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The permanent revolution: New Labour, new public management and the modernisation of criminal justice

McLaughlin, Eugene, Muncie, John and Hughes, Gordon (2001) The permanent revolution: New Labour, new public management and the modernisation of criminal justice Criminal Justice and Criminology, 3, (3), pp. 301-318. (doi:10.1177/1466802501001003003).

Record type: Article


The soundbite `tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime' was crucial to both the ideological rebirth of the Labour Party as `New Labour' and its landslide victory in the 1997 General Election. Indeed, one of New Labour's most remarkable political achievements, during its first term of office, was to have forged a `Third Way' law and order position that has successfully challenged the idea that social democratic political parties are by definition `soft on crime'. This article outlines and evaluates the key strategies underpinning New Labour's core governmental project of `modernization through managerialization' in criminal justice. Throughout, a focus on crime reduction and youth justice is maintained, since addressing these `wicked issues' is pivotal to realizing New Labour's long-term objective of commanding the centre ground of law and order politics in the UK. We argue that an institutionalization and normalization of managerialism is taking place to `resolve' the contradictions, tensions and disconnections generated by the Conservatives' incomplete public sector reform project and to create the basis for achieving the long-held ideal of a cost-effective, efficient, `seamless' criminal justice system. In the conclusion we discuss the implications of the open-ended relationship between the unrelenting managerialization of criminal justice and the on-going politicization of law and order associated with New Labour's electoral promise to be `tough on crime'

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Published date: August 2001
Organisations: Social Sciences


Local EPrints ID: 340142
ISSN: 1748-8958
PURE UUID: cb977d55-de14-4934-90a9-143e0efd388c

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Date deposited: 15 Aug 2012 14:28
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:48

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Author: Eugene McLaughlin
Author: John Muncie
Author: Gordon Hughes

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