When Children Kill Children: Penal Populism and Political Culture examines the role of political culture and penal populism in the response to the emotive subject of child-on-child homicide. The book explores the reasons underlying the vastly differing responses of the English and Norwegian criminal justice systems to the cases of James Bulger and Silje Redergard respectively. Whereas James Bulger's killers were subject to extreme
press and public hostility, held in secure detention for nine months and tried in an adverserial court; Redergard's killers were shielded from public antagonism and carefully reintegrated into the local
community. This book argues that English adverserial political culture creates far more incentives to politicize high-profile crimes than Norwegian consensus political culture. Drawing on a wealth of empirical research, the author suggests that the tendency for politicians to justify punitive responses to crime by invoking harsh political attitudes is based upon a flawed understanding of public opinion. In a compelling study, this book proposes a more deliberative response
to crime that accommodates the informed public in news ways - ways that might help build social capital and remove incentives for cynical penal populism.