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End of an Era? Understanding the Contradictions of Criminal Justice Reform

NCJ Number
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science Volume: 664 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2016 Pages: 238-259
Date Published
March 2016
22 pages
This article explores the possibility that neither legislation nor public discourse about crime and punishment policy has dramatically shifted in recent years, and that the cultural dynamics surrounding reform efforts may undermine the prospects of comprehensive sentencing reform.
In assessing these hypotheses, the authors analyzed trends in criminal justice policy reform from 2000 to 2013 and newspaper stories and editorials on criminal justice reform since 2008. Although this analysis found important examples of changing rhetoric and policy, it concludes that these changes do not constitute a "paradigm shift." Rather, they are indicative of a more subtle, complex, and contradictory modification of the way punishment is conceived, discussed, and ultimately enacted. 68 references (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: March 1, 2016