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Political systems and criminal justice: the prisoners' dilemma after the coalition

Lacey, Nicola (2012) Political systems and criminal justice: the prisoners' dilemma after the coalition. Current Legal Problems, 65 (1). pp. 203-239. ISSN 0070-1998

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Identification Number: 10.1093/clp/cus002


In this article, building on an argument sketched in my The Prisoners' Dilemma (2008), I explore the ways in which the institutional structure of political systems shapes the politics of criminal justice. In particular, I set out an argument as to why coalition politics might be thought, other things being equal, to facilitate stability and moderation in criminal justice policy. In the second part of the article, I examine some recent case studies in the impact of coalition politics on criminal justice policy-making, and show how a close analysis of the move to proportional representation in New Zealand and Scotland, and the unusual period of coalition government at Westminster, refines our understanding of the ways in which institutional arrangements such as the electoral system, the party system and the dynamics of bargaining under conditions of coalition government affect the environment for criminal justice policy-making. In the final section, I engage in some predictions about the likely fate of penal moderation under coalition politics in England and Wales.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 09:33
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 14:34

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