Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Abolitionism, according to Stanley Cohen, is a critical thinking movement about criminology, crime, punishment, and criminal law that has been developing in Western Europe since the early 1970s. John Muncie characterizes abolitionism as a knowledge-based movement that seeks to move beyond the essentialist ideas of crime, criminality, and criminal justice to facilitate new critical insights and alternative visions of justice.11 The impetus of the abolitionist movement was dissatisfaction with current crime and criminal justice policy. This discontent was not only with the basic assumptions of criminal justice policies but also with the concrete consequences of criminal justice functioning, according to Louk Hulsman. Abolitionism is based heavily on deconstructionist impulses in the form of the questioning of dominant criminal justice theories and practices. There is no concrete definition of abolitionism. To some, abolition requires doing away with the entire criminal justice system and to others abolition implies the end of penal ...