Studying Penal Policy

  • Gemma Birkett
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


A policy can be defined as a course or principle of action adopted by an organisation or individual, and there are multiple ways to examine it. While some scholars are interested in the role of power, others are interested in its development (from formulation to implementation). Some are interested in the formulation of domestic policy while others investigate its influence on an international scale. This book is concerned with the role of ideas in the policy process, and the ways that key policy players work to define what they regard as pressing issues. As such, it views public policy ‘as a form of discourse, whereby the rules of language and the practice and conventions of rhetoric shape public actions’ (John, 2012: 125). It is important to recognise that problem definition is a competitive process, involving increasing numbers of policy actors. Such actors are


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gemma Birkett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyCity, University of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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