Political economy of punishment in Australia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


From a macro perspective, Australia shares many of the characteristics of other Anglo-Saxon countries which are associated with increased punitiveness, as measured by the imprisonment rate (number of prisoners out of 100,000 adult inhabitants). From a political economy perspective, it is a neoliberal political economy as described by Cavadino and Dignan (2006), or, in the words of Lacey (2008), a liberal market economy. Since the 80s, neoliberalism overtook Australia’s socio-democratic traditions and, despite these roots having moderated the neoliberal model as described by Wacquant (2009) for the US, penal policies progressively abandoned a rehabilitative approach to proscribed behaviours and substituted it with an increasing punitive approach, resulting in rising imprisonment rates (IR), most significantly reflected in the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the prison.

However, on closer examination, significant differences between the IR of the eight jurisdictions within the Australian borders are revealed. The aim of this study is to investigate and explain the differences in the IR of the Australian jurisdictions over the last 25 years in six Australian jurisdictions which are representative of the country's penal diversity (New South Wales (NSW), Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe political economy of punishment today
Subtitle of host publicationVisions, debates and challenges
EditorsDario Melossi, Maximo Sozzo, Jose Brandariz-Garcia
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781315542713
ISBN (Print)9781138686281
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Critical Studies in Crime, Diversity and Criminal Justice


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