Over the last decade there has arisen considerable disquiet about the relationship between criminal justice and its publics.
This has been expressed in a variety of different ways, ranging from a concern that state criminal justice has moved too far away from the concerns of ordinary people (become too distant, too out of touch, insufficiently reflective of different groups in society) to the belief that the police have been attending to the wrong priorities, that the state has failed to reduce crime, that people still feel a general sense of insecurity.
Governments have sought to respond to these concerns throughout Europe and North America but the results have challenged people's deeply held beliefs about what justice is and what the state's role should be.
The need to innovate in response to local demands has hence resulted in some very different initiatives.
This book is concerned to delve further into this contested relationship between criminal justice and its publics.
Written by experts from different countries as a new initiative in comparative criminal justice, it reveals how different the intrinsic cultural attitudes in relation to criminal justice are across Europe.
This is a time when states' monopoly on criminal justice is being questioned and they are being asked on what basis their legitimacy rests, challenged by both globalization and localization.
The answers reflect both cultural specificity and, for some, broader moves towards reaching out to citizens and associations representing citizens.