chapter  15
20 Pages

The Politics of Carceral Spectacle: Televising Prison Life

ByJennifer Turner

On Monday 5 September 2011, UK Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke released an article in The Guardian newspaper holding the ‘legacy of the broken [British] penal system’ accountable for the actions of a ‘feral underclass’ during the London riots of August 2011. What was striking was that although Clarke described the criminals with highly charged terminology, he held his penal system to blame for the circumstances that led to this riotous behaviour. Clark claimed that over 75 per cent of those aged 18 or over who were brought before the courts had a prior conviction, forcing him and the government to think drastically about not just penal rehabilitation, but education, welfare and family policy, all of which can have serious impacts on propensity to commit crime.