skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 136204 Find in a Library
Title: Penology (From Criminology: A Reader's Guide, P 139-153, 1991, Jane Gladstone, Richard Ericson, et al, eds. -- See NCJ 136200)
Author(s): R V Ericson
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada
Sale Source: University of Toronto
Centre of Criminology
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This essay reviews trends and findings of penological research, and encompasses the sentencing of offenders as well as the policies and practices of managing offenders under sentence.
Abstract: Penologists have been concerned with justifications for the punishment of criminal offenders and whether punishment has utilitarian values, such as inhibiting the person from doing it again (specific deterrence) or discouraging others from engaging in similar behavior (general deterrence). The evaluation of penal measures has focused on whether or not some sanctions are more likely than others to have general deterrent effects or specific deterrent effect. Research on specific deterrence has proliferated in the context of the notion that particular penal sanctions, properly administered, can have "rehabilitative" effects and prevent recidivism. Some penologists deem the concept of rehabilitation to be vacuous, but arguments for the rehabilitative ideal continue, as to sanctions justified as rehabilitative. Penologists have also analyzed the maintenance of order in penal settings, especially the prison. Overall, penology is technocratic, pragmatic, and administrative, but the field has been substantially broadened and enhanced in the past two decades through a heightened interest in the subject by historians and sociologists. Increasingly scholars have focused on the penal system for the understanding it can provide about basic issues in social and political theory such as the role of the State, the dimensions of professionalization and bureaucratization in society, how the penal institution intersects with other institutions in the constitution of society, and the contemporary political significance of punishment in relation to the moral sensibilities it evokes and the level of protection it invokes. 70-item annotated reading list
Main Term(s): Corrections research
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Deterrence; Rehabilitation
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.