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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222555 
Title: Punitiveness in Cross-National Comparison: Toward a Historically and Institutionally Grounded Multi-Factorial Approach (From International Perspectives on Punitivity, Volume 4, P 13-31, 2008, Helmut Kury and Theodore N. Ferdinand, eds. -- See NCJ-222554)
Author(s): Joachim J. Savelsberg
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
44797 Bochum,
Sale Source: Universitatsverlag Brockmeyer
Im Haarmannsbusch 112
44797 Bochum,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Survey (Cross-Cultural)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: After examining factors in the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States that have contributed to increased punitiveness by their criminal justice systems in the post-World War II era, this paper notes similarities and differences due to various factors and offers suggestions for theories of social change.
Abstract: The paper concludes that punitive attitudes and practices, especially pronounced in the United States, have been increasing in Europe as well. Changes in crime rates provide only a limited and indirect explanation for this trend. Public attitudes toward crime (anxiety and punitiveness) are cultivated under various cultural postures and values regarding how to control and respond to perceived threats to safety and security. Conservative elites and media policies regarding the frequency and style of reporting on crime may play a major role, particularly in the United States. Conditions of late modernity--i.e., the increased intermingling of people of diverse race/ethnicity, religion, cultural, and national origin--also cultivate fear of change and anxiety about behaviors and beliefs perceived as unacceptable and unwelcome. Although punitive responses to these conditions and changes are not a natural outcome, they are more likely where a mainstream cultural system is embedded and legitimized under religious tenets and a sense of national identity linked to the status quo. Factors contributing to punitive criminal justice policies appear to be more prevalent and intense in the United States than in the Federal Republic of Germany. An appropriate theory of punitive attitudes and practices at the level of nation states must be multifactorial as well as historically and institutionally grounded. 2 figures and 47 references
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Cross-cultural analyses; Cross-cultural comparisons; Germany; History of corrections; Incarceration; Punishment; Sentencing trends; Sentencing/Sanctions; United States of America
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