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The one stop guide
Criminal Justice - Peter Joyce
Member Name: HelenW
Criminal Justice - Peter Joyce
Advantages: Easy to read, interesting case studies, useful summaries, good price
ISBN: 1 84392 182 0
I was advised to buy this textbook at the beginning of my first year of university for Criminology. It cost me £24.50 from new, which I thought was very reasonably priced considering Legal and Criminological texts can easily be £50+. The cover of the book is a mottled blue colour with some odd patterns on... it was a while before I twigged that this was the blue light of a police car. Ooops. Anyway. I have found this book to be incredibly useful for revision, exams, essays, presentations, you name it.
Between the contents pages and the beginning of the actual chapters, there is a useful list of abbreviations. This includes the obvious and well known like CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to the not so obvious like BVPI (Best Value Performance Indicator).
The only small issue I have with this book is that it takes me ages to get work done when I am using it, because when I'm looking in the index I always find fascinating tangents which distract me!
Each chapter has pages of references used in each chapter, which I think is more convenient than all at the back because it shows what was used for which chapter and supplementary reading is easier to find!
The Chapters are as follows:
Chapter 1: The causes of crime and deviancy.
This chapter consists of the Criminological ideas as to where crime arose from. Most of these ideas are abstract and sociological. For example Positivism, which states that people commit crime because they are not normal and have some biological make up that means they are forced to commit crime and they have no rational choice to not commit this crime. It also includes Classicism (the punishment should fit the crime), Biological explanations of crime (a criminal gene), Psychological explanations of crime (personality testing, intelligence and even Freud's opinion), crime and its social setting (looking mainly at Anomie theory - that crime results from a clash between aspired goals and the means of achieving these), the state and criminality (society being based on power relationships), Conservative criminology (the importance of social structures to be able to overcome potential to be criminal) and Feminist criminology (ranges from low numbers of women in prison to Lombroso (1895) believing women commit crime because they are hormonal). When discussing these theories, the author takes each theory in turn and describes it, and gives evidence for and against where it exists and draws a conclusion.
I found this chapter to be useful to me, however, some sections more useful than others. I thought it glossed over classicism too much and didn't give as full a description as the theory warrants, so I did have to do plenty of other reading around for this theory. However I have found it to be useful and have enough information for topics such as biological explanations, psychological explanations and social setting.
Chapter 2: Crime and Crime prevention
This chapter looks at crime with a more general overview for example white collar crime (carried out during the course of your occupation). I thought this section was interesting, and I found enough detail in here to write most of a journal review in this area. I am interested in white collar crime, because generally only the most major (i.e. 10 million pounds worth of fraud!) is uncovered and this usually hits the major news.
Also, this chapter goes into crime prevention and community safety, and then assesses the practice of community safety.
Chapter 3: Policing: methods, structure and organisation
This chapter is more about the history of the police forces and policing rather than its day to day implications in the community. This extends from policing by consent, through the major technological improvements that have helped shape the police force. However they use the term technological improvements loosely because they lump the development of cars in with technological advancements! This historical overview extends to the present day which includes Reassurance policing i.e. 'more bobbies on the beat' and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO's) and then privatisation of policing which is the most recent development. Then this chapter goes into an international overview, which takes in interpol and some of the major agreements/treaties in Europe, for example the Schengen Agreement. I found this section interesting because as one I my modules last year I wrote about the law enforcement and found the European section an interesting diversion from what I should have been reading about...
Chapter 4: Policing: control and accountability
This chapter seems to be made up of a bit more historical issues for example the Police Act 1964 and the debate that surrounded police accountability in the 1980's to the accountability of policing today; and some other random bits, like the police complaints machinery. Following the layout of the other chapters I was surprised not to find that police complaints machinery would have more of the development, i.e. from the Police Complaints Authority to the Independent Police Complaints Commission that we have today, following the corruption that existed in the PCA.
Chapter 5: The Prosecution Process
This is, in my opinion, the most interesting chapter in this textbook. But it could just be me that's fascinated by the Legal System. This chapter covers the whole process from Arrest to trial by jury. It also looks at the prosecution of offences, the judicial process, miscarriages of justice (also fascinating, although terrible), discrimination within the prosecution process to victims of crime. I find victimology quite interesting, however this text was not the most informative I have read on the subject, which would be The Oxford Handbook of Criminology.
Chapter 6: The judiciary
As with the previous chapter I found this to be one of the best chapters because it discusses the courts in the Legal System. It first discusses basic information as to how the courts are organised, i.e. the civil and criminal branches. It discusses the composition of the legal system today for example, split into barristers and solicitors, numbers of each, and the bodies that oversee them i.e. the Bar Council and the Law Society respectively. It also briefly covers the merger of solicitors and barristers following the granting of Rights of Audience to solicitor advocates in the higher courts. It also looks at the separation of powers, the appointment of judges and the problems with the current system of appointment, like political interference etc. It also covers the social composition of the judiciary i.e. public school, Oxbridge etc. I like the quote "Judges come from a remarkably similar background, male, white, public schools and Oxbridge, which has changed little in the past 50 years" Dyer 1998. This text illustrates with a breakdown of judges, district judges, recorders, Court of Appeal judges and High Court judges how true this is.
Chapter 7: The aims and rationale of punishment
This chapter looks at punishment, the aims of punishment both historically looking at classicism to today, being deterrence, incapacitation and reform and rehabilitation. The next section follows logically to be Restorative Justice, which was introduced following the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 when major changes were taking place. It also looks at the problems of restorative justice; however I did not find this to be the best text for this topic, which would be the Handbook of Restorative Justice. This chapter also looks at the sociological perspectives with regard to punishment, which I find quite useful as they can be tied into other Criminological perspectives well, and gives it a broader approach.
Chapter 8: Prison and its alternatives
This chapter looks at how prisons have developed in England and Wales, and how they are now rehabilitated. It shows how rehabilitation in prisons doesn't work due to the current overcrowding crisis, but explains how non custodial sentences would achieve the aims of rehabilitation of offenders. It also discusses the relevance of the probation service and it's relation to the prison service and the various accountabilities of the prisons and probation system.
Chapter 9: Juvenile crime and the state's response
I have found this to be useful, as it is the topic of my dissertation. It gives an overview of the development of youth justice, and how it changed over time between 1969 and 1997. It also discusses the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which was a major piece of legislation which caused dramatic development in the area of youth justice. It goes into political implications and how Labour have influenced youth justice, particularly with the memorable "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".
Chapter 10: Race and the criminal justice system
This chapter covers a controversial area, beginning with the Scarman report which followed the Brixton riots and concluded that racism occurred in the criminal justice system. The next section looks at the Stephen Lawrence murder, and responses to the MacPherson report which came about following the murder of Stephen Lawrence. It concludes with the impediments to reform and the steps taken and what follows in the future.
Summary: The best introductory text out there
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