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The crisis of penal populism: prison legitimacy and its effects on women’s prisons in the UK

Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal
Susanna Menis
University of London, London


Considering  the  closure  of  one  of  the  oldest  and  infamous  prisons  in  London,  HM Holloway female prison, and the controversy which had followed the plan concerning the use of the land, this study provides a brief review of the penal policies affecting women’s  prisons  in  the  UK  since  the  1990s.  The  review  draws  attention  to  the  problematic  concept  of  penal  populism  and  how  the  government  has  been  using  the  
prison  system  as  a  pawn  in  their  political  battleground.  Therefore,  it  is  argued  that the failings in the prison system cannot be attributed solely to its nature, but it is also essential to consider the temperament of politics in this area.


penal populism, prison legitimacy, women’s prisons in the UK, HM holloway female prison