Sociology Index


Penology is the study of the treatment and punishment of criminal offenders. Penology is now included within crime and criminology. Penology, from Latin poena for punishment, comprises penitentiary science concerned with the processes devised and adopted for the punishment, repression, and prevention of crime, and the treatment of prisoners. Penology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the prevention and punishment of crime and within the penal system. Retribution is now used exclusively to refer to punishment deserved because of an offence and which fits the severity of the offence. Criticisms of the binary modern and new penology model has led to the contemporary understanding of penality through a threefold model of: punishment-punitive, rehabilitative-humanistic and managerial-surveillant discourses.

Penology and Social Control: An Empirical Assessment
Over the past several decades, a series of important theoretical studies of penal control have appeared in the literature. Prominent examples include Cohen’s 1985 Visions of Control, Feeley and Simon’s 1992 “The New Penology” and Garland’s 2001 The Culture of Control. Notably absent from this theoretical literature has been compelling empirical evidence. Rather, by providing support for their arguments, the studies have relied upon published materials that have been highly selective, incomplete and discontinuous. The primary empirical question addressed is what has occurred with U.S. penal control over the past 36 years? The study employs data reflecting annual trends in U.S. rates of incapacitation or incarceration and other forms of community penal strategies from 1970 to 2006. - Blomberg, Tom., Bales, William, Mann, Karen.

GPS-Electronic Monitoring and Contemporary Penology: A Case Study of US GPS-Electronic Monitoring Programmes - Ryan Cotter, Willem De Lint. Abstract: Criminologists have noted a significant reorientation of criminal justice policy. Initially this reorientation was most dramatically articulated by Feeley and Simon (1992), who suggested that penality has shifted from the modern to new penology. This research represents an empirically-based attempt to locate GPS-electronic monitoring within this threefold model.

The Impact of the "New Penology" on intensive supervised probation ISP - Gerald J. Bayens, Michael W. Manske, John Ortiz Smykla. This article provides a critique of Feeley and Simon's claim (1992) that a new transformation in penology is emerging in the United States, vis-a-vis McCorkle and Crank's position (1996) that the transformation is more rhetoric than reality. Data were collected for a 60-day study period, initially to assess intensive supervised probation (ISP) workloads as well as the attitudes of criminal justice work groups toward ISP in "Midwestern County." It was found that in no case did the high-supervision group receive the highest amount of supervision resources per capita. We offer a caveat, however, in terms of risk assessment and of the nature and quality of an ISP officer's supervision.

Privatization and New Penology: How Profit Shapes Punishment in the Public Prison - McCorkel Jill. Abstract: Research on the privatization of punishment has focused almost exclusively on the emergence of private prisons, prisons that are designed, managed, and operated by private companies and funded through contracts with federal, state, and local governments. Privatization, however, is a far broader phenomenon than this. Private companies are increasingly present in public prisons, providing a large array of services and technologies. This ethnographic research documents the impact of private vendors on the public prison, with a particular focus on how privatization changed both the logic and practice of punishment, and manufactured demand for new forms of social control.

Blomberg, Thomas and Stanley Cohen (eds.). (2003). Punishment and social control. (2nd edition). NY:Aldine de Gruyter.

Blomberg, Thomas and Karol Lucken. (2000). American Penology. NY: Aldine de Gruyter.