Who’s afraid of penal populism? Technocracy and ‘the people’ in the sociology of punishment
Should criminal justice policies be left to the experts? Technocrats are politicians in disguise, Victor Lund Shammas suggests in this recent article in Contemporary Justice Review.
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Many sociologists have favored reducing the sway of democratic influence over punishment policies. However, the historical record suggests that there exists no necessary link between technoratic elitism and moderate penal practices. Instead, populism has on occasion resulted in rehabilitationism and elitism has been associated with retributivism. Apparently neutral instruments of knowledge often conceal the imposition of policies suffused with political preferences and values.