Pervasive Punishment in a Pandemic

The Criminal Justice Stream, led by Ryan Casey, published an article in the Probation Journal. (Online First, 2021)

Abstract: In this paper, we draw on data from a recent study of how Covid-19 and related restrictions impacted on vulnerable and/or marginalised populations in Scotland (Armstrong and Pickering, 2020), including justice-affected people (i.e. people in prison and under supervision, their families and those that work with them; see Gormley et al., 2020). Focusing here mainly on interviews with people released from prison and others under community-based criminal justice supervision, we explore how the pandemic impacted on their experiences. Reflecting upon and refining previous analyses of how supervision is experienced as ‘pervasive punishment’ (McNeill, 2019), we suggest that both the pandemic and public health measures associated with its suppression have changed the ‘pains’ and ‘gains’ of supervision (Hayes, 2015), in particular, by exacerbating the ‘suspension’ associated with it. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for the pursuit of justice in the recovery from Covid-19.

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