Unthought Thoughts: The Influence of Changing Sensibilities on Penal Policies

Michael Tonry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Fashions in punishment policies and forms vary with changes in sensibilities (as do fashions in the arts, attitudes towards homosexuality, drug use and religious tolerance). Propositions and policies that appear unthinkable in some times become commonplace in others; beliefs and positions that are hotly contested or widely endorsed in some times are forgotten in others. With a bit more modesty, and longer memories, contemporary advocates and policy makers could avoid the worst excesses of their predecessors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-181
Number of pages15
JournalPunishment & Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • fashion
  • imprisonment
  • punishment
  • recidivism
  • sensibilities


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