Contemporary issues of criminal policy

Prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Krajewski

 Contemporary issues of criminal policy

S p e c i a l  c o u r s e

Summer semester

Academic year 2018/2019

30 h. of lecture (5 ECTS)



  1. Concepts of crime control policy, criminal policy, and penal policy, and relation between them. Narrow and broad understanding of criminal policy: is criminal policy identical with penal policy? Repression and prevention as basic strategies of the broadly understood criminal policy. Basic preventive strategies: the concepts of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.
  2. Basic concepts regarding penal policy (penology): retrospective vs. prospective theories of punishment, and retributive vs. preventive theories of punishment. Concepts of just deserts, individual and general prevention. Deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation as possible forms of individual prevention. Negative (deterrence) and the so called ‘positive’ forms of general prevention
  3. Basic theoretical concepts of penal and criminal policy, and their criminological foundations: criminal policy implications of classical, positivist, critical and neoclassical or conservative criminology. Controversies regarding the role of repression and prevention in criminal policy: ‘kind of environment’ paradigm in positivist criminology, and the birth of the broad concept of criminal policy. Neoclassical and conservative criticism of the criminological positivism and its criminal policy implications in the USA: return to the narrow understanding of the criminal policy and its consequences.
  4. Contemporary tendencies of crime control policies. The punitive turn or the new punitiveness on the example of the USA. Deterrence and incapacitation as basic sentencing strategies on the example of ‘three strikes and you are out’ policy. The phenomenon of ‘mass imprisonment’ and controversies on the relation between imprisonment rate and crime rate. Crime drop in America during the 1990s and its causes.
  5. New policing strategies: policing between repression and prevention. Reactive and proactive policing strategies. ‘Broken windows theory’ and its implications for policing and criminal policy. New York and ‘zero tolerance’ strategy: its consequences and effectiveness. Why crime dropped in New York city during the 1990s? Problem oriented policing, or community policing as alternatives to ‘zero tolerance’ policing.
  6. New punitiveness in Europe: the impact of American tendencies and experience on continental Europe and United Kingdom: did crime control policies in Europe became more punitive during the recent 20 – 30 years? Comparison of basic data regarding sentencing severity in European countries. Is it possible to speak about European model of crime control policies?
  7. Development of criminal policy in Poland under the communist regime, and during the recent twenty years, against the background of the situation in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Is Europe divided by two different penal climates?
  8. Basic factors influencing differences in the severity of penal policy between countries. M.Cavadino and J.Dignan: political economy and punishment. T.Lappi-Seppälä: trust, welfare and political culture and differences in national penal policies. M.Tonry: risk and protective factors of punitive penal policies.
  9. Criminal and penal policies as subject of social theory. Traditional concepts of the sociology of punishment: E.Durkheim, G.Rusche and O.Kirchheimer, M.Foucault.
  10. Contemporary concepts of penal change. D.Garland: the crisis of the sovereign state and culture of control. J.Pratt and penal populism. L.Wacquant and control of the poor.


Written exam requiring brief answers to three questions regarding problems discussed during the course.


May 29th (Wednesday – early bird only for Erasmus students), June 18th (Tuesday), June 25th (Tuesday), June 27th (Thursday), September 12th (Thursday), at 14:00 – 15:00.


T1_Information on the course [2019]

T2_Basic concepts related to penology [2019]

T3_Basic concepts related to criminal policy [2019]

T4_Dilemas of contemporary criminal policy [2019]

T5_Punishment and crime [2019]

T6_criminal policy in Europe [2019]

T7_Explanations of punitivity [2019]