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Many of these reviews are additional or extended - please also see individual book pages for more reviews and further book details.

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Whose Criminal Justice?

'Whose Justice? - State or Community? provides a thoughtful and principled perspective on criminal justice at a time when the country seems ready to move on from the rigid attitudes and misguided assumptions that have dominated policy and practice for almost 20 years. The coalition government is committed to devolving power and influence to local communities and citizens, in criminal justice as in other matters, with elected Police and Crime Commissioners as its headline policy and the 'Big Society' as its overall vision. Much of the detail is still to emerge, and much will depend on the dynamics and relationships of the new formations and new situations as they develop.

This useful and well written collection of essays identifies the main issues to be addressed - the proper role and limits of the criminal law and the criminal courts; the culture and practice of the criminal justice services; issues relating to religious and ethnic minorities; the special problems of anti-social young people, sexual offenders and domestic violence; and the implications and practicability of empowering communities to take more control of the criminal justice process and the alternatives to it. The authors examine them dispassionately from a variety of perspectives - their own research, the historical background and the more important empirical and theoretical which have been made of the various subjects.

Policy makers and practitioners would do well to reflect on the wisdom that is contained in this book.'

David Faulkner, University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research

Holloway Prison

In the media, prisons are always topical, but the portrayals are often prurient and voyeuristic, if not caricatured. In contrast to them is the carefully moderated voice of government reports and other such documents. Occupying a different ground altogether is the highly detailed picture of prison life presented in personal memoirs based on first-hand experience. A recent contribution to that comparatively rare field is Hilary Beauchamp’s Holloway Prison: An Inside Story, a remarkably frank account of the many years the author spent working inside one of Britain’s best-known prisons for women and young offenders...

...Her book may be described as a social realist, off-the-record account. She does not shy away from the subjective authenticity of her own voice, even when it exposes her own weaknesses and the frailties of the whole system...

...The book is of wider interest than its main thread of art in custody. For students of applied criminology, the contextual descriptions of the successive forms of prison management that accompanied Holloway’s transformation from a traditional gaol to a modern redbrick organisation are particularly revealing...

...With many of its pages taken up with the contradictory, unexpected events that Beauchamp witnessed—at once fascinating, bizarre and heart-wrenching—the book is an amalgam of personal interactions bound together by a graphic texture that conveys the look, feel, smell and sound of the prison—a place where every seemingly random noise translates into a meaning...

...it is the pen-portraits of the women who came into Holloway that give Beauchamp’s account its penetrating edge...

* Excerpts taken from review in November 2010 edition of Current Issues in Criminal Justice, published by the Institute of Criminology, Sydney Law School.

Nipping Crime in the Bud

Appalling scenes of numerous homeless children begging and stealing in the streets were a common sight in the towns and cities of England in the late eighteenth century. And these same children were perceived to be the cause of a vast increase in juvenile crime. As a consequence, they received scant sympathy. A typical reaction was that of the otherwise progressive novelist and magistrate, Henry Fielding. He described families in want of every necessity of life and oppressed with hunger, cold, nakedness, filth and disease and concluded that, "They starve and freeze, and rot among themselves; but they beg and steal and rob among their Betters".

Action rather than words was necessary to destroy, or at least alleviate, this cancer at the heart of society in the Age of Enlightenment. The "bloody criminal code" of the time was not having the desired effect even though children could be, and were, executed for petty thefts. So, in an endeavour to "nip crime in the bud" a group of men met in St Paul's Coffee House in London in 1788 to discuss what could be done. In the event they founded what was portrayed as a Philanthropic Society for the Prevention of Crimes which would seek out children "in the nurseries of vice and iniquity" in order to train them to become useful citizens with a purpose in life. This was the first voluntary sector charity devoted to curbing crime through education, training, accommodation, supervising and support for young people.

Nonetheless, success in this field, however, is not easily achieved. Twenty-five years later serious alarm was still being expressed at the "alarming increase in juvenile delinquency". However, Peter Bradford, the "Spitalfields Philanthropist", David Ricardo and a number of MPs were actively campaigning for imprisonment and corporal punishment for young offenders to be replaced by "mildness of persuasion and gentleness of reproof". But they met with little success.

This book by Muriel Whitten, Nipping Crime in the Bud: How the Philanthropic Quest was Put Into Law, describes in colourful detail the background to the founding of the Society and how its founders and their successors worked. It explains how their plans were put into practice, how they governed and how they acquired support. It skilfully deals with questions that are still asked today such as to what extent are children to be held responsible for wrongdoing? And are courts the correct arena for dealing with juveniles, to what institutions, if any, should they be sent and to what extent should parents be held responsible for them?

Dr Whitten is admirably suited to write such a book. She has been a youth and family court magistrate and a member of the West Sussex Probation Committee. She has lectured widely on criminal justice matters, including criminal justice policy and criminology at the University of London and sentencing theory, policy and practice at the University of Ulster. She has also presented for Centrex, now the National Policing Improvement Agency, as well as contributing a weekly column to the Belfast Newsletter. Her knowledge and experience are distilled in this comprehensive and well-written book.

The Philanthropic Society began by opening homes where children were trained in cottage industries under the instruction of skilled tradesmen. In 1806 the Society was incorporated by statute and by 1848 it had assisted 1,500 children with only one in twenty returning to criminal activity. The homes were deemed a success and in 1854 the Reformatory School Act permitted the courts to send juveniles to the Societies' homes instead of prison. Nonetheless, the homes were to some extent taking on the characteristics of prisons in order to prevent the inmates from absconding. Eventually, government funding and the call to take youngsters found guilty of serious crimes, meant the homes began to function as approved schools. And after the Children and Young Person's Act of 1933 established juvenile courts, the Society's Redhill Farm School became an approved school regulated by the Children's Department at the Home Office.

In 1987 the Society, since 1952 named the Royal Philanthropic Society, re-launched itself into the community and endeavoured to influence government policy. In 1964 it registered with the Charities Commission as Rainer after incorporating the probation pioneering Rainer Foundation. In 2008 it merged with Crime Concern and with Home Office funding it aimed to extend crime prevention beyond the remit of the professional police. Later rebranded as Catch 22 it provides for some 40,000 young people living in difficult circumstances in 150 communities across the United Kingdom. In this way its concerns today are similar to those of the Philanthropic founders who set out to nip crime in the bud.

Historically, the prime influence of the Society since 1788 has been to change the approach of society to young people involved in crime and delinquency, welfare dependency and social exclusion. The treatment of young people accused of crimes today is light years away from the death and degrading tortures of the time when the Society was founded. Its story, first set out fully in this book, contributes now to the debate on the big society and how it can tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

John Hostettler, legal historian

Serial Killers

'This book is a stunning success, managing to both advance academic debate whilst at the same time, making the reformist agenda more accessible and attractive to a wider audience.'
Prison Service Journal

'This is a vigorously written and lively work. If it not for the subject, the adjective "enjoyable" might, without injustice, be attached to that description."
Justice of the Peace

'A timely - and because of its quality - a significant contribution to the field'
Homicide Studies (USA)

'I recommend David Wilson's book most enthusiastically'
Internet Law Book Reviews

For more information and to order, click HERE

Doing Justice Better

'One of the leading writers in the [restorative justice] campaign... intelligent and helpful... an urgent call to action particularly about the penal crisis which hangs permanently over this country's head.'
Justice of the Peace (Nov 2007)

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The New Ministry of Justice and The New Home Office

'This is a starting point for future evaluations of the MOJ'.
T.P. Wolf, British Politics Newsletter

'Bryan Gibson is well placed to explain the new system to us, having been associated with the criminal justice system for some considerable time. This is a book that should be read by everybody involved in the Criminal Justice System.'
Rob Jerrard, Internet Law Book Reviews.

'These two guides will prove invaluable for anyone trying to get their head around the 21st century new world of criminal justice.'
Thames View.

'It is now possible to study both new departments following the commendable speed with which Waterside Press have published these two informative books... There is no sign of haste in the writing of the books which cover in exemplary detail the functions of both new bodies...These two books contain a wealth of material, including historical and current political background, useful appendices and facts about the new departments and their wide-ranging functions which will be appreciated by all involved in the numerous agencies of the criminal justice system. Judges, magistrates, police and prison officers, those involved with probation and social services, court clerks and others who read these books will gain valuable insights into the purposes, powers and day to day functioning of these new bodies and how they will affect both their work and the lives of citizens of the United Kingdom... Bryan Gibson and Waterside Press are to be congratulated on producing these stimulating books so soon after such a fundamental change was effected.'
Justice of the Peace (Sept 2007)

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The Blantyre House Prison Affair

'[Murtagh is] convincing in his assertion that the blame for the situation at Blantyre House was misdirected and presents sound evidence to show that the ideas behind the prison are sound, if applied correctly to the appropriate people.'
Reference & Research Book News (USA).

'What this book does very effectively is make you think about all that goes on in prison in spite of the intended regime. It raises a number of issues: human rights versus enforcement; should career criminals be offered resettlement; how rich criminals can potentially corrupt staff; and whether politicians contribute light or heat to any debate about prisons. Blantyre House is a good place to start thinking about prisons.'
The Magistrate

'A strikingly interesting and well written book'
Justice of the Peace

'I was emotionally gripped by this book as soon as I had began reading the foreword by former Director General of the Prison Service, Martin Narey. His courageous introductory piece sets the scene for what follows - an absorbing and most disturbing account of events and controversy that began at one of the UK's less well-known (and happily less notorious) prison establishments in 2003, and then developed to engulf the author - Tom Murtagh - then area manager for the Prison Service in Kent, Surrey & Sussex.
This, of course, is the story as seen and told from one person's perspective - the person who came to be at the very centre of events. But the way Tom Murtagh tells it - with careful chronology and detailing of those events, will surely leave most readers with the view of the aptness of the author's chosen sub-title '…a modern day witch hunt…'. In successive, and equally fascinating, chapters, Mutagh tells how, from initial hushed suspicions and warnings within the privacy of the internal management of the Prison Service, the saga took on a life of its own, and culminated in the very public arena of the committee rooms of the House of Commons, with the Home Affairs Select Committee '…seemingly beguiled by prisoners and supporters of the former governor…', subjecting the author, Martin Narey and Prisons' Minister, Paul Boateng to, what Murtagh describes as '…harsh and quite baseless criticism…' for the actions taken'.
John Raine, Vista (July 2007)

‘This is a story that needs a public airing no matter which side the reader finally comes down on. Blantyre House... found itself at the centre of a scandal’.
The Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe MP, former Prisons Minister

'Tom Murtagh's actions 'not only preserved all that was good about the Blantyre regime . . . but may have saved my job and perhaps that of the Home Secretary.'
Martin Narey, Director of Barnardo's and former Director-General of HM Prison Service - from the Foreword

'..sounds a warning about the effectiveness and legitimacy of our institutions and for public accountability as a whole.'
David Faulkner CB, Oxford University Centre for Criminological Research

'If I could recommend one book about HM Prison Service to National Offender Management Service staff and students of politics, criminology and forensic psychology this would undoubtedly be it.'
Professor Graham Towl, Chief Psychologist, National Offender Management Service, Home Office

'Progress needs people like Tom Murtagh'.
David Cottle, Then-chair, Blantyre House Board of Visitors

For more information and to order, click HERE

Pit of Shame

'Pit of Shame contains a wealth of interesting detail about everyday life in Reading gaol over 400 years ... The author does not shy away from even the most disturbing aspects of his story. Pit of Shame will repay reading in many ways and its fascinating story, accessibly told, should stimulate the desire to know more about a neglected area of life.'
Brian Dempsey, SCOLAG.

'This is a remarkable and compassionate book by a remarkable and compassionate man...This is a meticulous and insightful book, its appendices, illustrations and tables are informative and never, ever dull...Stokes has written the definitive history of Reading Gaol and he has underlined how little the rest of us know about what life can be like when the cell door slams. Oscar Wilde knew it. Stokes knows it from the other side but has the soul to make us stop and think. I recommend this book. Don't flip through it, but read it with care. You will learn about Oscar Wilde, the 1916 internees and the very stones and smell of Reading Gaol will come to you. Once you pick it up, perhaps on a stopping train that goes through Reading, I am convinced you won't put it down and that at the end you will feel humbled and uplifted. I was.'
Henry Kelly, Irish Times

'The ballad is presented in this fascinating book with explanatory comments that give fresh insights into its meaning by Anthony Stokes, a sensitive senior prison officer who works in the prison today. The metaphor, "Pit of Shame", is taken from the poem but despite its title the book is far more than an examination of Wilde's work. It tells the history of the prison from early times including some of its most notorious and infamous prisoners such as Thomas Jennings, Amelia Dyer - the serial killer of babies - and Stacey Keach, the Hollywood actor...This book is a must for anyone interested in crime, punishment, prisons and English literature.'
John Hostettler, The Legal Executive

'Stokes manages to integrate some very dramatic anecdotes into the general history, and even more interestingly, he develops some rare insights into prison experience....his analysis of the social history and political manoeuvres behind Wilde's transfer to Reading contains new material on the whole subject, and I advise any Wilde scholars to read this book for that reason alone.'
Stephen Wade, Internet Law Book Reviews

'Packed with little gems of fact...painting at times a horrific but nonetheless complete picture of life in the prison through the ages.'
Sol Malhotra, Inside Time

For more information and to order, click HERE

Justice for William

'I confess that I did not find the book comfortable reading and almost put it to one side after the first couple of chapters. I’m glad that I continued with it as it taught me to be even more understanding in relating to those who suffer...Suffering need not destroy. Their book is a testimony to that fact'.
Terry Waite CBE

'As I progressed through Justice For William, I was compelled to severely disrupt my normal daily routines, in the vain hope of being able to race to the last gripping page in a single session. I strongly commend this story of extreme horror to those naive members of the largely law-abiding populace who, in their innocent naivety, are unaware that most incidents dramatised and portrayed on their television screens nightly, in action-packed soaps and screen dramas are in fact borrowed from real life events, which brought sheer disbelief and utter misery to the surviving relatives of actual victims. Most of all I would recommend it to Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, Consultant Psychiatrists, Criminologists, Senior Police Officers, Prison Governors, Coroners, members of the legal profession, Crown Prosecution Service, Senior Judiciary, Magistracy, the Sentencing Advisory Council and Human Rights protagonists'.
Michael Hughes, Internet Law Book Reviews, February 2007

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Drugs, Victims and Race

'Giving the growing number of black and ethnic people entering prison in the UK and the frightening example of the dramatic racialisation of prisons in America arising from the so-called war on drugs, this is an important issue for politicians, criminal justice professionals and the wider public.
Kalunta-Crumpton draws on her own previous research to show that police, prosecution and court discretion is often used to construct a picture of drug possession by black people being intended for supply, whilst that of white people is more readily ascribed to personal use.
This book provides a useful overview of some of the critical issues in relation to race and drug policy...this is a book that raises important issues that deserve to be heard and to be responded to by politicians and professionals'.
Jamie Bennett, Prison Service Jounal

'Having read the book, I am left with two very powerful insights. One comes from Kushlik (2004) who says, 'it is invariably the weakest links in the illegal drug chain (peasant growers, drug 'mules' and problematic users) who feel the greatest impact of drug law enforcement....... The bigger players have the resources to evade legal consequences and bargaining powers (as informants) if they are caught'. the second insight is the real damage that is done to effective planning and co-operation nationally and internationally by a prevailing view that sees the drug problem as something caused by others - foreigners and aliens... The analysis presented in this book is essential to anyone wanting to get behind the headlines, initiative and scare stories, and try to recapture an approach based on rational analysis to one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement today'.
David Sleightholm, Vista

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Fighting For Justice

'Interestingly characterises the emergence of adversary trial, in which defence counsel is allowed to cross-examine the prosecution, as the genesis of a recognisably modern human rights culture, which has subsequently expanded across the developed world.'
Thames View (June 2007)

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Restorative Justice in Prisons

'This is essential reading not just for those interested in penal policy, but for anyone with a broader interest in effecting organisational change.'
Thames View (June 2007)

'This is a wonderfully useful tool for influencing policymakers towards a better system. Meticulously researched and rationally argued throughout, the authors speak direct to government, police and prison service on their own terms, neatly arguing that all those institutions will achieve their objectives, if they adopt the restorative approach .... This is a practical handbook, written by professionals ... <Actinic:Variable Name = 'with'/> a wonderfully reflective Foreword by Erwin James, a lifer, that will capture the imagination .... There are wonderful insights in this book as we would expect from two professionals who have devoted so much of their lives to work in our prisons. The small gestures of human feeling that pass betwen officers and inmates; the detailed case studies of violence; the experience of Belgian prisons; the damaging side effects of imprisonment and most impressively the list of prisons that have moved towards the restorative model. But it is the authors' unerring grasp of current police, prison and government cultures and their confidence that these can be moved gently towards restorative justice, that makes this book so significant for prison reform'.
John Myhill JP, The Magistrate, January 2007.

'In the hands of creative and visionary correctional leaders, [this book] will inevitably serve to inspire and equip them toward meaningful and lasting change. For many people, the marriage of restorative justice and prisons is an unimaginable relationship – one destined to produce either still birth or monster child. Much of what has been written about restorative justice in the past can readily be characterized as a criticism of the power and processes embedded in the more familiar “find, prove and punish” criminal justice system we’ve become used to. At its extreme, some restorative justice writers define the concept in almost revolutionary terms – restoring to the average person the conflicts which have been stolen from them by their government. Any attempt to work with existing criminal justice players, from this viewpoint, is seen as undermining the true intent of the restorative justice movement.

On the other hand, for most societies, prisons have become the extreme embodiment of punishment. It is the most severe expression of control which the government can exercise over its population. In application, prisons have given rise to cultures which are largely oppressive – based on discipline, regimentation and control. On the surface, it seems the least likely candidate as a breeding ground for restorative justice. It is easy to imagine restorative justice dying under the weight of this oppression or being transformed into yet another tool to justify the control of the state.

At least, that is what it looks like in caricatured world.

In this book, Edgar and Newell sensitively and realistically cover much needed territory. They offer restorative justice advocates a much clearer picture of the prison context. At the same time, they offer those involved with prisons a much clearer picture of restorative justice. While never denying the inherit challenges and incompatibilities that exist between prisons and restorative justice, the authors offer astute observations about numerous practical opportunities for transforming the prison experience so that it can contribute broadly to a restorative response to crime.

Using the first two chapters to introduce some core theory about restorative justice, its application and potential role in prisons, the authors next venture into a comprehensive overview of prison cultures. By identifying an organizational culture web that consists of six dimensions (power structures, organisational structures, control systems, routines/rituals, myths/stories, symbols), they are able to isolate specific ideas and examples of how to affect broad based culture change within prisons. Moreover, the fifth chapter translates this into a more detailed description of a restorative prison and focuses on three key areas to illustrate how restorative justice could be brought to life. The sixth chapter identifies trends within the United Kingdom that seem to compel and support the evolution of restorative justice prisons in that country. In the seventh and final chapter, the authors offer key advice about areas that require special attention in pursuing the objective of restorative prisons.

More than a philosophical argument for restorative justice in prisons, Edgar and Newell draw heavily on their personal and professional experiences as well as on those of others. Their observations are grounded firmly in the real world. As their title suggests, the book compels one to action. While the frequent references specific to U.K. prisons can be somewhat disorienting to foreign eyes, the lessons that underlie them are universal. This book would be an asset to anyone interested in the evolution of prison roles. In the hands of creative and visionary correctional leaders, it will inevitably serve to inspire and equip them toward meaningful and lasting change.

Scott Harris, Director, Restorative Justice, Correctional Service of Canada

'A book of international importance . . . An authoritative guide' This unique volume addresses a major gap in the already impressive range of literature on Restorative Justice. Not even the most comprehensive study to date, Sullivan and Tifft (eds.) A Handbook of Restorative Justice: a Global Perspective (2006), touches the critical issue of the place of restorative processes in prisons. Edgar and Newell’s persuasive and well-documented work is therefore of international importance.

Edgar and Newell are persuaded that restorative processes have ‘great potential to humanize prisons, improve safety, enhance social order, and make the experience less hostile and damaging for all concerned.’ They are also keenly aware that prisons can serve as sanctuaries in which prisoners are prepared for re-integration into civil society. But surely, some might argue, that is precisely what is happening in prisons already. After all, the Statement of Purpose for HM Prisons declares the duty to care for prisoners ‘with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.’ But as the fascinating history of HM Prisons reveals, vision and reality do not yet fully converge. To be sure, the system has been changing in very profound ways over the past 250 years in response to new wisdom and societal understandings. (See, for example, Brodie, Croom and Davies’ illustrated Behind Bars: The Hidden Architecture of England’s Prisons, 1999). The book by Edgar and Newell is part of that creative process.

Ultimately, justice is about values, and it is these that the authors are particularly adept at exploring. Those in correctional professions will find themselves challenged to re-think the cultures of restraint and authority which characterize much of prison life. But they will be aided along the way by expert authors who fully understand the deep tensions inherent among contending philosophies of justice and correctional practice. The authors respect and explain the significant differences between the two major correctional approaches: RJ on the one hand, and what one generally refers to as ‘the retributive approach’ on the other. They reject the notion of some justice practitioners that RJ is a ‘soft touch’ that does not give criminals ‘what they deserve;’ they reject equally the notion of some RJ advocates who find prisons anathema. The authors do not see prisons and RJ as standing necessarily in opposition at all. Indeed, they remain convinced that the restorative focus on the stakeholders of any crime – victims, offenders, community, and indeed justice officials themselves – make it an ideal complement to the criminal justice system. Central to this view is RJ’s methods of problem-solving and dealing with trauma. A distinctive strength of RJ is its future-orientation that sets its sights on re-integrative and healing outcomes. It aims at harmony rather than merely order for its own sake.

The authors introduce their subject by defining Restorative Justice, examining its varieties of emphasis and approach, and elucidating the concepts of empowerment and particularity. The latter focuses on the unique aspects of each situation, and recognizes that no two situations of harm are ever precisely the same. This often calls for different solutions to apparently similar conflicts. Continuing in this vein, the authors compare RJ and the criminal justice system in the UK , and evaluate RJ and prisons. Subsequent chapters deal with ‘restorative values’ (such as healing, voluntary participation, inclusiveness and personal accountability), organizational culture (i.e. ‘the cultural web of prisons’), resistance to change (i.e. conflicting paradigms, social order in prison, cultural resistance within the police), and suggest a model for the restorative prison. The book blends both theory and practice. Thus it examines the foundations of a restorative prison, operational applications of RJ, restorative work in pre-release and complaints, responsibility in sentencing, and the National Action Plan to Reduce Re-Offending. It concludes with clear guidance for criminal justice agencies and summarizes the experience of using restorative methods in prisons. Appendices provide case-studies, and a glossary of terms.

One area receives rather less overt attention than others: the role of faith traditions in RJ practice. Perhaps this is because the demographics of the UK do not yet reveal a significant level of pluralism and multiculturalism. Yet, if media reports are any indication, that time will come very soon. Meanwhile, countries like New Zealand and Canada have led in this field in both theory and practice. Here the Handbook, mentioned above, devotes a number of chapters to the diverse spiritual foundations of RJ, to multi faith reflection on crime, and on justice as sanctuary. These chapters recognize RJ as a spiritual process that can transform persons, situations and institutions. That said, these understandings underpin the volume by Edgar and Newell. The authors are implicitly aware of the bedrock foundations on which their arguments rest. Their book on Restorative Justice in Prisons is an authoritative guide to making it happen.

Michael L. Hadley, University of Victoria, Canada

For more information and to order, click HERE

Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice\n

'The strength of this book is in its clear positioning as a practitioner perspective on the dilemmas facing criminal justice professionals working in the UK today. It carries the authority of an author with personal experience of some of the most challenging work the system has to offer, and conveys the genuine passion Cornwell feels about trying to achieve real justice. It is written in a straightforward and unpretentious style which at times borders on the colloquial but which conveys a great deal of information in short, manageable chunks that busy pratitioners will no doubt appreciate... what is exciting about this book is that the arguments for change in criminal justice practices in four countries discussed are presented cogently by people who are involved in practice and policy making, and who have first hand knowledge of the real life experiences of both offenders and victims within their systems. Each of these contributions has the style of an informal lecture rather than an academic chapter, and this makes easch of them lively and accessible. This is my view makes Criminal Punishment and Restorative Justice a valuable and relevant text for practitioners, academics and students': Vista

'Dr Cornwell writes with both students of criminology and criminal justice practitioners in mind, though the issues he addresses will resonate with a much wider professional audience in law, the social sciences, philosophy and politics. He encourages his readers to challenge the conventional wisdom of the criminal justice system in their thinking about the purpose of punishment.'Internet Law Book Reviews

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Police Ethics

'Necessary reading for all police practitioners.'
Donald Urquhart, SCOLAG

'An in-depth and concise book concerning the issues of morality, ethics and integrity within public policing...a thoughtful dialogue that seeks to engage the reader to the complex subjects covered through the utilisation of factual case studies.'
Faiza Qureshi, Internet Law Book Reviews

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'A simple effective argument against the use of capital punishment... One would place this book on George Bush's reading list after he finishes "My Pet Goat"'
Howard League Magazine

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Penal Policy and Political Culture

'I dislike heaping so much praise on a book, as people often imagine another agenda, purpose or friendship is at stake. That makes writing a review of Penal Policy and Political Culture all the more difficult. This really is an excellent book and it is very difficult to put down. For those with and interest in the small 'p' politics of penal policy, it will be of immense appeal. Students enrolled on courses looking at pressure groups and their influence - or lack thereof - will not find a better text. For those at the coal axe - governors, managers, officers and prisoners - it will fascinate and enlighten. And for reformers, it is something of a manifesto. Utterly Superb'
Steve Taylor, Prison Service Journal

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'I doubt if the new offender managers will be as responsive to the lessons of a life like his s Dame Helena Kennedy is in the commendable - and commending - foreword in this book. Shame.' (Mike Nellis also makes certain criticisms of this book in contrasting with what he clearly admired in Bob Turney's earlier book I'm Still Standing in particular Bob's 'Tales of the Underworld' and broad reflections on criminal justice. But rightly casts Bob's life efforts and links to people such as the late Lord Longford in a more glowing light).
Mike Nellis, Glasgow School of Social Work, University of Strathclyde, Vista (2007)

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Crime, State and Citizen


'There have sadly been all too few substantive volumes on [criminal justice], and certainly none to match the breadth and depth of Faulkner's contribution. As a result, this volume is a 'must read' not only for students and scholars of criminal justice but also for the community of practitioners who work within it too. The Foreword to this second edition by Rod Morgan, whose wisdom and leadership at the Youth Justice Board will now be sadly missed following his resignation (in the thick of the storm that has recently been brewing round the Home Secretary and his department), amply underlines the significance of David Faulkner's analysis of contemporary criminal justice:

An unusually broad and penetrating analysis of criminal justice policy yoked to a deep, personal commitment to an ethical view of the proper role of the state and the rights of citizens

A measured analysis that will command respect and recognition whatever the ideological predisposition of the reader. Written in the engagingly personal style that is the hallmark of one who understands deeply the importance that criminal justice processes should reflect and be embedded in, not isolated from, the value base of a decent and caring society...This is a text that, were it to be sitting invitingly at the top of the next Home Secretary's in-tray, could just be the catalyst for the fresh start that seems increasingly to be needed'
John Raine, Vista (2007)

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Prison on Trial


'This book does exactly what is says on the cover: it puts the institution of imprisonment on trial...this is vitally important...Retains its place as a leading presentation of the abolitionist case.'
Prison Service Journal

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The Criminal Jury Old and New

'This book not only addresses the variation in the form and function of the jury, but also provides an insightful analysis of...criminal procedure and the trial system in general'
Scolag Legal Journal

'This book is not only informative but uplifting. By the end one realises that we do not just live in a democracy, but largely thanks to the existence if independently-minded juries, we live in a liberal democracy'
Justice of the Peace

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Ballot Box to Jury Box\n

'This is, without doubt, a special book .... I have read many judicial biographies and autobiographies but this one stands out for the serious business and the special cause which John Baker has stood for: it is a great addition to the world of judicial biography': Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Chambers Reviews

'A well-written, well-constructed work deserving a wide readership'
Internet Law Book Reviews

'This is, without doubt, a special book ... it is a very human book ... Any member of the bar who has an interest in pursuing a judicial career should read this book. It is written very much in the personal style of the man himself and paints a most useful picture of the path which the judiciary have taken since the big changes of the 1970s and the creation of the Judicial Studies Board... I have read many biographies and autobiographies but this one stands out for the serious business and the special cause which John Baker has stood for: it is a great addition to the world of judicial biography.'
Surrey Lawyer (Autumn 2007)

'Entertaining ... this is an engaging account of a fascinating man, whose one philosophy saw the law as a means to achieve justice rather than an obstacle to the right result'.
John Cooper, Media Review, The Times

'A candid and often humorous autobiography'
Parkshot News

'His Honour John Baker, knows how to tell a good story ... there is much to enjoy in these memoirs. Well known figures, political and non political populate its pages but they never intrude on ... a story set against the wider canvas of post-war British life'
Paul Hunt, Club News

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Grendon Tales

'Written in an accessible fly on the wall style ... Ursula Smartt manages to dovetail individual accounts of the therapy and the Grendon regime with clear explanations of the principles and background to the psychotherapeutic processes. Grendon Tales is as readable as a novel, in fact I could not put it down until finished'
The Magistrate

Ursula Smartt describes her new book, Grendon Tales, as an ‘academic Silence of the Lambs’. Jacky Byrne spoke to her about her experiences interviewing high security prisoners at the only therapeutic community prison in Britain:
It does not take a huge leap of the imagination from there to imagine the blue eyed, blonde-haired prison researcher Ursula Smartt at work on her latest book, interviewing high-security prisoners behind the walls of Grendon, currently the only therapeutic community prison in the UK.
For the book, Grendon Tales, Ursula spent long hours face-to-face with rapists, murderers and paedophiles, hearing their life stories, exposing herself to the labyrinthine workings of criminal minds laid bare by the intensive psychotherapy programmes of Grendon.
The experience left her raw but undamaged, unlike Jody Foster's character. With the help of weekly therapeutic debriefing sessions with the "shrinks" at Grendon which helped her make sense of it, she feels that she emerged stronger than ever.
Born in Gelsenkirchen in Germany's Ruhr and brought up in a female-dominated household, Ursula first came to England as an exchange student and returned as an au pair at 17. She studied at the University of Hull and became a modern languages and PE teacher, working among other places, at King Edward's in Witley. She also worked as a personnel manager for Trusthouse Forte in Glasgow and London and married the journalist Mike Smartt, currently editor-in-chief of BBC News Online. For the past 10 years, Ursula, who has homes in London and Godalming, has been a senior lecturer of law and criminology at Thames Valley University and has conducted extensive research for the Home Office.
Her shift to criminology came after a trip accompanying a group of law students to Wormwood Scrubs. "I'd never been in prison before and I was shocked by the remand conditions. That very night I decided to change careers." Her doctoral research compared remand conditions for adult males in England and Germany, finding that remand prisoners were treated worse than those who had been committed, although pre-trial detainees in mid-90s UK were better off than those in continental Europe.
Three years ago she was approached by a publisher to write a book on Grendon, the prison near Aylesbury which broke new ground when it was established 40 years ago. Since then, other European countries have embraced the democratically-run therapeutic community model, but Grendon, with just 200 places for adult males, has remained the only one in Britain. A new therapeutic community unit is, however, to open at the privately run Dovegate prison.
Ursula, who knew the governor of Grendon, was fortunate to gain access to a prison about which the public knows surprisingly little. Because of the democratic nature of the community, prisoners and staff voted on whether to allow her access. Recalling the grueling meeting in which she had to present her credentials to the first wing community, B wing, she said "I felt really nervous but I stated my case. After five minutes the prisoners, who are used to "therapising" each other, began to therapise me. They got it out of me that I was once a bunny girl for nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow in Leeds. I think that swung it," she laughs.
But it was also the desire to tell their own stories that made the inmates vote her in. "All of them had hit the headlines with their crimes and now they were forgotten in the prison system. They wanted a taste of fame again. But some had also learnt victim empathy through their therapy and they wanted the victims, the victims' families and their own families to hear their side of the story in the form of this book. All the prisoners I spoke to were victims themselves of severe sexual, physical and mental abuse in childhood and all turned to crime through their social circumstances early in their teens. They started with petty crime and by 14 or 15 many were armed robbers or drug dealers."
Eventually Ursula was allowed access to all the wings, even the serious sex offenders' wing, G wing. Prisoners self-refer themselves to Grendon and an above-average IQ is a pre-qualification, so the mind games were often complex. "The first guy I met on G wing was Norman and when I was transcribing his tape alone I felt very disturbed. He described how he stalked girls and stole their gym wear ... and then there was the rapist with the Oedipus complex, Martin.
"They do a sort of action replay and go into therapy with you. They forget you're a prison researcher and you become the rape victim - it's called transference. There were times when I looked to the panic button - the way they work on your psyche is scary. I reacted to it by listening to loud music from heavy metal to Rachmaninov on my way home and with some severe shopping therapy in Bicester. Also by going to the gym and playing sport and with therapeutic help from the shrinks at the prison and a probation officer. Once I'd written it all down I felt relieved. But I wonder what it does to prison officers who have to facilitate this sort of therapy every day?"
Although Ursula does not want to sensationalise her subject, she admits the book is a "sort of academic Silence of the Lambs". The dialogue between her and the prisoners is occasionally amusing, often chilling and always shockingly revealing. But though the voyeuristic undertones cannot be avoided - and therein will lie the book's popular appeal - ultimately this is a serious work which draws conclusions which themselves throw up further questions. Does the therapeutic community work? Ursula is uncharacteristically ambivalent. What can we hope for with a serious criminal - that he no longer robs banks or commits rape and can have a normal sexual relationship? In that sense, I think it can work, Grendon can turn an armed robber into an artist. But in the end I think they get hooked on the therapist or on group therapy. I think they have to do it for themselves."
She also questions the workings of the self-referral system which leads to ethnic minorities being woefully under-represented at Grendon and is sceptical about the chances of the successful reform of criminals in the long-term if they are returned to mainstream prison after their spell in Grendon ends. She calls for more units like Grendon and recommends legislation making a stint in a therapeutic community mandatory for very violent sex offenders and those with serious personality disorders, as it is in Germany. This should be in the last three years of their sentence and afterwards they should be released into open prisons. More research, she says, is needed to see how Grendon prisoners fare when "thrown" back into the "overcrowded, drug and violence culture" of mainstream prisons, and to see if they re-offend. "The jury is still out, certainly on paedophiles," she says.
FROM THE SURREY ADVERTISER LIFESTYLE 23 MARCH 2001 © Surrey Advertiser/Jacky Byrne Reproduced with permission

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Prison Writing

'It would be safe to say that the editors have done a skillful job of soliciting, editing, and publishing a range prisoner writing that touches on themes that are nearly universal to life behind bars and the preoccupations of those who serve time. Many of these writers remark on the transformative power of the acts of reading and writing, act that they admit they would not have engaged in if they had been on the outside. The fact that four of the authors were awarded prize money for their contributions by the publisher can only serve to encourage them to develop the writing talents that they possess and to improve their skills at what they have found rewarding after the bleakness of their prison lives'.
N. Prabha Unnithan, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, appeared in International Criminal Justice Review (June 2007)

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Bogus Law Reports

'One can truly say of this work - as for so few of its kind - that it is an essential addition to every lawyer's bookshelf...[Gibson's] clear message, amply reinforced by the authorities, is that the most fragile of arguments can be given unassailable credence by the timely use of the telling phrase...If your reviewer has a quibble, it is perhaps that the index actually works:...I had hoped for a really poor index.'
The Justices Clerk

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