Time for a Paradigm Shift

By Ralph Henham

© 2014 – Routledge

216 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415693660
pub: 2013-08-30
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Hardback: 9780415693653
pub: 2013-09-09
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About the Book

Sentencing is the process through which the legitimacy of punishment is declared and justified. However, it is increasingly portrayed as a social activity which should be more responsive to the pluralistic needs and values of individuals and communities in contemporary society. It will therefore have to adapt to an array of different perceptions of what justice is and how it should be delivered, as well as different sensitivities and emotional responses to sentencing processes and outcomes.

At a time when fundamental questions are being asked about the relevance of existing forms of punishment in contemporary society, Sentencing argues for a profound normative understanding of the relationship between sentencing and its perception by citizens – vital if we are to fully comprehend the nature and significance of punishment, and the particular challenges it faces as a force for social cohesion. Henham explores this theme by focusing on key areas of debate within the field:

  • the treatment of gender and race in sentencing
  • the future role of sentencing in criminal justice governance
  • the development of new criteria for evaluating sentencing within a more socially-inclusive framework.

Henham suggests that a greater focus on the relationship between penal ideology and the impact of sentencing in the wider community is essential for effective future policy-making in this area. Sentencing will be useful for both undergraduate and postgraduate students of law, criminology, criminal justice and sociology, as well as for academics and criminal justice policymakers.


The punishment of citizens is practiced everywhere, but raises substantive normative questions about the justification for sentencing and its distribution. Sentencing provides a terrific exploration of all the major issues covering a wide range with clarity and insight that will benefit students. Ralph Henham offers a critical and fresh perspective on how we might better understand sentencing and how its practice might be improved. —Thom Brooks, Reader in Law, Durham University, Author of Punishment

Table of Contents

Introduction: Time for a Paradigm Shift 1. Sentencing and Social Reality 2. Gender and Sentencing 3. Race and Access to Justice 4. Sentencing Impact and Governance 5. Evaluating Sentencing. Notes. References. Index

About the Author

Ralph Henham is Professor of Criminal Justice at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University and a Visiting Professor in the School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex. Recent publications include Beyond Punishment: Achieving International Criminal Justice (2010, with Mark Findlay), and Sentencing and the Legitimacy of Trial Justice (2011). He is a co-editor of Ashgate’s series on International and Comparative Criminal Justice and an editorial board member of the International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice.

About the Series

Key Ideas in Criminology

Key Ideas in Criminology explores the major concepts, issues, debates and controversies in criminology. The series provides authoritative essays on central topics within the broader area of criminology. Each book adopts a strong individual ‘line’, constituting original essays rather than literature surveys and offers lively and agenda setting treatments of their subject matter.

These books will appeal to students, teachers and researchers in criminology, sociology, social policy, cultural studies, law and political science.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / Sentencing
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General