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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: October 2018

2 - The Game of Crime and Punishment


The criminal justice process has often been compared to a ‘game’: the ‘games’ lawyers play, for example, or the various ‘games’ played by prisoners or prison psychologists. It is always other people who are playing games ... This chapter will explore current trial processes and sentencing processes in England and Wales by comparing them with traditional games: in what sense is a trial like a game of ‘Blind Man’s Buff’? Why does progressing through the prison system feel for many prisoners like a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’? Of course, none of these processes really feels like a game to the principal players. But the analogies can throw fresh light on how we should evaluate the effectiveness of our criminal justice system.