IJC Book Reviews
The Reviews Editors are keen to receive books for review on a wide variety of subjects, from the criminal justice system, crime reduction, delinquency, hate crimes and deviant social behaviour. Book reviews will be published on this page along with a link to the relevant publisher from which the book can be purchased.
Submitting a Book for Review
If you have any queries or wish to submit a book for review please contact Dr Mike Sutton by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philosophy Behind Bars: Growth and Development in Prison
by Dr Kirstine Szifris
Reviewed by Anton Roberts, Researcher at the Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
.Dr Kirstine Szifris, a criminologist and researcher from Manchester Metropolitan University has drawn on many of history’s greatest philosophers; from Plato, Kant, Mill to Russell - all are sworn into service to assist Szifris (2021) in the construction of her new book Philosophy Behind Bars: Growth and Development in Prison. The literary volume is a thought-provoking and at times challenging piece of work, describing an ambitious and conceivably unique project within the prison system. The book details her in-depth ethnographic account of her work, which employed a Socratic style philosophy programme to prisoners in two prisons in the UK.
Child Witnesses in Twentieth Century Australian Courtrooms
by Robyn Blewer
Reviewed by Michelle N. Eliasson,
In her book “Child Witnesses in Twentieth Century Australian Courtrooms” Dr. Robyn Blewer describes and problematizes the practice around child witnesses in court. The author states that the book aims to further explore the impact of law and legal reforms on cases where children had to testify. The book draws on 250 empirical cases where children provided evidence in criminal trials during the twentieth century. The main thesis of the book reflects the challenge the criminal justice system posits when calling child witnesses to testify, as well as how the reforms to evidence law facilitate child testimonies yet also create unattainable high standards for child witnesses. These high standards are specifically problematic due to the assumptions they make about children and their childhood and their grounding in rules of evidence, which creates barriers concerning legitimacy and reliability.
The Case of Stephen Downing
by Stephen Downing
Reviewed by Dr Mike Sutton
This book, published by Pen and Sword in 2019, authored by Stephen Downing, sets out the facts and its author’s opinions and personal insights surrounding his arrest in 1973, conviction for murder, 27 years served in prison and eventual release in 2001. Stephen’s conviction was overturned based on his confession to murder (as a 17-year-old, with the reading age of an 11-year-old) resulting from illicit police coercion/induced duress and from forensic blood splatter pattern evidence being unsafe. Downing also reveals that further key knowledge about the evidence that the murder victim, Wendy Sewell, was strangled prior to being bludgeoned was not revealed by the prosecution.
Download the full review.
Doing Essays and Assignments
by Pete Greasley
Reviewed by Joanne Webster, student.
This book is an excellent resource that I wish I had in my first year! The chapters are specific enough to be able to use this book as a reference guide but also maintains continuity as a text as a whole that is comfortable to read in the sequence offered. I especially enjoyed the chapters on referencing and plagiarism; they are excellent and show how marks can be lost through poor planning. It gives some excellent "tips and tricks" throughout the book that even as a third year student I will be using.
Trouble on the Wing
By Jon Herbert Scott
Reviewed by Mike Sutton
This work of fiction, is written by an ex-prison governor.
This self-published book, published as an Amazon book, is one of the best works of fiction I've ever read. Very originally creative, capable, compelling and plausible. Most importantly this is a brilliant story, set in the modern reality of "corporate" public institutions run by jobsworth tick-boxing, bean-counting, backside covering overambitious greasy pole climbing managerial monkeys, and there is not a cliche in it. The corporate institution in question just happens to be the British Prison System.
As for twists in the tale, one hallmark of good writing, the author shows us heroism in the least likely of his characters. The book also leaves ever so subtle doubt - unresolved questions some may not even see. Not that is, unless they think - think about the veracity of internal monologues of the main protagonist. So what makes the book so great? For me it is that I cared about the characters in it, and cared enough about the plausible unfolding story to want to know "what happens in the end"?
Riot, Unrest and Protest On The Global Stage
Edited by David Pritchard and Francis Pakes, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
Reviewed by Shantey Francis
Riot, Unrest and Protest on the Global Stage, brings together world class experts from around the globe providing an extensive and interdisciplinary discussion of riots and unrest to date. The field has attracted scholarship from a wide range of disciplines including criminology, law, politics, geography, sociology, and economics amongst others. This gives the book a unique outlook on the events discussed, by utilising a plethora of international expertise on the subject. The book explores rioting in a diverse range of countries and contexts from the UK, France and Germany whilst also looking at food riots and the #Occupy movement. Each chapter describes, as the title suggests, riots and unrest on the global stage. The book uses the term ‘stage’ to encapsulate several meanings from global audiences to localised protests. The book is not simply about riots but about how globalisation has affected riots and how we as the public understand them.
This book can be purchased from Palgrave Macmillan
Dimensions of Justice: Ethical Issues In The Administration Of Criminal Law
By William C. Heffernan, Jones & Bartlett Learning Inc., 2015.
Reviewed by Tara Harrison
Dimensions of Justice focuses on subjects essential to the nature of crime and delinquency, victimization, equal opportunity under law and the role played by forgiveness in the justice process (pg. xv). This is an incredibly insightful textbook because it provides readers with information on issues and practices essential to a full appreciation of law. Additionally, readers will gain a better understanding of the challenges that are now plaguing the United States justice system. Furthermore, readers are directed toward supplemental resources to facilitate an appreciation for the contemporary nature of crime and punishment. Any student studying jurisprudence or criminology will find Heffernan’s approach to be both refreshing as well as informative. Dimensions of Justice is sure to become the text by which all similar publications are judged.
This book can be purchased from Jones & Bartlett Learning Inc.
Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws: Prohibition and New York City
By Ellen NicKenzie Lawson,
Excelsior Editions, State University of New York Press, 2013.
Reviewed by Roger Hopkins Burke, Nottingham Trent University
Smugglers, Bootleggers, and Scofflaws focuses on the smuggling of alcohol to tell the story of Prohibition in New York City. Using previously unstudied Coast Guard records from 1920 to 1933 for New York City and environs, Ellen NicKenzie Lawson examines the development of Rum Row and smuggling via the coasts of Long Island, the Long Island Sound, the New Jersey shore, and along the Hudson and East Rivers. The author shows how smuggling syndicates on the Lower East Side, the West Side, and Little Italy contributed to the emergence of the Broadway Mob. She also explores the widespread and extremely extensive alcohol consumer population of New York City, who seemingly flocked to the thirty thousand speakeasies and five hundred nightclubs; a far from inconsequential number of outlets for the consumption of illicit liquor. Indeed we are given the impression that a great many of the population were drinking almost as a collective ‘cocking of their snooks’ to the authorities and we also get a detailed account of how the politicians of the era - Fiorello La Guardia, James ‘Jimmy’ Walker, Nicholas Murray Butler, Pauline Morton Sabin, and Al Smith - articulated their views on Prohibition to the nation.
This book can be purchased from State University of New York Press
Who Patrols the Streets? An International Comparative Study of Plural Policing
By Terpstra, J., van Stokkom, B., and Spreeuwers, R.
Eleven International Publishing, 2013
Reviewed by Jordan Cashmore, Nottingham Trent University.
Who Patrols the Streets? is an international comparison of plural policing in five different locations: the Netherlands, England and Wales, Austria, Belgium, and Canada’s province of Ontario; selected for their comparable levels of partnership and police devolution. Each chapter describes, as the book’s title suggests, who polices the (semi-)public domain, ranging from police officers to municipal authorities to private security. It also looks at the trust between the public and these different partners. Terpstra et al. explain that the rise of the plural policing explored is a result of a ‘complex of interrelated social, political and economic circumstances and changes’ (p11). Their introductory chapter explores some of the key concepts found in the book and provides a succinct explanation of what plural policing is. Within this introduction is an outline of the research questions that each chapter addresses for plural policing in different locations.
Making Crime Television: Producing Entertaining Representations of Crime for Television Broascast
By Anita Lam
Reviewed by Jordan Cashmore, Nottingham Trent University.
Televised representations of crime have long been subject to criminological scrutiny to reveal their theorised effect on the audience’s attitudes towards and perceptions of crime and criminality. While numerous disciplines offer a vast platform of scholarship in this field, the majority focuses on the effect that the finished product – i.e. the shows and films themselves – has on the public’s attitudes. Even research that does delve into the world of production often concentrates its efforts on the study of crime news programs. Conversely, Lam’s Making Crime Television looks behind the curtain ‘to document the making of popular criminology’ (p169) by studying the processes involved in constructing fictional crime dramas.
Transnational Justice Theories
Edited by Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Teresa Koloma Beck, Christian Braun and Frederike Mieth
Reviewed by Pedram Esfandiary, Nottingham Trent University.
Transitional Justice Theories is the sixth volume of a series concerned with the concept of justice in transition. Although the field attracts scholarship from a wide range of disciplines including, criminology, sociology, political science, psychology and international relations, transitional justice has definitely carved out a unique position within all of these disciplines as an independent area worthy of substantial research. Relevant research has its roots in liberal-democratic human rights activism and transitional justice has come to encompass the set of practices, theories and approaches concerned with the past in the aftermath of violent dictatorial regimes or periods of civil conflict within nations. As the title suggests, the book’s focus lies in theoretical constructions of transitional justice and Braun et al are quick to justify the need for greater debate surrounding theory by explaining that ‘mainstream transitional justice discourse at times seems to ignore relevant theoretical debates taking place in other disciplines such as law, sociology or philosophy that are often based on a long history of theoretical insight’ (p.3). Thus the contributors to Transitional Justice Theories provide a plethora of varied theoretical conceptualisations ranging from ‘rethinking reconciliation in divided societies’ (Aiken, chapter 2) to ‘political liberalism after mass violence’ (Andrieu, chapter 4) and ‘forgetting the embodied past: body memory in transitional justice’ (Beck, chapter 9).
Cape Town After Apartheid: Crime and Governance in the Divided City
By Tony Roshan Samara
University of Minnesota Press, 2011
Reviewed by Angus Nurse, Middlesex University.
Cape Town After Apartheid examines law and order after the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa. Nearly two decades after the end of the apartheid regime Tony Samara’s book provides a critical exploration of the links between inequality and crime control in the post-apartheid era. The book tells the story of a South Africa inadvertently reproducing the repressive governance of the apartheid era and of hardening inequality made worse by neoliberal crime control policies.
Lush Life: Constructing Organised Crime In The UK
By Dick Hobbs
Oxford University Press, 2013
Reviewed by Professor Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London.
Compared to TV shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire contemporary criminology can sometimes seem dull and lifeless. In Lush Life Dick Hobbs has given us a book about crime that is more vivid, imaginative and complexly human than even the very best social science fictions. Although this is a book that ostensibly about the specter of ‘organised crime,’ its range and ambition is much wider and deeper. Hobbs argues convincingly that organized crime is far from a ‘malady of modernity,’ rather it is little more than a US import that has become a ‘global orthodoxy’ useful only to the police, politicians and other moral crusaders. Hobbs argues that this is a prime example of ‘domain expansion’ in which the parameters of a previously accepted problem expand beyond all of forms of social recognition. In academic terms at least, this book should exorcise the devilish phantom of ‘organised crime’ once and for all.
Getting By or Getting Rich? The formal, informal and criminal economy in a globalised world
By Saitta, P., Shapland, J. and Verhage, A.
Eleven International Publishing, 2013
Reviewed by Kevin Albertson, Reader in Economics, Manchester Metropolitan University.
In this collection of essays, Saitta et al. present evidence from both sides of the formal/informal divide on motivation and desperation; on justification and necessity; and on the impact of choices and absences of choice on the lifestyles adopted by those who would ‘get by or get rich’. Depending on the level of economic vulnerability of the decision maker, involvement in the informal economy arises from the interplay and agency of the economic actor and political actor and can result from one or more of ‘deliberate choice, a necessity, an extreme form of particularism, or a habitus’ (p.2). This study of formality, informality and the nexus between them is comprised of 18 chapters and an introduction. In this latter Saitta sets the scene arguing (p.3) a ‘serious analysis of informality, then, must shed light on the connections and links that connect institutions and tiny business cliques.’
Corrections Today (second edition)
By Larry Siegel & Clemens Bartollas
Cengage Learning, 2014
Reviewed by Brittany Jaecques, student, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO.
Americans entrust their federal and state correctional systems to supervise, control, and rehabilitate offenders. In Corrections Today, Siegel and Bartollas explore how our correctional systems seek to do this by providing an historical analysis of those practices that influence current efforts. This analysis includes a review of Hammurabi’s Code as well as England’s development and use of common law. The fifteen chapters that comprise this book are divided into seven parts, each addressing a different correctional topic. Each chapter begins with a relevant criminal case that is intended to peak reader interest and capture the overall essence of the material that follows. Cases include those of Michael Vick (NFL quarterback convicted of dog-fighting), Natalie Holloway (a high-school student that disappeared while on a vacation in Aruba), and Dr. Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson’s physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter).
An Introduction to Transnational Criminal Law
By Neil Boister
Oxford University Press, 2012
Reviewed by Anna Sergi, Centre for Criminology, University of Essex, UK
The book aims at presenting numerous themes, usually familiar to scholars of international law, criminal law or international criminal justice separately, all in one comprehensive introductory manual. In order to do so, the book moves away from the usual mainstream criminological or legal approaches to transnational criminality and proposes an interesting and unusual combination of approaches.
Handbook of Restorative Justice
By Johnson, G., and Van Ness, D. eds.
Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2011
Reviewed by Glenn Walker-Mellor, Kaplan Open Learning/University of Essex Online
Restorative Justice is widely debated in practitioner and academic circles, and has begun to appear more often in media circles. However Restorative Justice is such that it is commonly accepted to be impossible to decisively categorise and pinpoint. Johnstone and Van Ness (2011) suggest that general understanding of Restorative Justice is hazy at best. Moreover Roche (2001) iterates that some who have made attempts at providing clarity have resorted to admitting that Restorative Justice means all things to all people. However none of this has prevented this book taking steps forward in describing the range of Restorative Justice and how it has developed. Furthermore the ways in which various tensions and problems within Restorative Justice are explored begin to add some clarity.
Gangs: A Groundwork Guide
By Richard Swift
House of Anasi Press, 2011
Reviewed by Karina Rodriguez, Prairie View A&M University
Gangs: A Groundwork Guide, by Richard Swift explores the popularity of gangs worldwide. Swift exposes the issue of gangs becoming a permanent fixture in society, most often, residing in poor and isolated communities. Accordingly, Swift primarily focuses on gang members and examines the gang threat in society, from tattoos, vocabulary, wardrobe, colors, symbols and focuses on how the absence of social control has attracted many to join what has been identified as “a manifestation of pure evil” (p.7). Subsequently, Swift identifies the dangers and consequences of gang life by presenting the gang problem at the local and national level, thus vividly illustrating the impact, persistence and proliferation of gangs.
The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research
Edited by Van Dijk, J., Tseloni, A., and Farrell, G.
Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2012
Reviewed by Jordan Cashmore, Nottingham Trent University
The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research sets out to fill a void in current criminological literature by explaining this crime drop. Whereas a plethora of scholarly articles outline the decline (most notably in violence) in the US, this book compiles work from academics and practitioners who explore international crime trends. This is intended to (and manages to) provide an undeniably valuable and fertile base for the development of internationally applicable hypotheses to explain the drop. While these explanations can potentially take any direction – perhaps even using apparently unrelated hypotheses to link to crime in a ‘butterfly effect’-esque fashion – the book does attempt to nudge theorists toward opportunity theory-based justifications for falling crime rates.
Our Own Rascals First: Inclusion and Exclusion in the use of Sanctions
Eleven International Publishing: The Hague, 2012
Reviewed by Dirk van Zyl Smit, University of Nottingham
Our Own Rascals First, published in English together with its lively Dutch original version, is the inaugural lecture of Professor Miranda Boone as Professor of Penology and penitentiary Law in the University of Groningen. In her lecture, delivered in February 2012, Boone addresses the conceptual basis of modern penology by analysing closely the concept of bifurcation. Bifurcation is widely used to describe the tendency to punish a few offenders more harshly, while at the same time not to sentence to imprisonment many who in the past would have received such sentences.
Emily Finch and Stefan Fafinski
Oxford University Press, 2012
Reviewed by Rhianon Brooks, Nottingham Trent University
‘We have tried to include answers to every question that we either had, or would have like to have had, answered’ (2012:3) state Finch and Fafinski in their objectives for this study skills book, and one I can report as being largely achieved. Across three sections, focusing on finding and evaluating resources, academic skills and research skills respectively, I found not only answers to the questions I had at the beginning of my criminology studies, but also questions that were unanswered at the end of my course and questions that I had not thought existed.
Crime and the American Dream
Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld
Cengage Publications, 2012
Reviewed by Kate Angulski, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA
In the latest edition of Crime and the American Dream, Messner and Rosenfeld provide an introduction to various theories, all of which are applied within a sociological context. The authors state in the preface that the information they present is ‘best conveyed to students and colleagues alike in the form of an extended essay rather than in the format of a standard textbook’ (pg.vii). Readers wishing to escape the rigidity and length of traditional texts will likely embrace this informal and unconventional approach. This text is 161 pages in length and is comprised of five chapters. To keep the book’s overall length manageable, the authors have withheld typical pedagogical tools such as review/discussion questions and supplemental readings lists. This text, which is now in its fifth edition, retains its familiarity and functionality.
Media and Terrorism: Gobal Perspectives
Edited by Freedman, D., and Thussu, D.K
Sage Publications, 2012
Reviewed by Julian Matthews, Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester
This is a new publication that seeks to not only join but also move forward the established literature on media and terrorism needs to be out of the ordinary. Freeman and Thussu’s book ‘Media & Terrorism: Global perspectives’ appears to be that kind of publication. Marked by smart editorial decision making, this book maps the dynamics of media and terrorism in the era defined by the US as a ‘war on terror’ with new and interesting academic content, producing an overall package that contrasts positively with the approach and features of many of its forerunners. It outlines this specific contribution to the literature in an opening chapter and through those sections that follow, on: context(s) (part 1); global representations of terror (part2); terrorism on the home front (part 3) and journalists and the war on terror (part 4). Moreover, editorial insights as they appear at each section break and chapter heading assist in how the reader understands the fit between the books’ varied insights and this chosen framework.
The Oxford Handbook of Crime Prevention
Edited by Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
Reviewed by Ben Hughes
This is the usual high quality, comprehensive handbook provided under this general title and reviews, explores and explains research from the last couple of generations or so, giving clear indications for future direction. Admittedly, large hardback books aren’t a usual relaxing bedtime read but this is useful because it’s packed so full of information that in this sense it’s difficult to put down. The chapters are written by different leading academics but follow the same format and there are four clear sections within the book: developmental crime prevention, community crime prevention, situational crime prevention and advancing knowledge and building a safer society. These neatly cover all conceivable aspects of crime prevention in the 500-plus pages available.
Psychology and Crime
By Craig Webber
Sage Publications, 2010
Reviewed by Dr. Francis Pakes
Craig Webber’s Psychology and Crime does a good job of opening up psychology to criminologists and he does so without neglecting or minimising these concerns. Webber’s book certainly reads differently from other ‘psychology and crime’ texts. Perhaps that is because it actually is about the relation between criminology and psychology, rather than psychology and crime per se, and there certainly is a lot to unpick there. Unlike most other psychology and crime books (e.g. Pakes and Pakes, 2009; Howitt, 2006; Bull, Cooke, Hatcher, Woodhams, Bilby and Grant, 2009) Webber’s book is ‘criminological’ in its starting position and psychology is not approached as the stand-alone discipline it is often thought to be. That sets it apart from other texts. For that reason criminologists may well find this one particularly accessible.
By D Barash
Oxford University Press, 2012
Reviewed by Ken Pease
An evolutionary perspective is commonplace in the biological sciences, and increasingly so in the social sciences, notably anthropology, economics, neuroscience and psychology. Criminology, with but a few exceptions, has yet to join the party. There are many reasons for this, of which I will mention two. First, the discipline of criminology has always and properly been exercised by the mismatch between the actual and proper (in some sense) scope of the criminal law. The consequence is a reluctance to see crime and reaction to it as, even in part, shaped by evolution. Second, the perversion of Darwinian theory which led through eugenics to genocide would by itself be enough to evoke distrust.
By Ronald and Stephen Holmes
Sage Publications, 2010
Reviewed by Emily Dryer-Beers
Father and son duo Ronald and Stephen Holmes have authored three complete editions of their book Serial Murder, exploring the phenomenon of multiple homicide and the motivations, anticipated gains and behavioural patterns pertaining to their typological system of the various types of serial killer. New to this version are three chapters; Mass Murder and Spree Murder: Two Types of Multicides, Serial Killers in Foreign Countries (a past omission which, had it not been rectified, would have warranted criticism) and Health-Care Professionals and Serial Murder. This version also expands on the discussion of those serial killers who kill for monetary gain, particularly those who do so for organised crime. Intended for use as a supplementary text for relatable university courses, the authors include numerous end-of-chapter discussion questions designed to enhance both comprehension and retention.
By Miranda Miller
Iguana Books, 2012
Reviewed by Rhianon Brooks
Part legal courtroom drama, part recreation of a ‘Child called It’ (or similar), the story is told from the perspective of Clara, a 12 year old abuse survivor, now on trial for the murder of her father. Clara is mute and communicates with disjointed questions scribbled on a yellow legal pad, and in her journal. The narrative move between a ‘present’ court-room reality and Clara’s recollections in part demanded by her lawyer and in part a response to the ‘expert’ testimony called. This mix of clinical and naivety creates an evocative image of a child’s experiences.
Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
By Victor M. Rios, Ph.D.
New York University Press, 2011
Reviewed by Darren Beneby
In Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys, former gang member, Victor Rios, Ph.D., returned to his hometown of Oakland, California to study 40 young boys’ struggles dealing with stigma and punitive social control exerted on their lives from society for a period of three years. To accomplish this task, Rios uses a number of qualitative methods ranging from interviews, observations, and review of academic scholarship and official records.
Honour, Violence, Women And Islam
Edited by Mohammad Mazher Idriss and Tahir Abbas
Reviewed by Kristan Hopkins Burke and James Mellett
In recent years, honour killings and honour related violence (HRV) have come to the forefront of the public imagination, with extensive media coverage of a number of high profile cases. The abundance of cases being reported in the news within the UK, suggests a definite increase in the widespread incidence and reporting of this horrific crime. At the time of writing, Alesha Ahmed is currently giving evidence (behind a screen) against her parents who are being tried for the honour killing of her older sister in 2003 who refused to consent to an arranged marriage (Helen Carter, 2012).
Restorative Justice in Practice
By Shapland, J. Robinson, G. and Sorsby, A.
Reviewed by Darrell Fox
The authors have provided us with a very comprehensive analysis of their longitudinal research study undertaken in relation to particular restorative justice (RJ) approaches, specifically, restorative justice conferencing and direct or in-direct mediation in the criminal justice system. They initially present a very useful overview which recognizes the problematic nature of defining restorative justice along with its international evolutionary timeline. The systematic approach undertaken in structuring the chapters for this book enables the reader to access useful practical and academic insights into this increasingly operationalized criminal justice intervention.
Criminology: The Essentials
By Anthony Walsh
Sage Publishing, 2012
Reviewed by Kristen Little
In contemporary society, criminal justice officials emphasize prosecution and punishment. However, the causes of crime often go unnoticed. In order to improve the system and better protect society, there are individuals who specialize in the study of crime-causation. This study is referred to as criminology. Criminology: The Essentials explains why crime occurs and introduces readers to the different categories of crime and the various approaches criminologists take to increase our understanding of illicit and delinquent activity. This book contains a detailed Preface which outlines its structure and strengths. The stated goal of the author is to provide condensed and affordable textbook containing only necessary information about criminology.
Where Next For Criminal Justice?
By David Faulkner and Ros Burnett
Bristol: The Policy Press, 2011
Reviewed by Ben Hughes
The authors clearly set out their aims and meet them in a very accessible book which covers the broad history of UK criminal justice issues over the last thirty years and indicates a way forward for the current government. With chapters covering each of the main areas of the justice system this means it’s likely to be used a book which is useful to dip into rather than read from cover to cover, except for those who want a general background and understanding of this wide-ranging set of policies and practices which make up the British criminal justice system. They state their approach is an unashamed “realistic” perspective, which neither proposes to be optimistic nor pessimistic, and it achieves this by dealing with the issues in a fair and open manner; and they demonstrate the complexities of this pluralistic approach through their discussion and integration of the different topics, including the wider issues of government and public administration.
Restorative Justice. Ideas, Values, Debates (2nd edition)
By Gerry Johnstone
London and New York: Routledge, 2011
Reviewed by Margarita Zernova, University of Hull, UK
Many of those involved in the restorative justice movement are already familiar with the first edition of Restorative Justice. Ideas, Values, Debates by Gerry Johnstone. Since its publication a decade ago it has been the key text in the field which provides an introduction to restorative justice ideas and values, offers an in-depth analysis of arguments for and against their use in practice, critically explores debates surrounding the phenomenon of restorative justice and discusses its broader social significance.
In the second edition the original text is kept almost intact, but has been updated to include references to important publications since the first edition. The author admits that if he started tinkering with the original text, he would have ended up writing an entirely new book because so much has changed in the field of restorative justice and his own thinking in the last decade. To reflect the developments in the campaign for restorative justice since the first publication of the book a new chapter is added. That chapter simultaneously performs another task which the original text did not attempt and which enables the author to present a more complete account of aspirations of the restorative justice movement: it examines a range of applications of the ideas and principles of restorative justice beyond criminal justice.
Safer Sex in the City: The Experience and Management of Street Prostitution.
Editors: David Canter, Maria Ioannou, and Donna Youngs (Eds.).
Burlington: Ashgate, 2009
Reviewed by Edward J. Schauer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Prairie View A&M University.
Safer Sex in the City (Safer Sex), is one volume of a growing Ashgate Publishing series on the topic of Psychology, Crime and Law. Serendipitously evolving from papers presented at a conference funded by the Safer Merseyside Partnership and subsequent discussions, this anthology was conceptualized as one bold step in the attempt to make the lives and work of street prostitutes safer and healthier. This volume itself is not at all about sex trafficking, a closely related and presently highly popular topic; but since street prostitutes are especially vulnerable to disease, assaults, and murder, Safer Sex rather explores the possible ways in which prostitution may be practiced with at least a modicum of safety. Secondly, the chapters explore possible means of rescuing men, women, and children from this commercial sex trade.
Foundations for offender management: Theory, law and policy for contemporary practice
By Anne Robinson
Bristol: Policy Press, 2010
Reviewed by David Smith, University of Lancaster, UK.
For the normal reader, as opposed to the conscientious reviewer, this will be probably be a book to dip into and refer to, rather than to read from cover to cover. It is aimed at students of what used to be called probation and we are now learning to call ‘offender management’, and they and their teachers will find it a valuable resource. In the nature of things, some of the more detailed parts of it will quite quickly become obsolete, since the Conservative-led coalition government has followed the example of its Labour predecessors in its enthusiasm for new initiatives in criminal justice policy and legislation; but other parts of the book will be more enduringly helpful, since Anne Robinson has managed to retain a critical edge in her accounts of policy and practice, and proposes a value base for offender management that retains the concern with the individuality and humanity of people in trouble with the law that characterised the best of traditional probation practice.
Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear
By Aaron Kupchik
New York: NYU Press, 2010
Reviewed by Richard Stansfield, University of Delaware, USA.
School crime and violence has been in decline for a number of years in the United States. But the perception of imminent danger in the classroom is commonplace across America. With growing judicial support for schools to maintain safe and drug free environments, disciplinary matters have come to be handled more formally under a zero-tolerance policy. Violation of school rules under this condition have increasingly resulted in automatic expulsion or referral to law enforcement. Simultaneously, the number of schools using additional surveillance technologies and employing Security Resource Officers (SROs) has increased dramatically. The central concern of Homeroom Security is the message this sends to children, to accept authority without question or explanation.
Weed, Need and Greed: A Study of Domestic Cannabis Cultivation
By Gary R. Potter
Free Association Books 2010
Reviewed by Mike Ahearne, Notthingham Trent University, UK.
Though not without one or two problems, which will be discussed, this book is a highly accessible, informative and indeed enjoyable read for anyone interested in or curious about cannabis in general and particularly the burgeoning business of domestically produced marijuana. This timely publication provides the reader with plenty of contextual information about cannabis itself before exploring, via the use of ethnography, the world of some of those individuals and groups who are involved in various levels of cannabis cultivation within the UK whether it be for personal use, medical use, some form of ideological/political statement or just plain profit.
Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder
By James Alan Fox and Jack Levin
Sage Publications, Inc., 2011
Reviewed by Angelica McCreary of Truman State University, Missouri, USA.
The crimes of serial and mass murder continue to capture the public’s interest. Since little is known about the methods or motivations associated with these crimes, they remain ripe for research. Murders of this kind are generally defined by the number of victims involved, the number of locations in which these killings occur, and the time periods over which these events transpire. This book explains the differences between various types of killings while providing case-studies of past crimes. Now in its second edition, Extreme Killing has been updated with examinations of recent events including the D.C. Sniper killings (2002), the Virginia Tech campus shooting (2007), the actions of the English cab driver Derrick Bird (2010), and the revenge killings of professor Amy Bishop (2010).
Four of the best: a review of four indispensable texts for criminology undergraduates
Various authors, reviewed by Cathy Phillips, Nottingham Trent University, UK.
Cathy Phillips has just completed my criminology degree at Nottingham Trent University and thought it would be useful for new students to give an indication of at least some of the books that have been essential to her over the last three years:
1. Criminology (Tim Newburn: Willan Publishing 2007)
2. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Fourth Edition (M. Maguire., R. Morgan., and R. Reiner. (eds): Oxford University Press 2007)
3. Criminological Perspectives, Second Edition (E. McLaughlin., J. Muncie., and G. Hughes. (eds): Open University Press 2007)
4. An Introduction to Criminological Theory, Third Edition (Roger Hopkins Burke: Willan Publishing 2010)
The review of each book is a personal and decidedly uncritical view of some of the books that have been so useful that I would recommend you buy your own personal copy of each. I used them all for every single essay I wrote and for every module I studied; if they weren’t actually used in the text of an essay, they were vital as background reading in getting to grips with a subject.
Child Sexual Abuse: Media Representations and Government Reactions
By Julia C. Davidson,
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge-Cavendish, 2008
Reviewed by Steven Roberts of University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.
The rise of social policies and legislative measures has been foundational for regulating stricter criminal consequence for offenders engaging in sexual crimes against children. Although these crimes have occurred and been documented for several decades, no policy or legislative measure has successfully prevented child sexual abuse from occurring within family households. In her book, Julia C. Davidson examines a variety of policies that have been implemented, more specifically within the United Kingdom, that present a useful framework into the controversial debates surrounding the degree of punishment for sexual offenders and the level of legal protection of minors.
Dr Mary’s Monkey: How the unsolved murder of a doctor, a secret laboratory in New Orleans and cancer-causing monkey viruses are linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK assassination and emerging global epidemics And Emerging Global Epidemics.
By Edward, T. Haslam
Waterville, TrineDay, 2007
Reviewed by Dr. Mike Sutton of Nottingham Trent University, UK.
Academic journals do not ordinarily review non-academic books. In reviewing what is essentially the shaky foundations for a number of conspiracy theories, I have found it necessary to draw not only upon my own personal critique of Dr Mary’s Monkey but also the conclusions of other writers who seek to view its contents from a rational and objective viewpoint.
Cybercrime: An Introduction to an Emerging Phenomenon
By George E. Higgins
McGraw-Hill Publishing, 2010
Reviewed by Curtis R. Blakely of Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA.
Whilst most of us might be well-versed in the dynamics of offending against the person or predatory crime, I suspect that fewer are fully aware of the breadth or nature of high-tech or computer-facilitated offences. If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of this topic, then Cybercrime is an ideal text; quite short (only 187 pages in length) but extremely informative.
Rehabilitation, Crime and Justice
By Raynor, P and Robinson, G.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
Reviewed by Roger Moore of Nottingham Trent University, UK.
This is a revised and updated edition. As to be expected from two authoritative writers in the field, the text is impressive for the range of examination and its contemporary relevance. Consisting of eight chapters, the first addresses definitions of rehabilitation, the second is concerned with justifications, and the third covers, albeit briefly, rehabilitation’s historical origins and early development.
An Introduction to Criminological Theory, 3rd Edition
By Roger Hopkins Burke, Nottingham Trent University)
Willan Publishing, 2009
Reviewed by Neil Chakraborti of University of Leicester.
When the first edition of An Introduction to Criminology Theory was published in 2001, readers were offered a fresh way of thinking about criminological theory; one which steered clear from the chronological framework typically adopted in most theory textbooks, and which instead used models of criminal behaviour to illustrate commonalities and differences between various theories and their implications for crime causation and prevention. This innovative approach was extremely well-received by students and academics alike clamouring for something less impenetrable than the standard fare. The third edition provides a welcome revision to its two predecessors whilst staying true to its original approach and structure.
By by Nick Tilley, UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science
Willan Publishing, 2009
Reviewed by Craig Paterson of Sheffield Hallam University.
Nick Tilley’s book, ‘Crime Prevention’, takes on the potentially dry task of introducing relative newcomers to the subject of crime prevention as well as the multitude of ways in which crime reduction strategies ‘work’. In the introduction to the book the author makes it clear that he is not concerned with discussing the sociological, political and economic context that led to the rise of crime prevention from the 1970s. Instead, Tilley restricts the focus to strategic and tactical approaches used in the prevention of crime.
Demanding Sex: Critical Reflections on the Regulation of Prostitution
By Edited by Vanessa E. Munro, University of Nottingham, UK and Marina della Giusta, University of Reading, UK.
Reviewed by Paul Hamilton, Nottingham Trent University.
Interrogating supply/demand from an inter- and multi-disciplinary perspective, this collection broadens engagement beyond the routine analysis of the locus of violence in prostitution and the validity of the prostitute's consent. A focus on the supply/demand dynamic brings into play a range of other societal, economic and psychological factors such as the social construction of sexuality, the viability of alternative choices for prostitutes and clients, and the impact of regulatory regimes on the provision of sexual services.
By Yvonne Jewkes
Willan Publishing, 2006
Reviewed by Mike Sutton, Nottingham Trent University.
Crime Online is an edited collection of eleven chapters about Internet facilitated crime – otherwise known as cybercrime, online crime, internet crime, digital crime, virtual crime or by the reviewer's own preferred label: NetCrime.
Crime Online can be purchased from Willan Publishing
Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison
By Jeffrey Ian Ross and Stephen C. Richards
Alpha Books, Inc., 2009
Reviewed by Matthew Carbery, Truman State University (Kirksville, Missouri) USA.
At present, 1 in 32 adults in the United States is under some form of correctional supervision. Of the 2.3 million adults currently held in jails and prisons, over 600,000 return to their communities each year. These statistics have pushed prisoner reentry to the forefront of national consciousness among U.S. citizens.
By Ferrell, J., Hayward, K. and Young, J.
Reviewed by Matt Long, Nottingham Trent University.
Compared to a decade or so ago, ‘cultural criminology’ is now being taught and researched widely across higher education criminology departments in the UK. Ferrell, Hayward and Young’s book is a huge success in meeting the need for a concise but comprehensive textbook in this exciting new area of criminology. In particular, those who enjoyed the edited volume which constituted Ferrell et al’s (2004) Cultural Criminology Unleashed will almost certainly approve of this book.
Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: Crime, Exclusion and the New Culture of Narcissism
By Steve Hall, Simon Winlow and Craig Ancrum
Willan Publishing, 2008
Reviewed by Roger Hopkins Burke, Principal Lecturer and Criminology Subject
Leader in the Division of Criminology Public Health and Policy Studies at Nottingham Trent University.
At the time of writing – December 2008 – the world is undergoing an ongoing major economic ‘correction’ which could well turn into a slump the like of which we have not seen since at least the 1930s. This is all seems to be the outcome of a ‘credit crunch’ whereupon short-term boom conditions have been artificially sustained throughout the world economies – but in particular, the UK and the USA - for at least the past ten years by banks loaning large sums of money that does not really exist to people with a dubious ability to repay.
The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis
By Ian Brady
Feral House, 2001
Reviewed by Anthony Metvier, Associate of The European Graduate School, Switzerland.
Ian Brady, who along with his girlfriend Myra Hindley, killed four youths between 1963 and 1964, explains all in The Gates of Janus, a dense and lengthy tome written from a cell in Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight. Brady’s mix of confession and philosophy comprises a series of pedagogical rationalizations meant to convince the public, not only that they help create murderers by participating in a morally bankrupt capitalist system, but that they should embrace the so-called “serial killer” in the same way they inadvertently support state-sanctioned killers such as police officers, snipers, and soldiers.
One Child at a Time: Inside the fight to rescue children from online predators
By Julian Sher
Vision Paperbacks, UK, 2007
Reviewed by Ed Pollock, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
This is an enthralling book. It enhances significantly our knowledge and understanding of online child abuse, the trans-national investigative methods employed to reduce it and the difficulties involved in tackling it. The book will be of interest to anyone interested in the dynamics of internet-facilitated sex offending and is a good compliment to any further text contending with issues concerning the treatment, management and rehabilitation of sex offenders in custody and the community.