11 April 2019

BOOK: Victor BAILEY, The Rise and Fall of the Rehabilitative Ideal, 1895-1970 (London: Routledge, 2019). ISBN 9780367077112, £39.99

(Source: Routledge)

Routledge is publishing a new book on penal policy and practice in England and Wales between 1895-1970.


Spanning almost a century of penal policy and practice in England and Wales, this book is a study of the long arc of the rehabilitative ideal, beginning in 1895, the year of the Gladstone Committee on Prisons, and ending in 1970, when the policy of treating and training criminals was very much on the defensive.

Drawing on a plethora of source material, such as the official papers of mandarins, ministers, and magistrates, measures of public opinion, prisoner memoirs, publications of penal reform groups and prison officers, the reports of Royal Commissions and Departmental Committees, political opinion in both Houses of Parliament and the research of the first cadre of criminologists, this book comprehensively examines a number of aspects of the British penal system, including judicial sentencing, law-making, and the administration of legal penalties. In doing so, Victor Bailey expertly weaves a complex and nuanced picture of punishment in twentieth-century England and Wales, one that incorporates the enduring influence of the death penalty, and will force historians to revise their interpretation of twentieth-century social and penal policy.

This detailed and ground-breaking account of the rise and fall of the rehabilitative ideal will be essential reading for scholars and students of the history of crime and justice and historical criminology, as well as those interested in social and legal history.


Victor Bailey was Director of the Hall Center for the Humanities from 2000 to 2017 and the Charles W. Battey Distinguished Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kansas, USA.


Introduction: The Rehabilitative Ideal
1. English Prisons and Penal Culture, 1895-1922
2. Judges, the Tariff and the Abatement of Imprisonment, 1895-1922
3. War, Inter-War and the Decreasing Prison Population, 1914-1939
4. Prisons, Prisoners, and Penal Reform, 1922-1938
5. The Persistent Offender, 1908-1939
6. War and Criminal Justice Legislation, 1938-1948
7. Labour Government, Abolition and the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, 1945-1953
8. Penal Practice in a Changing Society
9. Homicide Act, 1957: the Politics of Capital Punishment
10. The High-Water Mark of Rehabilitation, 1964-1966
11. Royal Commission on the Penal System, 1964-1966
12. Abolition of the Death Penalty
Epilogue: The Retributive Turn

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