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Sex Panic and the Punitive State$
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Roger Lancaster

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520255654

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520255654.001.0001

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Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance

Crime and Punishment in the Punitive State

(p.141) CHAPTER 5 Zero Tolerance
Sex Panic and the Punitive State

Roger N. Lancaster

University of California Press

Punitive governance involves a dramatic shift in long-standing liberal ideas about the burden of proof. The entrenchment of punitive practices at the center of governance today poses a striking challenge to the progressive story line. Punitiveness and preemption have progressively redefined practices in an array of fields. Punitive justice expresses anger, resentment, or vindictiveness, in contrast to preventative, reformative, or restorative ideals. The carceral state is a type of political organization in which three conditions are obtained. First, incarceration becomes the preferred sanction for a growing number of infractions. Second, official bureaucracies and civil society collude to intensify enforcement, enhance penalties, and keep the prison system growing. Third, a bloated prison system begins to supply norms for other institutions of government.

Keywords:   carceral state, incarceration, punitive governance, punitive justice, punishment

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