Thinking about Punishment: Penal Policy Across Space, Time and Discipline, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Thinking about Punishment

Penal Policy Across Space, Time and Discipline, 1st Edition

By Michael Tonry


554 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780754629054
pub: 2009-12-16
SAVE ~$40.50

FREE Standard Shipping!


Thinking about Punishment pulls together the key writings by Michael Tonry on penal policy trends in western countries, racial and ethnic disparities, and sentencing policies, practices, and theories. Recent research in the past few decades shows that these topics are inextricably interrelated. Tonry argues that the distinct historical and cultural characteristics of a country offer the best explanation of national patterns of punishment at any one time, and over time. More general theories and models fall apart when applied to individual national experiences. In the United States, the key factors explaining both penal policy trends and sentencing patterns and policies include historical patterns of race relations, obsolete constitutional arrangements, moral attitudes related to the continental expansion of the United States and the country's fundamentalist Protestant religious origins. Comparable - but different - characteristics explain other countries' experiences. This excellent collection of Michael Tonry's work is essential reading for anyone interested in penal policy and criminal justice.


'… a valuable contribution to any public library shelf and of value to anyone interested in the development of contemporary penal thinking.' Prison Service Journal 'It is worth reflecting on the sheer breadth of the contributions here…this impressive book' International Criminal Law Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part I Race and Ethnicity: Malign neglect; Ethnicity, crime and immigration; The malign effects of drugs and crime control policies on black Americans, (with Matthew Melewski). Part II Comparative Penal Policy: Symbol, substance and severity in Western penal policies; Punishment policies and patterns in Western countries; Determinants of penal policies. Part III American Penal Policy: Sense and sensibility in American penal culture; Cycles and sensibilities; Emerging explanations of American punishment policies. Part IV Sentencing Policy: Sentencing reform in America (with Norval Morris); Mandatory penalties; Sentencing matters; Purposes and functions of sentencing. Part V Punishment Theory: Interchangeability of punishments in principle; Proportionality, parsimony, and interchangeability of punishments; Obsolescence and immanence in penal theory and policy. Name Index.

About the Author

Michael Tonry is Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of Minnesota, USA

About the Series

Pioneers in Contemporary Criminology

Pioneers in Contemporary Criminology

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General