‘Entrapped in a penal time capsule’: Extralegal discourses in sentence review of life prisoners in India

Karan Tripathi*, Netanel Dagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Scholars argue that lifers’ parole can be mobilised to be punitive and politicised. However, how parole decision-makers construct and disguise their punitive and politicised discourses when deciding the paroled subject is understudied, especially with regard to the global south. In this paper, based on content analysis of the dossiers of Delhi's Sentence Review Board (SRB) during 2018–2021, and in-depth interviews with the SRB members, we found that most of the SRB's rejections were solely based on the crime, a violation of a lifers right to a meaningful consideration for premature release. The SRB members rationalise their decision-making through two discourses: ‘temporal entrapment’, and ‘disguised punitivism’. Through these discourses, the SRB exercises penal power which is formally unified by the legal scaffolding but discursively bifurcated, for negotiating competing penal and political values and logics.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalPunishment and Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Decision-making
  • India
  • lifers
  • parole
  • punitivism
  • sentence review
  • temporality

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