Keywords: Penal Populism; Political Consensus; Criminal Law and Justice; Enemy Criminal Law; Mass Imprisonment.
The penal populism is always most frequently mentioned in the analysis of criminalization processes and political consensus dynamics. Starting from the most widespread interpretations of contemporary populist phenomena, the article proposes a redefinition of penal populism and an interpretative grid of the various populist uses of criminal law and justice. In this way it is possible to widen the field of observation of the populist use of criminal law and justice beyond that of populist leaders and movements and to see the contribution that other political and institutional subjects also give it. Considering that the populist use of criminal law and justice puts at risk the fundamental principles of liberal criminal law, the author stresses the need for an ecological change that simultaneously frees politics from populist use of criminal law and criminal justice from the political aim of seeking consensus.