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The Politics of Imprisonment
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The Politics of Imprisonment: How the Democratic Process Shapes the Way America Punishes Offenders

Vanessa Barker


This book examines how the democratic process and social trust shape penal sanctioning in the United States. The research shows that higher levels of civic engagement tend to support milder punishments whereas lower levels tend to support more coercive criminal justice policies. The book challenges a taken‐for‐granted assumption about the democratic process and punishment. It shows that the apparent link between public participation, punitiveness, and harsh justice is not only historically contingent but dependent on specific institutional contexts and patterns of civic engagement, patterns th ... More

Keywords: imprisonment, democracy, social trust, civic engagement, penal regimes, U.S. states

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780195370027
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195370027.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Vanessa Barker, author
Florida State University
Author Webpage