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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay provides a synthesis of criminological and social welfare theoretical frameworks, along with empirical data illuminating the links between crime policy and welfare policy. It also reviews current debates regarding the extent to which European countries are undergoing a shift toward more punitive welfare or crime policies. Building upon Gøsta Esping-Andersen’s classic typology of welfare regimes, current scholarship ties liberal welfare regimes to punitive penal ideologies and high rates of incarceration and social democratic welfare regimes to lenient attitudes toward punishment and low incarceration rates. Research also underscores the significance of economic and social inequality in the production and outcomes of crime and welfare policies. Comparative empirical data supports the persistence of penal-welfarism in Europe, particularly in social democratic states, exemplified by Sweden, while indicating more punitive policies targeting marginalized sectors of the population, notably immigrants.

Keywords: criminalization, immigration, penal-welfarism, punitive turn, social control, welfare state

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