Contemporary Penal Policies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This article provides an overview of the literature leading comparative penological research. Starting from the concept of “punitiveness” as measured in imprisonment rates, it explores and critically assesses how differences in prison populations, and changes over time, have been explained by comparative criminologists. In doing so, it identifies drivers of contemporary penal policies on a global, national, and regional scale. It does, however, also pay particular attention to anomalies, deviating patterns, and overrepresented groups and discusses the validity of the explanatory models in this respect. Finally, it looks at the future of penal policy and prospects for penal reform.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbooks Online
EditorsMichael Tonry
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780199935383
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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