1. 'Theory is not its own justification' : testing the punitiveness thesis 2. 'It hasn't happened here.' : the limits of the punitiveness thesis 3. Ireland 1976-2006 : stagnation and change 4. Scotland 1976-2006 : from divergence to convergence 5. New Zealand 1976-2006 : perfecting the 'perfect society' 6. The measurement of punitiveness 7. The 'new punitiveness' in Ireland, Scotland and New Zealand 8. Explaining differences 9. Reconceptualising penality.