Populist Leniency, Crime Control and Due Process

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Abstract

This article identifies and discusses examples of populist calls against punishment and for leniency-a phenomenon here termed 'populist leniency'. A penal moderate might find such populist opposition to punishment superficially appealing. However, drawing from Packer's classic models of the criminal process, it is argued that both populist leniency and penal populism express 'Crime Control' values, the view that the proper role of the criminal process (and criminal justice) is to protect 'law-abiding citizens' from dangerous others. Since 'Crime Control' does not advocate any net reduction in penal power (and if anything, quite the opposite), the article asks whether Packer's other model, 'Due Process', presents a more attractive potential resource for penal moderates, since this model offers a sceptical view of criminal justice, protecting individuals from unconstrained official power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-47
Number of pages17
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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