Despite the torrent of the punitive state, people in conflict with the law are made up as 'clients' of criminal justice. This article looks curiously upon the figure of the client, positioning her as a translation of the offender who flags particular relationships of justice. While the client is nowhere to be found on the public face of punishment, she emerges in the most unlikely of places (prisons, courts) when looking at punishment's inner workings. The client, we argue, is born of the elision of managerial and consumerist discourses in order to recruit people in conflict with the law and justice workers into contemporary penal project. The subject positions of criminal justice actors (offenders and workers) are reframed such that they are all active agents in the practice of social service delivery. These translations reveal the fluidity of identities and relationships within the criminal justice system and teach us about the political strategies underlying differing argots of punishment.

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Punishment and Society
Department of Law and Legal Studies

Donohue, E. (Erin), & Moore, D. (2009). When is an offender not an offender?: Power, the client and shifting penal subjectivities. Punishment and Society, 11(3), 319–336. doi:10.1177/1462474509334174