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Populism, Conservatism and the Politics of Parole in England and Wales

Annison, Harry; Guiney, Thomas


Harry Annison


Reform of the parole system has emerged as the cause célèbre of a resurgent law and order politics. Successive governments have seized upon the symbolic power of parole to demonstrate ‘toughness’ with respect to violent and sexual offending, to express solidarity with the victims of crime and reaffirm a populist credo that purportedly stands in opposition to an unaccountable and out of touch penal elite. Published in March 2022, the Ministry of Justice Root and Branch Review of the Parole System represents a continuation of this well-rehearsed political strategy, but arguably goes further than ever before in its willingness to dispense with established norms, rules and practices. This article surveys the contemporary politics of parole in England and Wales and reflects upon what these developments reveal about the shifting contours of a creeping authoritarian conservatism premised upon nostalgia, nationalism and the projection of a strong, centralised state.


Annison, H., & Guiney, T. (2022). Populism, Conservatism and the Politics of Parole in England and Wales. Political Quarterly,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 15, 2022
Publication Date Jul 15, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 18, 2022
Journal The Political Quarterly
Print ISSN 0032-3179
Electronic ISSN 1467-923X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Sociology and Political Science
Public URL
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