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The penal voluntary sector

Tomczak, Philippa


Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice


The penal voluntary sector and the relationships between punishment and charity are more topical than ever before. In recent years in England and Wales, the sector has featured significantly in both policy rhetoric and academic commentary. Penal voluntary organisations are increasingly delivering prison and probation services under contract, and this role is set to expand. However, the diverse voluntary organisations which comprise the sector, their varied relationships with statutory agencies and the effects of such work remain very poorly understood.

This book provides a wide-ranging and rigorous examination of this policy-relevant but complex and little studied area. It explores what voluntary organisations are doing with prisoners and probationers, how they manage to undertake their work, and the effects of charitable work with prisoners and probationers. The author uses original empirical research and an innovative application of actor-network theory to enable a step change in our understanding of this increasingly significant sector, and develops the policy-centric accounts produced in the last decade to illustrate how voluntary organisations can mediate the experiences of imprisonment and probation at the micro and macro levels.

Demonstrating how the legacy of philanthropic work and neoliberal policy reforms over the past thirty years have created a complex three-tier penal voluntary sector of diverse organisations, this cutting-edge interdisciplinary text will be of interest to criminologists, sociologists of work and industry, and those engaged in the voluntary sector.


Tomczak, P. (2016). The penal voluntary sector. London: Routledge

Book Type Authored Book
Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2016
Publication Date Oct 24, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2018
Publisher Routledge
Series Title Routledge Frontiers of Criminal Justice
Series Number 40
ISBN 9781138189829
Public URL
Publisher URL