‘Resisting the New Punitiveness’ is a chapter from Global Perspectives on People, Process, and Practice in Criminal Justice, a book published in 2021 in the USA by IGI Global (Advances in Criminology Series) and edited by Liam Leonard.
This chapter builds on PhD research into the penal policies of Nordic countries and in particular Denmark, Finland, and Norway. Essentially, the investigation asked whether the increase in punitiveness in relation to prison systems that is presumed to occur under the ‘culture of control’ of late modernity can be found in these countries. The scale of imprisonment, the ‘depth’ of imprisonment, and the perception of the person imprisoned were all examined. The prison systems were investigated through analysis of documentation and recorded interviews with key personnel, supplemented by visits to a representative range of prisons. While there have at times been some signs of ‘new punitiveness’, especially in Denmark and Norway, in general it can be said that none of the Nordic countries have followed the path predicted by David Garland. Ireland, however, made its penal system more punitive in recent decades, prioritising ‘control’ over ‘care’ and providing support now ‘for the few rather than the many’.