Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Pat O'Malley (University of Sydney, Faculty of Law) has posted Theorizing Fines (Punishment and Society, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2009) on SSRN. It documents the difference in the use of fines in the U.S. and in Europe and traces that difference to the previous dominance of the rehabilitative perspective in U.S. thought and the perceived weakness of fines as a means to achieve rehabilitation. It also critiques a Marxist take on when and where one might expect to see fines employed. All in all, an interesting read.
Here is the abstract:
Given their central place as a sanction in criminal justice, the virtual absence of a theoretical literature on them is a serious deficit. The paper reviews the principal contributions to date, and argues that they suffer from a misleading conviction that sanctions are driven by production relations. To begin with, this seriously underestimates the impact of penal discourses and practice, which can better account for variations in the rise, uneven distribution and recent decline in fines' dominance as a punishment. Equally important is the failure to consider the nexus between the rise of the modern regulatory fine (for example 'on the spot' fines) and the rise of consumer societies.