Source: (2007) Crime and Justice. 36(1): 49-91.Being shaped by penal policies, prison rates are cultural constructs that may be determined by the qualitative meaning of events--their emotional resonance--rather than by their relative frequency. ... Canada--most particularly its large French-speaking minority (22 percent of the Canadian population)--strives to distance itself from U.S. policies such as the death penalty and the overreliance on incarceration. ... IV), and penal culture and cross-national clusters of countries (Sec. ... Arguing for a right to be punished may appear malapropos, if not cynical, in our times of mass imprisonment. ... The distinction between punishment defined within a moral order into which the offender reintegrates after suffering his sanction and naked harm inflicted to persons cast out of this moral order is of paramount importance. ... Tonry objects to the use of a similar explanation to account for the growth of incarceration in the United Kingdom and the United States on the ground that the increase in imprisonment rates has been incomparably higher in the United States (pp. 56, 60). ... In contrast to the notion of abolishing the criminal justice system, the idea of eliminating crime by fiat is unthinkable. ... As the remainder of their essay demonstrates, the null hypothesis takes a more pregnant significance when the Canadian stability is compared to the volatility of incarceration in other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. ... More fundamentally for comparative penology, most of the theories and factors listed above assume that penal practices and their assessment--for example, the "prison works" mantra that traveled from the United States to the United Kingdom (Newburn, in this volume)--migrate and that models in criminal justice are traded between countries. ... To prepare for the third millennium, a group of prominent Canadians that included politicians, academics (among them a Nobel Prize winner), civil servants, and media people was formed under the name of the Canada 21 Council. ... According to the Sentencing Project, five of the ten leading nations in incarceration rates are in the Caribbean (http://www.sentencingproject.org). ... For now, such studies could not be conducted in any country other than the United States, with the possible exception of the United Kingdom, because of the lofty refusal of most Western countries to collect ethnically discriminant statistics. ... In The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society, edited by Norval Morris and David J. (Abstract).