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First Place Winner: 2016 Call for Entries

Law & Order

Jan Banning | Colombia, France, Uganda, USA

France, Oct. 2013. Central surveillance tower of the Grand Quartier of the Maison d’arrêt de Bois-d’Arcy. The prison, holding people on remand and people sentenced to a maximum of two years, was built as a panopticon in 1980 with a capacity of 500 inmates. It now houses 770 and many maisons d’arrêt suffer such overcrowding.

In Law & Order, Jan Banning is contributing to the public debate regarding our approach to crime, especially punishment: do we want retribution or correction?

In the US, the number of prisoners has quadrupled in 40 years to 707 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Colombia this number is approximately 250, in France and Uganda around 100; in countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, approximately 60-70.

Of the four countries in this essay, only the US carries out the death penalty. There is no credible scientific evidence that the death penalty deters criminal behavior. As for the threat of imprisonment: research confirms time and time again that it is also not a deterrent.

What does contribute to the fight against crime is public confidence in the police and other criminal justice agencies.

Criminologists have made it convincingly clear that economic inequality is the best predictor of crime and violence. Combating crime is not just a matter of keeping dangerous individuals in check but also of social justice.

Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, based in Freiburg i. Br., Germany

Jan Banning
Begoniastraat 23
3551BJ Utrecht - Netherlands
T. +31 651 365 983

Photographer Jan Banning (Almelo, 1954), living in Utrecht, Netherlands, studied history before becoming a photographic artist. He gained worldwide recognition with Bureaucratics, which was shown in museums and galleries in some 20 countries on five continents. Banning’s other well-known books include: Traces of War (2005), Comfort Women (2010) and Down and Out in the South (2013). Among Banning’s many awards is a World Press Photo Award. His documentary artwork has been widely published and is in collections, both private and public, such as the High Museum of Art Atlanta, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

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