Back to RJ Archive

“Weak Nations, Political Repression, and Punishment”

Ruddell, Rick
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) International Criminal Justice Review. 17(2): 84-107.

This study examines the influence of political repression on the use of punishment in 100 of
the world’s richest nations. Consistent with earlier empirical work, high levels of violent crime
and population heterogeneity is associated with the use of imprisonment. Five different indicators
of political freedoms are included in a series of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression
models, including civil liberties and political rights, two indicators of democracy, and censorship
of the press. Controlling for crime, population heterogeneity, and development, the
authors find that autocratic nations punish more harshly. Examination of the correlates of
detained (remanded) populations produces less consistent results, suggesting that the factors
that contribute to detention may be different than those related to imprisonment. These findings
suggest that the relationships between political repression be scrutinized more closely,
especially the use of punishment in weak nations.


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now