A change of direction: the 1990s

David Faulkner and Ros Burnett

in Where Next For Criminal Justice?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305569 | DOI:
A change of direction: the 1990s

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This chapter describes the abrupt change of direction that occurred in 1992/3 and the approach that the Conservative and Labour governments followed until 2010: the legislative and managerial reforms which were intended to make criminal justice more effective; the commitment to evidence-based policy but with selective use of the evidence that was available. Rising crime meant that more people had direct experience of offences, such as burglary and car crime. Increased fear of crime was fuelled by publicity given to rare but extremely serious offences or instances of persistent offending, and fears over the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. All this was taking place in a wider context of ‘late modernity’ — the fragmentation of communities and relationships; shifting boundaries between the public and private spheres; changing attitudes and expectations towards the role and capacity of the state; globalisation; neoliberal economics; and the increasing significance of race, ethnicity and gender. In criminal justice, its features included changing attitudes to risk; increasing public sensibilities towards crime and the way offenders are treated; and the ‘culture of control’ and the ‘criminal justice state’.

Keywords: managerialism; offender management; punishment; 1990s; crime level; anti-social behaviour; rehabilitation; imprisonment; culture of control; evidence-based policy

Chapter.  6369 words. 

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