Nick JONES, Rick RUDDELL, John WINTERDYK, Crime, Political Economy, and Imprisonment: A Cross-National Analysis

Abstract: There is increasing interest in better understanding the economic, social, political, and crime‑related factors associated with the use of imprisonment. This research includes a number of these factors in an examination of the use of imprisonment in the 100 richest nations. Consistent with prior empirical work we find that nations with common law justice systems, as well as countries with abolitionist capital punishment practices have a greater reliance upon imprisonment. Nations with higher homicide rates also had a greater use of imprisonment. With respect to broader social and political factors, countries that had less social unrest had a greater use of imprisonment, as did nations with higher levels of political power struggles, political competition and flawed elections. These findings add to a growing body of cross‑national research that has increased our understanding of the use of punishment. Implications for theoretical development are described.

Keywords: cross‑national research, imprisonment, punishment

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