Inspecting the tail of the dog
in Incarceration and human rights
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This chapter describes the absence of a robust human rights culture which could potentially stem the inexorable progress towards a mass incarcerative society, or help us to generate more fundamental statutory reform of prisoners' rights. It argues that these two processes co-exist, a culture of control and a politics of rights scepticism, in a particular way to undermine the objectives of penal reform and prisoners' rights. The Expectations provide one of the few genuinely ambitious sets of normative aspirations within the UK penal system, and should certainly form part of any statutory reform of prisoners' rights in the future. Rights scepticism is rooted in the strong tradition of political majoritarianism in English constitutional orthodoxy and its utilitarian underpinnings. Most criminologists and sociologists of crime agree that advanced democracies are now characterised by a political preoccupation with avoiding risk and containing danger.

Incarceration and human rights

The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2007


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