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Dangerous PoliticsRisk, Political Vulnerability, and Penal Policy$
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Harry Annison

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728603

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728603.001.0001

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Policy Participants and the Limits of the ‘Acceptable Pressure Group’

(p.77) 4 Contestation
Dangerous Politics

Harry Annison

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the ways in which interest groups, parliamentarians, and other concerned organizations attempted to have an effect on politicians’ and officials’ thoughts and actions as regards the unfolding problems relating to the Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence. Concern is seen to revolve around the systemic failings in relation to the IPP sentence; moral concern at the resultant suffering of IPP prisoners; and in-principle resistance to indeterminate sentences. Drawing on the concept of legitimation work, we see the ways in which the need to be seen as ‘responsible’ constrained relevant actors in their efforts. We see that these policy participants, especially parliamentarians and penal reform groups, were realistic about the extent to which such efforts were a ‘game of odds’, being heavily reliant upon ministerial (and Prime Ministerial) reshuffles and resulting government receptiveness to arguments for change under the Westminster tradition.

Keywords:   pressure groups, legitimacy, parliamentarians, contestation

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