Focusing on three key stages of the criminal justice process, discipline, punishment and desistance, and incorporating case studies from Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia, the thirteen chapters in this collection are based on exciting new research that explores the evolution and adaptation of criminal justice and penal systems, largely from the early nineteenth century to the present. They range across the disciplinary boundaries of History, Criminology, Law and Penology.

Journeying into and unlocking different national and international penal archives, and drawing on diverse analytical approaches, the chapters forge new connections between historical and contemporary issues in crime, prisons, policing and penal cultures, and challenge traditional Western democratic historiographies of crime and punishment and categorisations of offenders, police and ex-offenders.

The individual chapters provide new perspectives on race, gender, class, urban space, surveillance, policing, prisonisation and defiance, and will be essential reading for academics and students engaged in the study of criminal justice, law, police, transportation, slavery, offenders and desistance from crime.

chapter |16 pages


part I|96 pages


chapter 1|17 pages

‘Insufficiently cruel' or ‘simply inefficient’?

Discipline, punishment and reform in the Gold Coast prison system, c. 1850–1957

chapter 2|15 pages

‘Who's really wicked and immoral, women or men?’

Uneasy classifications, Hindu gender roles and infanticide in late nineteenth-century India

chapter 3|15 pages

At “war against our institutions”

Policing and punishment in the slave cities of the United States and Brazil

chapter 4|14 pages

‘Thank goodness Habeas Corpus did not run in Nahud'

Bifurcated systems of policing in Condominium Sudan, 1898–c.1956

chapter 5|18 pages

Policing in Hong Kong and Macau

Transformations from the colonial era to special administrative region

chapter 6|15 pages

“A holy panic”

Race, surveillance and the origins of the war on drugs in Britain, 1915–1918

part II|49 pages


chapter 7|12 pages

Austria's penal colonies

Facts and visions 1

chapter 8|17 pages

Punishment and parade

The cultural form of penal exile in Russia

chapter 9|18 pages

“A perfect hell of misery”

Real and imagined prison lives in an “American Siberia”

part III|67 pages


chapter 10|19 pages

‘What is a man that is a bolter to do? I would steal the Governor's axe rather than starve’

Old lags and recidivism in the Tasmanian penal colony

chapter 11|18 pages

On licence

Understanding punishment, recidivism and desistance in penal policy, 1853–1945

chapter 12|15 pages

‘Whose prisoners are these anyway?'

Church, state and society partnerships and co-production of offender ‘resocialisation' in Brazil

chapter 13|13 pages

Recoverers helping recoverers

Discipline and peer-facilitated rehabilitation in Brazilian faith-based prisons