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Tracing the Gordian knot: indeterminate-sentenced prisoners and the pathologies of English penal politics

Tracing the Gordian knot: indeterminate-sentenced prisoners and the pathologies of English penal politics
Tracing the Gordian knot: indeterminate-sentenced prisoners and the pathologies of English penal politics
This article explores some of the key pathologies of English penal politics, by applying an interpretive political analysis perspective to the specific issue of the plight of the ‘prisoners left behind’, the thousands of indeterminate-sentenced IPP (imprisonment for public protection) prisoners who remain incarcerated notwithstanding the abolition of this sentencing option targeted at ‘dangerous offenders’ in 2012. This article draws on research findings from an ESRC-funded study of penal policymaking to examine why the Gordian knot of the prisoners left behind has proved to be so hard to untangle. The broader lessons of this specific story are then set out. In particular, it is argued that the public and political debate around criminal justice has become damagingly narrow over recent years.
indeterminate sentencing , penological imagination, risk, Penal policy
0032-3179
1-9
Annison, Harry
91ee5a4a-811e-4b57-9fd4-df643465b2a1
Annison, Harry
91ee5a4a-811e-4b57-9fd4-df643465b2a1

Annison, Harry (2018) Tracing the Gordian knot: indeterminate-sentenced prisoners and the pathologies of English penal politics. The Political Quarterly, 1-9. (doi:10.1111/1467-923X.12462).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article explores some of the key pathologies of English penal politics, by applying an interpretive political analysis perspective to the specific issue of the plight of the ‘prisoners left behind’, the thousands of indeterminate-sentenced IPP (imprisonment for public protection) prisoners who remain incarcerated notwithstanding the abolition of this sentencing option targeted at ‘dangerous offenders’ in 2012. This article draws on research findings from an ESRC-funded study of penal policymaking to examine why the Gordian knot of the prisoners left behind has proved to be so hard to untangle. The broader lessons of this specific story are then set out. In particular, it is argued that the public and political debate around criminal justice has become damagingly narrow over recent years.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 November 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 January 2018
Keywords: indeterminate sentencing , penological imagination, risk, Penal policy

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Local EPrints ID: 418535
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418535
ISSN: 0032-3179
PURE UUID: 09d51e55-8674-42e9-851c-90aa766275f7
ORCID for Harry Annison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6042-038X

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Date deposited: 09 Mar 2018 17:31
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 05:14

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Author: Harry Annison ORCID iD

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