Theories of Punishment and Imprisonment

This area contains high quality research from around the world focusing on theoretical accounts of the more empirical research covered elsewhere in the Imprisonment Observatory. Criminology, sociology, philosophy, law, and history intersect in the study of imprisonment and key theoretical works that are advancing the understanding and examination of issues pertaining to imprisonment are located here.

Current & recent projects

2016-2018 – Marsden Fund grant award, Intolerable Risks.  The search for security in an age of anxiety

2012-2017 – European Research Council Subjectivity, Identity and Penal Power: Incarceration in a Global Age

2012-2017- European Research Council Incarceration in a Global Age.

2015 – Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Punitiveness in America, funded by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Read about these theories of punishment and imprisonment projects and see our full list of current and recent projects here.

Recent publications

Bosworth, M, Hasselberg, I and Turnbull, S (2016) ‘Imprisonment in a Global World: Rethinking Penal Power‘ in Jewkes, Y, Crewe, B. and Bennett, J. (eds), Handbook of Prisons,  Oxford: Routledge, pp. 698-711.

Crewe, B. (2015) ‘Inside the belly of the penal beast: Understanding the experience of imprisonment’, in Tubex, H. and A. Eriksson (Eds.), The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(1): 50-65.

Crewe, B. and Leibling, A. (2015). ‘Staff culture, authority and prison violence‘, Prison Service Journal, 221: 9-14.

Green, D.A. (2016). Liberty, justice, and all: The folly of doing good by stealth. In A. Dzur, I. Loader and R. Sparks (Eds.) Democratic theory and mass incarceration. Studies in penal theory and philosophy series (pp. 187-212).

Green, D.A. (2015). US penal-reform catalysts, drivers, and prospects. Punishment & Society, 17(3), 271-298.

Green, D.A. (2015, forthcoming) The re-humanization of the incarcerated Other: Bureaucracy, distantiation, and American mass incarceration. In A. Eriksson (Ed.) Punishing the Other (pp. 87-130). London: Routledge.

Goldsmith, A., Halsey, M. & Groves, A. (2015, forthcoming) Tackling Correctional Corruption: Best Practice in Detection and Prevention, London: Palgrave.

Halsey, M. (2016) ‘On Boot-Camps and Wayward Youth‘ in McGarry, R. & Walklate, S. (eds) Handbook of Criminology and War, London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Ievins, A. and Crewe, B. (2015) ‘Nobody’s better than you, nobody’s worse then you’: Social relationships among prisoners convicted of sex offences’Punishment and Society, 17(4): 482-501.

Pratt, J. (2016) Risk, control, rights and legitimacy in the limited liability state, British Journal of Criminology.

Sandberg, S. and Ugelvik, T. (2016). The past, present, and future of narrative criminology: An appraisal and an invitation. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal.  ISSN 1741-6590.

Tubex, H. (2015), ‘Reach and Relevance of Prison Research’. Special Issue The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, (2015).

Tubex, H. (2015) Review of Penal Culture and Hyperincarceration: The revival of the Prison, by Chris Cunneen, Eileen Baldry, David Brown, Mark Brown, Melanie Schwartz and Alex Steel, Punishment and Society

Tubex, H., Brown, D., Freiberg, A., Gelb, K., and Sarre, R. (2015). ‘Penal diversity within Australia‘, Punishment and Society, 17(3): 345-373.

Tubex, H. and Eriksson, A. (2015) ‘Guest editor’s introduction: Challenges of contemporary prison research‘, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4(1): 1-3.

Ugelvik, Thomas (2016). Techniques of Legitimation: The Narrative Construction of Legitimacy among Immigration Detention Officers. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal.  ISSN 1741-6590.

View the full list of recent theories of punishment & imprisonment publications here.


Click here to see our theories of punishment & imprisonment academic research network.