This book explores the concept of punishment: its meaning and significance, not least to those subject to it; its social, political and emotional contexts; its role in the criminal justice system; and the difficulties of bringing punishment to an end. It explores how levels of criminal punishment could and should be reduced, without compromising moral standards, public safety or the rights of victims of crime.
Core contents include:
- Why punishment matters, the salience of emotions in its various discourses and the role of culture.
- The politicisation of punishment and legitimacy.
- The penal system, the prominence of the prison in research on punishment and the role of community sanctions.
- The aims of punishment, its limits and the role of power.
- The ethics of punishment and human rights.
- Punishment and social order.
This book is essential reading for all criminologists, as well as students taking courses on punishment, penology, prisons and the criminal justice system.
Introduction, 1.The Meanings of Punishment, 2.Theories of Punishment, 3.The Institutions and Practices of Punishment, 4.Being Punished, 5.The Ends of Punishment, Conclusion
Rob Canton’s book ‘Punishment’ somehow manages to be both erudite and engaging; both succinct and surprisingly comprehensive. Canton traverses and connects criminological, philosophical and sociological thinking about punishment — as well as drawing the reader closer to its realities in practice and as a lived experience. But there is more here than an elegant synthesis of all of these kinds of knowledge; there is also a series of wise challenges and cautions about when, how and why we punish, and with what consequences -- not just for those directly concerned, but for the kinds of societies we wish to construct, inhabit and develop. I thoroughly recommend this excellent book to anyone who cares about these questions; and we all ought to care about these questions!
Fergus McNeill, Professor of Criminology & Social Work, University of Glasgow
Over the past centuries countless books have been published on punishment. However, most authors write exclusively from one angle, that is, they approach state punishment as a legal, philosophical, historical, psychological or sociological problem, puzzle or panacea. Few have been able to accomplish what Professor Rob Canton, one of Europe’s most astute observers of punishment, does in this fairly short yet highly readable text: Canton offers the reader a truly multidisciplinary coverage of the complex, troubling, colourful and fascinating practice of punishment in its various contemporary forms, from the modern prison to probation, from electronic monitoring to monetary sanctions.
Tom Daems, Professor of Criminology, Leuven Institute of Criminology, KU Leuven, Belgium
Rob Canton's Punishment is an intensely thoughtful and beautifully written contribution that reflects its author's long and deep practical and scholarly engagements with the subject. Canton is always lucid, never dogmatic. His account continually reminds us of the ethical and emotional complexities of this troubling topic. Punishment deserves to be read widely and closely by students and practitioners alike.
Richard Sparks, Professor of Criminology, University of Edinburgh