APR 14

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23: APR 14


  • Cavadino, Michael and James Dignan. "Penal policy and political economy". (17)

Cavadino, Michael and James Dignan. "Penal policy and political economy"

  • Crime rates by country [1]
  • Homicide rates by country [2]
  • Some data on the board about income tax rates and taxation as % of GDP.
  • Two claims:
  • Diffs in penality likely to continue in spite of globalization
  • One reason for this is that penality tracks political economy.
  • Starts with an overview of the influence of the US on global penal policy. To the extent that US exerts influence on other countries to move in a neo-liberal direction there may be "penal convergence". Also, incarcertation systems are one of our global exports! "correctional imperialism"
  • Some elements of the US "justice model" (retributive punishment and retributive deterrence) travel faster than others. "3 strikes" and "zero tolerance"
  • In Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights is influential. Moved Russia away from capital punishment.
  • 441: Table: Typology of political economies and their penal tendencies.
  • Neo-liberal
  • Conservative corporatism
  • Social democratic corporatism
  • Oriental corporatism
  • Let's review some of the connections the authors make in their discussion. (bring in crime rates)
  • 447: Table: Political economy and imprisonment rates.
  • Is neo-liberalism "criminogenic"?
  • Possibly: Evidence that unequal societies with weak community relationships suffer from worse rates of crime. 447.
  • Interesting: Weak link bt crime rates and imprisonment rates.
  • Some possible mechanisms: Neo-liberal societies have high social exclusion: labor market and CJ failures. The authors suggests a "feedback loop" here: the socially excluded confirm the neo-liberal narrative.
  • By contrast, Corporatist and social dem states are inclusionary, have a communitarian ethos. (Think back to "Are you alright?" MRFW News!). "Welfare" can involve locking people up or giving them money.
  • Beckett and Western (2001) and others claim that high welfare spending correlates with low incarceration (except Japan). Also, economic inequality predicts high incarceration rates.

Drawing some implications from Cavadino & Dignan

  • Weak link bt crime rates and imprisonment rates. What might follow from this? Maybe imprisonment rates are driven "MRFW ideology"?
  • Neo-liberal political economies may be indirectly "criminogenic". How might a traditional MR defender respond? Like my conservative friend to homelessness? Better to live in a society that takes responsibility seriously than...(lots of ways to finish this sentence).
  • Methodological Point: We've sampled three kinds of writing about MR&FW. It might be interesting to think about these together.
  • 1. Traditional and current MR&FW defenders and sceptics;
  • 2. Contemp Naturalism and Cultural Evolution; and, now
  • 3. Contemp Political Science.
  • Culturally stable strategies. How do you get to a new equilibrium?