David Garland, NYU
In the sociology of punishment and comparative penology it has become common to observe critical associations ‘punishment’ and ‘welfare’. In this paper I talk about these associations by exploring the current writing, I provide a critique that the article does not provide adequate insight as far as these relationships are concerned consequently i give my opinion that ,These relationships are neither straightforward nor well understood .they ought to see these relationship in relation to the social problems these policies purportedly address (usually thought of as ‘crime’ and ‘poverty’ respectively) and also in relation to the larger social and economic processes that shape these policies and generate these problems.
Punishment-welfare connection is currently conceptualized in two rather different ways – as a historical relationship and as a comparative correlation. Historical relationship As highlighted by the author gives an historical thesis about the rise and subsequent retrenchment of welfare states and the impact of these welfare state developments on penal policy and criminal justice. This relationship describe how the emergence of welfare states in the UK and the US at the start of the 20th century reshaped ideas of crime causation and criminal responsibility and prompted the development of an array of ‘penal-welfare’ practices, the most important of which were the juvenile court, probation, social inquiry reports, social work with offenders and indeterminate sentencing. Though the author provides explicit information on historical relationships, he does not provide clear information as to how historical relationships have been retrenched and the impact of that retrenchment on criminal justice in the recent years (Baldwin 1990). He author ought to have shown the systematic changes in penal-welfare practices of mid-20th century in America and Britain. Social changes are transitional meaning that current changes link to the previous ones for instance through alteration of behaviors due to interactions or social culture changes. Penal-welfare aspects of criminal justice tend to rise and fall in tandem with the broader social policies of the welfare state. The punishment-welfare connection seems like an obvious one but it has often been overlooked, this is so because of the disciplinary division between the ‘social policy’ literature and ‘criminology.
The aim of comparative correlation is to describe the relationship between the size and generosity of welfare states and the size and severity of penal systems. The author explicitly covered the negative correlation thesis in which nations (or sub-national states) with more generous welfare states tend to exhibit lower per capita imprisonment rates and more lenient and humane penal systems, while jurisdictions with smaller, meaner welfare states are prone to higher rates of imprisonment and more severe sentencing. However, the data and metrics used in comparative studies do not show clearly the conceptions of ‘welfare state’ and ‘penal system’ that these studies employ; and the causal mechanisms that are assumed to underpin the empirical correlations of punishment and welfare.in addition, a greater level of precision and consistency in the use of key terms and concepts would improve analysis and help avoid confusion.
In explaining his facts, the author targeted different forms government and administration, the court system and different groups of people in our society. For instance the author notes that welfare states came to be viewed as an aspect of larger production systems and political economies and were studied within that larger framework (Hall and Soskice 2001). He also argues that ‘welfare population’ and the ‘penal population’ are, particularly in neoliberal America, drawn from the same socio-economic groups – i.e. poor, urban communities of color, with the men in prison, the women on welfare.
Though the language is accessible to a lay reader, there are specific terms used where one may need a dictionary to decode them.it is also apparent that the English is the author’s first language as it is not being read in translation.
The article reviews the literature critically; in a number of areas the author expresses his independent opinions basing them on existing, recent and credible literature, for instance with regard to penal measures, the author argues that, Comparisons between penal systems are decontextualized and distorted if penal measures are discussed without reference to the nature and extent of the patterns of crime and violence that trigger penal processes and (indirectly, to some extent) shape penal policy.
The key literature that the author is building on includes; key literature. For instance the author notes that; a growing body of work has converged around a negative correlation thesis in which nations (or sub-national states) with more generous welfare states tend to exhibit lower per capita imprisonment rates and more lenient and humane penal systems.
Beckett and Western 2001 found out that punishment-welfare correlation, while frequently observed, is by no means unvarying: results vary across time periods. While Cavadino and Dignan 2006 found out that the associations ‘punishment’ and ‘welfare’ is more significant with respect to extreme cases (such as the US and Norway) than it is in the middle range. The author builds on this literature to bring his argument more clearly.
The paper is basically conceptual because it uses the existing facts to describe the associations between ‘punishment’ and ‘welfare’. The problem with this approach is that there is little empirical evidence to support its central thesis.
Abbott, Andrew. ‘Review of L. Wacquant, “Punishing the Poor” American Journal of Sociology. , 116 (4) pp 1356-6000
Baldwin, P. The Politics of Social Solidarity. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).