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The Conservative Party and social policy$
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Hugh Bochel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847424334

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847424334.001.0001

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Crime and criminal justice

Crime and criminal justice

(p.215) twelve Crime and criminal justice
The Conservative Party and social policy

Mike Hough

Policy Press

This chapter reviews the key thrust of criminal justice policy over the last 30 years and then turns to ‘read the runes’ to see what sorts of continuity or discontinuity can be expected. In criminal justice policy, one can differentiate clearly between the period from 1979 to 1992, when the Conservatives pursued a surprisingly liberal set of policies, and the period from 1993 to 2010, when the main parties seemed consistently locked in a competition to ‘out-tough’ each other on law and order. Moreover, the questions on penal populism and the ‘war on crime’, centralisation and responsiveness to local preferences, and rehabilitation revolution are addressed. This discussion of the Coalition's policies on criminal justice is inevitably tentative. It is too early to speak with any certainty, but it seems just possible that the fortuitous collision of a Coalition government and a fiscal crisis may benefit justice politics.

Keywords:   criminal justice policy, penal populism, crime, rehabilitation revolution, Conservatives, Coalition government, local preferences

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