chapter  9
Afterword: abolishing the architecture and alphabet of fear
Pages 8

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts covered in the preceding chapters of this book. The history of imprisonment in the US and UK is a broadly shared history, with each country exporting penal philosophies and practices to the other, and in both nations crime and security have become the major battlegrounds on which political entrepreneurs have staked their power. Since The Politics of Abolition was first published in 1974, the number of prisoners in the United States has risen by 500" and the number of US prisons has more than tripled, from 600 to nearly 2,000. So it is that the UK government is pursuing an oxymoronic policy of providing more prisoner places while saving money to the public purse. Thomas Mathiesen points out in this volume, societies with relatively little political participation, and low levels of trust and confidence in their political institutions and in each other, are more prone to rely on imprisonment.