‘the Concept of Punitivity Is a Defining One for Contemporary Social Welfare and Crime Control. Discuss.’

‘The concept of punitivity is a defining one for contemporary social welfare and crime control. Discuss.’
Punitivity is the supported ‘toughening up’ of punishment systems. This essay explores the concept of punitivity in terms of its relationship with approaches to social welfare and crime control, and will highlight the entanglements between social welfare and crime control responses. It will explore the apparent drift towards punitivity in these policy arenas through supporting notions of criminalization, juridification, preventative partnerships, responsibiliation and risk management. This essay also incorporates a review of Lacey’s article: Differentiating among penal states (Lacey, 2010) which assesses Wacquant’s book Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (2009). Lacey critically analyses   Wacquant’s claims of the ‘Americanization’ of penal states, and his arguments of a continuing global drift towards punitivity in crime and welfare policy arenas, formed by the collusion between global ruling agents.
Threats to security in the U.K. and other Western states since the latter part of the 20th Century, such as immigration, relaxed restrictions in labour markets, growing culture of over-consumerism and the breakdown of family and community, brought about significant changes to the ways in which people react to their social circumstances. Increased criminal activity generated by poverty and exclusion together with resentment of the unequal distribution of wealth and resources by the powerful, have heightened people’s feelings of insecurity. In addition, the state’s retraction of social welfare support and subsequent movement towards responsibilisation has resulted in people’s insecurity and confusion in terms of their status within society. Responses to the resentment caused by tensions between social inclusion and exclusion, have led to the mobilisation of punitive elements within policy responses.   This has been particularly...