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Penal populism and the public thermostat: crime, public punitiveness and public policy

Penal populism and the public thermostat: crime, public punitiveness and public policy
Penal populism and the public thermostat: crime, public punitiveness and public policy
This paper makes the case that feedback processes in democratic politics - between crime rates, public opinion and public policy - can account for the growth of penal populism in Britain. It argues that the public recognise and respond to rising (and falling) levels of crime, and that in turn public support for being tough on crime is translated into patterns of imprisonment. This contributes to debates over the crime-opinion-policy connection, unpacking the dynamic processes by which these relationships unfold at the aggregate-level. This uses the most extensive dataset ever assembled on aggregate opinion on crime in Britain to construct a new over-time measure of punitive attitudes. The analysis first tests the thermostatic responsiveness of punitive attitudes to changes in recorded crime rates as well as self-reported victimisation, and then examines the degree to which changes in mass opinion impact on criminal justice policy.
0952-1895
463-481
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Gray, Emily
04ff194d-9985-4638-b702-751948aa5f25
Farrall, Stephen
c0bf4481-60fd-46f3-bc13-114bf4e58dd3
Hay, Colin
1dc2c1eb-c9bc-4f6a-ad7a-aa0038689217
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Gray, Emily
04ff194d-9985-4638-b702-751948aa5f25
Farrall, Stephen
c0bf4481-60fd-46f3-bc13-114bf4e58dd3
Hay, Colin
1dc2c1eb-c9bc-4f6a-ad7a-aa0038689217

Jennings, Will, Gray, Emily, Farrall, Stephen and Hay, Colin (2017) Penal populism and the public thermostat: crime, public punitiveness and public policy. Governance, 30 (3), 463-481. (doi:10.1111/gove.12214).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper makes the case that feedback processes in democratic politics - between crime rates, public opinion and public policy - can account for the growth of penal populism in Britain. It argues that the public recognise and respond to rising (and falling) levels of crime, and that in turn public support for being tough on crime is translated into patterns of imprisonment. This contributes to debates over the crime-opinion-policy connection, unpacking the dynamic processes by which these relationships unfold at the aggregate-level. This uses the most extensive dataset ever assembled on aggregate opinion on crime in Britain to construct a new over-time measure of punitive attitudes. The analysis first tests the thermostatic responsiveness of punitive attitudes to changes in recorded crime rates as well as self-reported victimisation, and then examines the degree to which changes in mass opinion impact on criminal justice policy.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 30 March 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 2 June 2016
Published date: July 2017
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 390589
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/390589
ISSN: 0952-1895
PURE UUID: 3e15fa11-6586-4ac5-99a3-d49886f22066
ORCID for Will Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Apr 2016 10:48
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 06:53

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