About politics and making choices in crime control policy

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Since the mid-1990s criminologists have been increasingly critical about political decision-making in crime control. More specifically, they began focusing on the emergence of populism, which, according to Roberts et al (2003), refers to discourses in which the electoral advantage of a policy takes precedence over its effectiveness. Criminologists usually counter or mitigate populism by promoting a better balance between accountability on the one hand and effective crime control policies on the other. In this paper, however, we argue that the problem of political decision-making lies elsewhere. What politicians experience, and increasingly so, is a loss of autonomy to define and settle issues in society because (i) politics is fragmented and displaced to fields that are usually not considered to be “political”, (ii) political decision-making is heteronomous, and (iii) political choices are very sensitive to recontextualization so that they are challenged more easily.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)69-85
JournalPanopticon: Tijdschrift voor Strafrecht, Criminologie en Forensisch Welzijnswerk
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2020

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