Genealogy: How the Public Confidence Agenda Got Its ‘Hooks’ into Criminal Justice

  • Elizabeth R. Turner
Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)


Turner argues that the social and political context from the late 1970s onwards allowed ‘public confidence’ to ‘hook’ into criminal justice discourse. The events and issues described are: (1) revelations about police misconduct and tense police-community relationships; (2) political debates about how to alleviate overcrowding in prisons taking place against the backdrop of Thatcherite authoritarian populism; (3) miscarriages of justice exposed during the late 1980s; (4) intense political contest between the ailing Conservative government and a resurgent Labour opposition during the 1990s; and (5) the debate about sentencing and minimum tariffs for murderers. The idea of public confidence was frequently invoked by groups competing for power and influence within the criminal justice arena, and the researchers themselves, responding to the increased opportunity to disseminate knowledge in this area, were not disinterested participants in the struggle for power and influence.


Public confidence in criminal justice Foucault Genealogy Discourse analysis Politics of criminal justice Penal populism New Labour Miscarriages of justice James Bulger Myra Hindley Michael Howard Tony Blair 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth R. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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