Securing prison through human rights: unanticipated implications of rights-based penal governance

Armstrong, S. (2018) Securing prison through human rights: unanticipated implications of rights-based penal governance. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 57(3), pp. 401-421. (doi:10.1111/hojo.12270)

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Abstract

Human rights are a dominant framework for regulating prisons. However, there is little critical interrogation of human rights as they are actually translated into tools for governance. This article develops a critique of human rights by analysing and considering policy as a means of realising rights. It urges sustained and ethnographic attention to policy settings, arguing that policy exerts a form of agency. The article revisits critical criminological claims that reform expands penal control, examining this specifically in the context of human rights governance of prisons. To do so, it draws on the anthropology of policy and science and technology studies (STS) suggesting that these fields offer useful tools and insights in the study of policy. In the final part the discussion turns to three examples of human rights issues in the Scottish penal context to problematise rights-driven penal policy and suggest directions for research.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Anthropology of policy, human rights, prisons, science and technology studies (STS), Scotland.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Research Group:Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research
Journal Name:Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0265-5527
ISSN (Online):1468-2311
Published Online:03 September 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Howard League and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 57(3):401-421
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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