The Penal System: An Introduction

Front Cover
SAGE, Sep 17, 2007 - Social Science - 488 pages

'.. the most authoritative and sophisticated textbook on the penal system of England and Wales. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the causes, character and consequences of the current penal 'crisis'.

David Downes, Mannheim Centre of Criminology, London School of Economics.

'What do you look for in a good textbook ? You would expect it to be as up-to-date as possible. To be presented in a clear and accessible style. To cover the issues comprehensively. The Penal System delivers in all of these ways. Mick Cavadino and Jim Dignan write with passion and authority, which makes for an immensely readable book. If there is such a thing as an ideal textbook, then this is it.'

George Mair, Professor in Criminal Justice, Liverpool John Moores University.

'...remains the most comprehensive, up-to-date, and readable text on the subject.'

Yvonne Jewkes, Reader in Criminology, The Open University

'The perfect mix of the theoretical and the practical, Cavadino and Dignan's updated book is the smartest, cutting-edge textbook available on the crucial subject of penology.'

Shadd Maruna, Queen's University Belfast

'.....the book remains an essential resource for students in criminology and criminal justice. The authors are hugely effective in delivering a comprehensive guide to criminal justice issues in the 21st century. Students will also find the self-study guide to electronic sources immensely helpful.'

Loraine Gelsthorpe, University of Cambridge.

The revised and updated edition of this bestselling textbook is the most integrated and authoritative overview of the penal system available.

The Penal System provides a complete introduction to all aspects of punishment within the wider context of the criminal justice system. It covers all the key theories and topics that a student of criminology or criminal justice needs to know about in their course.

The new edition features:

" Coverage of the deepening penal crisis

" New material on restorative justice

" Discussion of recent theoretical developments

" An overview of changes in the prison and probation services (NOMS)

" Critical analysis of recent developments in criminal justice policy

" A glossary of key terms and abbreviations

" An extended self-study guide to internet resources

" A companion website to keep students and teachers up-to-date with relevant legislation.

Building on the strengths of the third edition, The Penal System remains the most comprehensive analysis of theory, research and policy in the area.

Praise for previous editions:

"There are few 'must buy' books for students of criminology and criminal justice, but since its first edition in 1992 The Penal System: An Introduction has been one of them. For accuracy and scope, as well as its remarkable combination of scholarly rigour and readability, the book has no equal, and it has only got better through successive editions."

David Smith, Professor of Criminology, Lancaster University.

"For more than ten years Cavadino and Dignan have provided by far the best policy relevant and theoretically informed account of the British penal system. This new edition has only the high standards of its predecessors to beat. Cavadino and Dignan may not have managed to change the penal system for the better with their book, but no one has delivered a more accessible or intelligent account of why it is so hard to reform."

Mike Nellis, Professor of Criminal and Community Justice, University of Strathclyde

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 Crisis? What Crisis?
2 Justifying Punishment
3 Explaining Punishment
The Crux of the Crisis
5 Administering Punishment in the Community
6 Prisons and the Penal Crisis
Panacea or Pandoras Box?
The Penal Systems Safety Valve
Systems Management or System Disaster?
10 Bias in the Criminal Justice System
11 Solving the Crisis?
A Selfstudy Guide to Electronic Sources Available on the Internet
Glossary of Key Terms

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information