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The prevalence of criminal offending in England and Wales, its causes, the harms that result, and what can be done to counter it, have been in the forefront of public policy concerns throughout the second half of the twentieth century.
The differing ways in which successive governments and policy-makers have responded has been the theme of Lord Windlesham's four volumes on Responses to Crime.
In this final part of his survey, covering the closing years of the century, the author analyses how the dominant influence of public opinion, systematically measured, evaluated, and translated into policy decisions, interacted with a trend towards retribution and a harsher penal climate.