Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice

Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice

Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice

Criminal Justice: An Introduction to Philosophies, Theories and Practice

Synopsis

This new text will encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and the current workings of the criminal justice system. The first part offers a clear and comprehensive review of the major philosophical aims and sociological theories of punishment, the history of justice and punishment, and the developing perspective of victimology. In Part Two, the focus is on the main areas of the contemporary criminal justice system - including the police, the courts and judiciary, prisons and community penalties. There are regular reflective question breaks which enable students to consider and respond to questions relating to what they have just read, and the book contains useful pedagogic features such as boxed examples, leading questions and annotated further reading. This practical book is particularly geared to undergraduate students following programmes in criminal justice and criminology. It will also prove a useful resource for practitioners who are following vocationally based courses in the criminal justice area - in social work, youth justice and police training courses.

Excerpt

The intention of this book is to provide students (and tutors) with an introduction to the study of criminal justice. Its central aim is to encourage students to develop a deeper understanding of the context and current workings of the criminal justice system.

Content

The book is divided into two main sections. Part I provides an examination of the philosophical, theoretical and historical contexts of criminal justice and Part II focuses on the major agencies of the contemporary criminal justice system in England and Wales. In Part I, Chapter 1 considers the basic question 'Why should offenders be punished?' It does this by looking at the justifications for punishment and the philosophies that lie behind them. There are various plausible justifications for punishment and there are different ways of categorising them. Here these justifications are examined under three main headings: deterrence, retribution and rehabilitation. The contradictions and tensions between the different philosophies of punishment are highlighted through examples of different forms of punishment at different periods of history. Chapter 2 focuses on explanations for punishment and, in particular, addresses the question 'What have social theorists said about the role of punishment in society?' The main theoretical approaches that are examined are Durkheim's argument that punishment produces social solidarity; the Marxist tradition that punishment is part of a class-based process of economic and social regulation; and the more recent theorising of Foucault emphasising the interrelationship between punishment, power and regulation. Chapter 3, written by John Cochrane, relates and applies these and other theoretical approaches to the history of the policies and practices of crime and justice. Essentially it tries to understand this history in terms of the nature of the particular governments and societies responsible for introducing these policies and practices. Chapter 4, written by Gaynor Melville, shifts the focus to an examination of the role of the victim within the criminal justice system. It charts the emergence of the discipline of victimology and considers the main theoretical positions within it. In doing this, it distinguishes between victims of different forms of criminal behaviour, with a particular focus on victims of domestic violence (private crime) and of corporate crime (public crime).

The three chapters in Part II examine the major different elements and agencies of the contemporary criminal justice system. Chapter 5 looks at police and policing, setting the context for an examination of police culture through a consideration of how historical changes, and especially those of the post-1960 period, have shaped the current form and style of policing. Chapter 6 turns to the courtroom and examines issues around the trial and sentencing of offenders, in particular issues of impartiality, focusing on gender,

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