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Reconstructing the Criminal : Culture, Law, and Policy in England, 1830-1914 - Martin Joel Wiener

Reconstructing the Criminal

Culture, Law, and Policy in England, 1830-1914


Published: 16th January 1995
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This ambitious and imaginative work interprets criminal justice history by relating it to intellectual and cultural history. Starting from the assumption that policies and statutes originate in a society's values and norms, the author skillfully and persuasively demonstrates how changes in criminal law and penal practice were related to the changing values of early, mid, and late Victorian and Edwardian society. Wiener traces changes in the criminal justice system by examining the treatment of offenders. During the Victorian period the system became more punitive and then reformed to be more welfarist. This work offers insight into the contemporary Anglo-American penal system. In addition, Wiener's wide-ranging discussion of issues, most notably of free will versus determinism, sheds light on a broad range of Victorian history, beyond crime and punishment.

'This account of the penal law and the penal system in Victorian England is worked out with great care and an abundance of documentation ... Martin Wiener has illuminated a major aspect of the moral and social revolution of our own time.' Gertrude Himmelfarb, The Times Literary Supplement 'Reconstructing the Criminal is valuable addition to our stock of knowledge about nineteenth-century penality. It is an original and important work, refreshingly free of jargon, and based on prodigious historical research.' Piers Beirne, Contemporary Sociology 'Martin J. Wiener's book provides an intellectual framework for understanding the varieties and complexities of the topic by considering attitudes and actions in their cultural settings. Borrowing methods from literature and using a wide range of sources, Wiener gives coherence to the practices of nineteenth-century penology and a foundation to those of the twentieth century.' E. M. Palmegiano, American Historical Review

Introduction: criminal policy as cultural change
The origins of Victorianism: impulse and motivation
Victorian criminal policy I: reforming the law
Victorian criminal policy II: reformed punishment
A changing human image
Late Victorian social policy - a changing context
The demoralizing of criminality
Prosecution and sentencing: the erosion of moral discourse
Disillusion with the prison
The outcome: social debility and positive punishment
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521478823
ISBN-10: 0521478820
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 404
Published: 16th January 1995
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.37 x 15.39  x 2.57
Weight (kg): 0.6