Penal Humanitarianism? Sovereign Power in an Era of Mass Migration
New Criminal Law Review (2017), Forthcoming
24 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2016
Date Written: 2016
Since creating the ‘Returns and Reintegration Fund’ in 2008, the British government has financed a variety of initiatives around the world under the rubric of “managing migration” which have blurred the boundaries between migration control and punishment. This article documents and explores a series of overlapping case studies undertaken in Nigeria and Jamaica where the UK funded prison building programs, mandatory prisoner transfer agreements, prison training programs and resettlement assistance for deportees. These initiatives demonstrate in quite concrete ways a series of interconnections between criminal justice and migration control that are both novel and, in their postcolonial location, familiar. In their ties to international development and foreign policy they also illuminate how humanitarianism allows penal power to move beyond the nation state. In so doing, these overseas programs raise important questions about our understanding of punishment and its application.
Keywords: punishment, mass migration, sovereignty, Jamaica, Nigeria, penal humanitarianism, colonialism
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