The concept of social tolerance and social policy : a case study of crime and penal practices in the transitional period in Ukraine
The present study focuses on the current state and developments of social and penal policies in Ukraine. It concentrates on changes brought about in the period of social and political transition, which started when Ukraine became an independent state in 1991. In particular, this study attempts to explain the current failure of reforms as being the result of a lack of social tolerance intrinsic to state officials at all levels, a legacy of previous repressive regimes. The introduction examines the notion of tolerance as a value produced by civil society and its importance for the administration of penal policy. It is argued that the level of social tolerance is heavily influenced by the nature of social and economic relationships. The following section consists of a case study presenting the origins of Ukrainian political, economic and social institutions and the results of an analysis of official media reportage of the current transition towards a market economy - a transition which has formed the precondition for a sharply rising criminality and the corruption of the main social institutions. The third chapter begins with a brief history of the use of imprisonment during the Soviet era, describing the administrative methods of punishment embedded into the system which Ukraine inherited on independence. The next section is a study of the Ukrainian penal system in the transitional period and shows that change has been minimal in terms of ideology, penal structures and the training of personnel. It also reveals findings on the functioning of prison enterprises, which established a deficit between prison production outputs and the sale of prison products, which is theorised as being due to private profiteering by senior prison staff. Finally, the data from an empirical study of social relations in a Ukrainian penitentiary are analysed on the basis of the social tolerance concept. The culture of prison life is seen as embedded in a hierarchy of roles. For these reasons, the existing prison system fails in its aim to resocialise offenders; it fails to respect human rights; and the experience of imprisonment as an exploitative system is related to the privatisation of human resources by the prison authorities.