SOC205H5 Chapter Notes -Retributive Justice, Neoliberalism, Late Modernity

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Published on 15 Apr 2013
School
UTM
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC205H5
Volatile and Contradictory Punishment- Pat O’Malley
Modern penal policy and practice characterized by unusual degree of incoherence and unpredictability
o According to Garland- this is evidence of limits of sovereign state
o Simon- sign of postmodern breakdown of modern penality
o Emergence of advanced liberalism and neo-liberalism
Article argues that such coherence is better understood in terms of contradictory elements of New
Right politics
Symptoms of Chaos?
Different forms of punishment (i.e. disciplinary vs. incapacitation)
Diversity of sanctioning characteristic of penal modernism
In some jurisdictions, all forms of punishment may be available as an option
Categories of sanctions:
Discipline
Program of strict discipline for young offenders that ‘must teach social control, self discipline, respect for
authority and a work ethic’
Structured schedules- uniforms, work programs, development of skills; emphasis on behaviour
modification
Extreme versions include military drill
Similar to Foucault’s Discipline and Punish- inculcating instinctive habits of obedience appear to be aim
of intervention
Punishment
Justification is usually that welfare and correctional models muddied factors that potential criminals
must include in pre-offence decision making
Little or no sympathy with rehabilitative aim of strict disciplinary programs
Reflect concern that rehabilitative sanctions provide skilling benefits not available t law abiding
Reflect concerns of those who rail against sentences determined by reformist timetables rather than
seriousness of offence
Enterprise
Creating ‘enterprising prisoners’
Garland- enterprise approach partakes more positive discipline in which prisoners are ‘trained for
freedom’
“entrepreneur of his own personal development”
Permitted to choose their preferred options from within certain options; **regard prisoners as being
given opportunity to make an enterprise of their lives and seek to enlist rather than force**
Incapacitation
‘warehousing’ of prisoners and close surveillance of offenders serving community correctional sentences
prominent feature of contemporary criminal justice
Neither a rehabilitative nor punitive approach
Determination of length of sentence is actuarial (relating to calculation of risk)- i.e. three strikes rule ;
fixed by risk profile of offender and linked to preventative concerns
Justified on basis that nothing (reformative) works and rehabilitation programs are expensive and don’t
work
Restitution
Disconnecting offending and the state
Individual victims and offenders privately negotiate restitution
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Reintegration
Seeks to work through informal procedures to restore individual to collectivity
Braithwaite- condemning ‘counterproductive’ stigmatization essential to retribution
Explaining Volatile and Contradictory Punishment
Jonathan Simon- development of boot camps ‘evidences an endgame of penal modernity’
o Boot camp is what some call ‘willful nostalgia’, a sensibility that is a crucial marker of post-
modernization in variety of social fields
o Nostalgic because it has no reference to anything functionally meaningful in contemporary
society
o **decadence of late modernity; sanctions go back to lost industrial and modernist past, and
have no functional connection with the present**
Where punitive and just deserts tendencies linked to return of sanctions such as death
penalty and chain gangs
Development of boot camps attributed to success of neo-liberal politics (political rejection of welfarism
in general and emphasis on individual responsibility for consequences of actions)
New Right political discourses- failure of reformism, argue that such failure led to necessity to develop
new forms of penal and criminal preventative regime
Neo-liberal pressures also seen to be behind model of ‘enterprising prisoner’
Movement toward penal incapacitation explained in terms of rise of neo-liberalism (reference to focus
on economic accountability and efficiency)
o Incapacitation also linked to other developments associated with ‘risk society’ thesis
Feeley and Simon- incapacitation as part of broader and apolitical logic of risk management in which
actuarial techniques and actuarial justice are displacing technologies of individual discipline
Restitution and reintegration linked with many shifts in contemporary social order
o Braithwaite- suggests that re-integrative sanctions may be connected with late modern shift
toward shame rather than guilt
o Increasing salience of restitution seen as consistent with neo-liberal maneuvers to responsibilize
individuals and to take state out of as social life as possible
Cohen- sees the same processes as reflecting pressures to bring institutions of civil society back into
social control
Key limitation of such explanation is that because each relates to particular sanction they don’t confront
and don’t account for diversity and incoherence of programs
Theses that offer to make sense of problem:
o Incoherence and volatility reflect limits of sovereign state
o Such volatility reflects disintegration of modernity and its displacement by post modernity
o That all of these apparently incoherent sanctions can be united under common umbrella of neo-
liberal political rationality
Limits of the Sovereign State
Garland- inability of state policy interventions to reduce high crime rates generated governmental
predicament which is manifested in ‘recurring ambivalence’ toward criminal justice and its penalties
Governments now wish to deny primary responsibility for crime control
o Recognize that political consequences of such a move are potentially disastrous
o Result is the ‘volatile and contradictory character of recent crime control policy’
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Document Summary

Modern penal policy and practice characterized by unusual degree of incoherence and unpredictability. Volatile and contradictory punishment- pat o"malley: according to garland- this is evidence of limits of sovereign state, simon- sign of postmodern breakdown of modern penality, emergence of advanced liberalism and neo-liberalism. Article argues that such coherence is better understood in terms of contradictory elements of new. Different forms of punishment (i. e. disciplinary vs. incapacitation) Diversity of sanctioning characteristic of penal modernism. In some jurisdictions, all forms of punishment may be available as an option. Program of strict discipline for young offenders that must teach social control, self discipline, respect for authority and a work ethic". Structured schedules- uniforms, work programs, development of skills; emphasis on behaviour modification. Similar to foucault"s discipline and punish- inculcating instinctive habits of obedience appear to be aim of intervention. Justification is usually that welfare and correctional models muddied factors that potential criminals must include in pre-offence decision making.

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