What are the various forces influencing the role of the prison in late modern societies? What changes have there been in penality and use of the prison over the past 40 years that have led to the re-valorization of the prison? Using penal culture as a conceptual and theoretical vehicle, and Australia as a case study, this book analyses international developments in penality and imprisonment. Authored by some of Australia’s leading penal theorists, the book examines the historical and contemporary influences on the use of the prison, with analyses of colonialism, post colonialism, race, and what they term the ’penal/colonial complex,’ in the construction of imprisonment rates and on the development of the phenomenon of hyperincarceration. The authors develop penal culture as an explanatory framework for continuity, change and difference in prisons and the nature of contested penal expansionism. The influence of transformative concepts such as ’risk management’, ’the therapeutic prison’, and ’preventative detention’ are explored as aspects of penal culture. Processes of normalization, transmission and reproduction of penal culture are seen throughout the social realm. Comparative, contemporary and historical in its approach, the book provides a new analysis of penality in the 21st century.