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Ep27: The Rest is Punishment: why do politicians seem set on ever tougher justice?

Alexandra Kimmons
17 Nov 2023

Many of our political leaders seem hell-bent on increasing conviction rates as well as sentence lengths for many crimes. But why? In this episode, hosts Rob and Penelope are joined by Rory Stewart, former prisons Minister and co-presenter of the Rest is Politics podcast, and Stephen Bush, associate editor at the Financial Times.

We explore how the last few decades of roller-coaster British politics have impacted the criminal justice system, what role the media and public opinion have to play in these contentious issues, and whether criminal justice has become the sacrificial lamb in the long march to Westminster.

This episode was recorded on 8th November 2023.

Rory Stewart @RoryStewartUK

Listen to Rory’s podcast The Rest is Politics with Alistair Campbell here:

Stephen Bush @stephenkb

Subscribe to Stephen’s award-winning daily newsletter Inside Politics here:


Justice Committee Report on public opinion on sentencing:

Longford Lecture:

Transform Justice

The Transform Justice podcast is hosted by Penelope Gibbs and Rob Allen and produced and edited by Alexandra Kimmons. With thanks to Content is Queen studio.