Capitalist state and the penal practice: the case of early release on licence
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This thesis constitutes a theoretical and empirical study of early release on licence (parole) as an instance of penal practice, from a perspective which is based on a certain 'radical ' problematic derived from the Marxist social theory. More specifically, it tries to exolore the ambiguous nature of this penal measure, the inherent antagonism between its liberating (early release) and restraining (on licence) elements, and the conditions under which either element becomes dominant, as well as specify, at various levels of analysis, its main repressive, ideological and other functions and multidimensional importance for both the penal system in general, as a cardinal component of the repressive state apparatus, and the capitalist state itself, as the guarantor of the existing order, the framework of reproduction of the capitalist relations of.product ion, and the basic protector of the ruling and powerful class 'in the last analysis'. However, far from taking early release on licence as an isolated fact of penal practice operating within a social and historical vacuum, as most traditional penological studies, the present work attempts to show that the various types of early release on licence, examined here, have been not only historically linked with certain punishments immediately preceding them, like transportation or incarceration, but also determined by the socio-economic, political and ideological conditions prevailing in certain capitalist societies and states in concrete and historically determinate conjunctions. More than being sociological this thesis is also historical, not in the sense of studying the development of the 'idea' or the 'institution' of early release on licence from its 'origin' to the present moment, in a linear process of evolution and 'progress', but in the sense of examining concrete types of early release on licence within their concrete penal and social contexts as autonomous and unique objects of analysis. Thus, here are examined: 'ticket of leave' in Australia in the late eighteenth century, 'licence to be at large' as an integral Dart of the famous Irish Convict system of the 1850s, 'indenture' from the American Houses of Refuge in the 1820s, 'parole' in the Elmira reformatory as an important component of the 'reformatory movement' in post- Civil War America and 'release on licence' in modern Britain as an expression of the 'treatment' ideology and the welfare state. The thesis ends with a critique of early release on licence and penal practice as a whole, and proposes instead of piecemeal penal reformism radical changes in the social structure as the only way of tackling the problems of crime and punishment in capitalist society.