The violence of incarceration: a response from mainland Europe
The publication of The Violence of Incarceration, a collectionof essays on imprisonment and state violence in the US, UK andAustralia, edited by Phil Scraton and Jude McCulloch, providesan opportunity to reflect on the steady convergence of mainlandEurope s penal policies with those of the US. This convergenceundermines any notion of a European moral high ground in relationto incarceration and reflects a general trend among westernstates of increasing acceptability of violence, war and eventorture as solutions to social and political problems. Fromthis perspective, the cruelties at Guantánamo and AbuGhraib are not isolated examples of excess but, rather, havemuch in common with everyday practices in domestic US and Europeanprisons; the focus of this article is this wider structuralshift in incarceration practices, linked to, but going far beyond,the‘war on terror’.
Key Words: cruel and inhuman treatment • penal policy • state violence • war on terror • youth violence