Critical Criminology

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 211–231

Miscarriages of Justice and the Government of the Criminal Justice System: An Alternative Perspective on the Production and Deployment of Counter-Discourse

  • Michael Naughton

DOI: 10.1007/s10612-005-2391-y

Cite this article as:
Naughton, M. Crit Crim (2005) 13: 211. doi:10.1007/s10612-005-2391-y


This article confronts a perennial question raised by critical criminologists, namely, what part do critical counter-discourses play in the exercise of dominant forms of power in the sphere of criminal justice? In specific terms, it analyses some of the key sources of critical socio-legal counter-discourse that were produced and deployed in response to the most recent governmental review of the criminal justice system on the problem of miscarriages of justice in England and Wales. In so doing, it draws from Foucault’s theses on power, resistance and governmentality and suggests an alternative reading of the relations of power and the role and rationality of governmental intervention in the legislative framework of the criminal justice system. In light of this, it is argued that the reform of the criminal justice system should not only or merely be viewed as a ‘damage limitation exercise’ by a repressive state attempting to ‘betray’ the public to retain or reproduce its power. On the contrary, reform of the criminal justice system might, also, fruitfully be seen as part of a process that is initiated when the governmental conditions are right; a process which can, also, present opportunities to achieve progressive reforms.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Naughton
    • 1
  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of BristolUK

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