Re-thinking the time of punishment: a response to Valverde

Armstrong, S. (2014) Re-thinking the time of punishment: a response to Valverde. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 14(4), pp. 392-398. (doi: 10.1177/1748895814541900)

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This response picks up on Valverde’s call for scholars to excavate contestable assumptions about space and time that are embedded in contemporary security arrangements. It does so by re-visiting the problem of time in punishment, focusing on how time works in sentencing and punishment theory compared to how it is experienced by prisoners. Time is both a central concern and banal quality of contemporary punishment, the most basic and so taken for granted dimension of modernity’s exemplary penal form – imprisonment. Sentencing theory operationalizes time through the principle of proportionality. The proportionality principle employs a uniform measure of time in which all prison sentences (or fine amounts or probation hours) of the same length equate to an identical amount of pain, no matter to whom, how often or in what order they are applied. By contrast, recent research by Armstrong and Weaver on the lived experience of penal time contradicts in almost every way the temporality assumed in proportionality theory. Such findings expose not only asocial assumptions about time but show how empirical work can be relevant to and inform philosophical and normative thinking on punishment.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Time, punishment, proportionality, prison
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Armstrong, Professor Sarah
Authors: Armstrong, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
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:Criminology and Criminal Justice
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1748-8966

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