Law and order issues have become a staple of public debate and electoral politics in most Western societies. It sometimes seems that electoral campaigns have become political auctions in which the competing parties and candidates seek to outbid each other in terms of who is toughest on law and order. In the UK Tony Blair’s New Labour won the 1997 election in part because of its tough law and order policy (Bottomley et al. 1998). It subsequently issued several White Papers, including its Justice for All White Paper (Home Office 2002), and introduced fourteen Bills addressing the ‘crime problem’. In the USA the elevation of George W. Bush to the White House in 2000 rested on his reputation as someone who had been tough on crime when he was the Governor of Texas, signified in part by his willingness to not exercise clemency on behalf of inmates of Death Row. As David Garland (1996: 460) observes, contemporary politicians are nowadays moved easily to ‘make punitive pronouncements’ so as ‘to express popular feelings of rage and frustration in the wake of particularly disturbing crimes’. These tabloid reactions rely on what he calls ‘a criminology of the alien other which represents criminals as dangerous members of distinct racial and social groups which bear little resemblance to “us”’ (1996: 461).