The Ambiguity of Choices: Criminal Policy in Brazil from 1989 to 2016

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Introduction: The purpose of this article is to analyze the criminal policy approved from 1989 to 2016 by the Brazilian parliament. We sought to verify whether Brazil adopted only a criminal policy of punitive recrudescence or whether, on the contrary, there is an ambiguous logic after 1988. Two sets of questions were considered: i) which legislative variables influenced these directions; ii) what are the types of punishment in the approved legislation. Materials and Methods: 130 sanctioned laws were selected, which were analyzed by variables (parties, regions, proposing house, sanction year, type of punishment, proposing house, processing time). Results: Most of the laws that relate to criminal policy choices were passed in the early years of the first governments of FHC, Lula and Dilma; the presidential mandates of FHC and Lula are the ones that sanctioned more laws in this matter; PSDB, PMDB and PT are the parties that had the highest number of proposals approved; as for the initiative, the Legislative has a predominance over the Executive in this thematic area; there is an association between the proposing house / processing time and the type of punishment / processing time. Discussion: The types of punishment indicate that criminal policy is defined by its duality between hierarchical principles and universal principles of citizenship, sometimes expanding, sometimes restricting fundamental rights and guarantees of the accused; as it is also marked by the expansion of the Criminal Law in different areas of social life.




da Silveira Campos, M., & de Azevedo, R. G. (2020). The Ambiguity of Choices: Criminal Policy in Brazil from 1989 to 2016. Revista de Sociologia e Politica, 28(73), 1–19.

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