From the Publisher
From its original publication onwards, The Penal System has proved itself a sure and authoritative guide to the post-war history and character of the penal system of England and Wales. Unrivalled as a textbook on the subject, its authors, now strengthened by the addition of George Mair, combine the analysis of trends with a clear sense of narrative and an eye for the telling detail. It is a masterly achievement, invaluable for students and teachers alike.
Professor Emeritus of Social Policy, The Mannheim Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, London School of Economics
I have read successive editions of The Penal System since I was an undergraduate. It has been an indispensible companion on my journey through the criminal justice system. Today it continues to be a vital resource for critically examining and understanding the use of punishment in England and Wales.
Dr. Jamie Bennett
Research Associate, Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford
The Penal System, written by three heavyweights of penological study, is an excellent introductory text for anyone interested in this area. It is intelligently written and explains complex issues in an accessible and engaging way. I will definitely be recommending this to my Penology Students.
Dr. Karen Harrison
Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Hull
While there is clearly a great deal of researched and developed expertisecontained in this book, it lacks experiential insights into the penal system whichmeans that some of the theories explored are untested. The book is, however, a positive contribution to undergraduate studies in terms of understanding the criminal justice system at a macro level; and it may represent a valuable resource to other authors and researchers. While I have outlined some of my reservations above I would, nonetheless recommend it as prerequisite reading for those wishing to further their theoretical understanding of the penal system.
Cavadino and Dignan (both: law, U. of Sheffield, UK) provide an overview of the English penal system operative in England and Wales. Although they have tried to outline differing viewpoints and offer a comprehensive overview of the literature, they have not been shy about sharing their opinion that the English penal system is unjustly and irrationally harsh, and that it needs radical revision. Reflecting the belief that the penal system can't be studied apart from criminal justice as a whole, chapters look at justifying punishment, explaining punishment, court decisions, community penalties, prison privatization, early release, the treatment of young offenders, and bias in the criminal justice system. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
British Journal of Sociology
"This book provides the reader with a fascinating insight into the factors that helped shape penal philosophies and approaches ot punishment across a variety of different countries." —Barbara Mason, London School of Economics and Political Science