condemning the future

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Identifying the nature and causes of penal change over decades can be a fraught exercise, particularly where those changes are gradual and the reasons for changes are diffuse. Like climate change and weather patterns, Australia’s rising prison population is the product of forces that are also evident in Western Anglophonic societies but that vary in scale and speed depending on local conditions. These forces include penal populism, media influences, risk aversion, and distrust of the judiciary. Changes in the balance of power between the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive, increasing the power of the former and restricting the discretionary powers of the latter, all contribute to increasing prison numbers and more persons under correctional supervision.But where some jurisdictions have seen the cost and futility of continuous expansion of penal populations and appear inclined to draw back,Australia seems determined to follow this senseless path.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSentencing Policies and Practices in Western Countries
Subtitle of host publicationComparative and Cross-national Perspectives
EditorsMichael Tonry
Place of PublicationChicago IL USA
PublisherThe University of Chicago Press
Number of pages39
ISBN (Print)9780226337579
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameCrime and Justice: A Review of Research
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
ISSN (Print)0192-3234

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