Listed below are books received for review over the last two months. Entries include publishing information as well as a description of the book. Unless otherwise stated, the book description is taken from the publisher’s website or the book jacket. Selected titles from this list will be chosen for a full review in forthcoming issues of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books. Previous books received are available from the links below.
|The Ashgate Companion to Biosocial Theories of Crime, edited by Kevin M. Beaver and Anthony Walsh. Farnham, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011. 447p.
“In response to exciting developments in genetics, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, a number of criminologists have embraced the position that criminal behaviour is the product of biological, psychological, and sociological factors operating together in complex ways. They have come to realize that if they are to capture the dynamic nature of criminal behaviour then they must span multiple levels of analysis and thus multiple disciplines.
The explosion of interest in this field of biosocial criminology over the past ten years means that the time is ripe for this research companion aimed at graduate students and scholars, giving them an essential overview of the current state of research in the field. The authors are experts in a variety of disciplines (sociology, psychology, biology, criminal justice, and neuroscience), but they all have in common a strong interest in criminal behaviour. This unique book will be essential and accessible reading for all students and scholars in the field.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Blowing Smoke: Rethinking the War on Drugs without Prohibition and Rehab, by Michael J. Reznicek. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. 170p.
“Dr. Reznicek provides a new framework for understanding drug abuse: the habit model. Habits are practiced as long as they provide comfort, and are abandoned when they cause pain. The habit model is more consistent with current neuroscientific knowledge and it accounts for the widely observed phenomenon that most substance abusers don’t change until they “hit bottom,” the point where the consequences of drug use finally outweigh its benefits.
|Border Junkies: Addiction and Survival on the Streets of Juárez and El Paso, by Scott Comar. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2011. 246p.
“Border Junkies is the first book ever written about the lifestyle of active addiction on the streets of Juárez. Comar vividly describes living between the disparate Mexican and American cultures and among the fellow junkies, drug dealers, hookers, coyote smugglers, thieves, and killers who were his friends and neighbors in addiction—and the social workers, missionaries, shelter workers, and doctors who tried to help him escape. With the perspective of his anthropological training, he shows how homelessness, poverty, and addiction all fuel the use of narcotics and the rise in their consumption on the streets of Juárez and contribute to the societal decay of this Mexican urban landscape. Comar also offers significant insights into the U.S.-Mexico borderland’s underground and peripheral economy and the ways in which the region’s inhabitants adapt to the local economic terrain.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Crime and Punishment: A Concise Moral Critique, by Hyman Gross. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 280p.
“It is generally assumed that we are justified in punishing criminals because they have committed a morally wrongful act. Determining when criminal liability should be imposed calls for a moral assessment of the conduct in question, with criminal liability tracking as closely as possible the contours of morality. Versions of this view are frequently argued for in philosophical accounts of crime and punishment, and seem to be presumed by lawyers and policy makers working in the criminal justice system.
Challenging such assumptions, this book considers the dominant justifications of punishment and subjects them to a piercing moral critique. It argues that none overcome the objection that people who are convicted of a serious crime and sent to prison have their basic human rights violated. The institution of criminal punishment is shown to be a regrettable necessity not deserving of the moral enthusiasm it enjoys among many politicians and the popular press. From a moral point of view, punishment is entitled at best to grudging toleration.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Crime, Governance and Existential Predicaments, edited by James Hardie-Bick & Ronnie Lippens. London; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 216p.
“Existentialist thought had a significant impact on the 20th century philosophical landscape. With concepts such as freedom, choice, transcendence, anguish and bad faith, existentialist writers rigorously defended the principle of self determination and maintained that our life choices are ultimately our own responsibility. In a very contingent 21st century, a number of sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, psychotherapists and criminologists are now re-discovering the significance of existentialism for their own disciplines. In this collection the focus is on the existential predicaments and choices that underpin current debates and developments in the governance of crime and criminal justice. The contributions included aim to further criminologists’ acknowledgement and understanding of existentialist thought, as well as their appreciation of the relevance of existentialist thought for enhancing a critical and philosophically inspired criminological imagination.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|A Criminal Power: James Baldwin and the Law, by D. Quentin Miller. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2012. 187p.
“James Baldwin, one of the major African American writers of the twentieth century, has been the subject of a substantial body of literary criticism. As a prolific and experimental author with a marginal perspective—a black man during segregation and the Civil Rights era, a homosexual at a time when tolerance toward gays was not common—Baldwin has fascinated readers for over half a century. Yet Baldwin’s critics have tended to separate his weighty, complex body of work and to examine it piecemeal. A Criminal Power: James Baldwin and the Law is the first thematic study to analyze the complete scope of his work. It accomplishes this through an expansive definition and thorough analysis of the social force that oppressed Baldwin throughout his life: namely, the law. Baldwin, who died in 1987, attempted suicide in 1949 at the age of 25 after spending eight days in a French prison following an absurd arrest for “receiving stolen goods”—a sheet that his acquaintance had taken from a hotel. This seemingly trite incident made Baldwin painfully aware of what he would later call the law’s “criminal power.”
Up to now, the only book-length studies to address Baldwin’s entire career have been biographies and artistic “portraits.” D. Quentin Miller corrects this oversight in a comprehensive volume that addresses and unifies all of Baldwin’s work. Miller asserts that the Baldwin corpus is a testament to how the abuse of power within the American legal, judicial, and penal systems manifested itself in the twentieth century.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|The Fast and the Furious: Drivers, Speed Cameras and Control in a Risk Society, by Helen Wells. Farnham, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. 242p.
“The Fast and The Furious: Drivers, Speed Cameras and Control in a Risk Society presents a sociological and criminological perspective critical to understanding the driver’s role at the centre of road safety interventions. Such an approach is, it is argued, as crucial to an understanding of attempts to reduce road crashes, deaths and injuries as approaching such questions from an engineering or educational perspective.
The book offers an explanation for the continued debate about one road safety intervention – the speed camera – by situating that debate within contemporary literature about the ‘risk society’ (Beck, 1992) and more broadly understood experiences of risk faced on a daily basis by drivers. Rather than a focus on risk as something that can be objectively assessed, measured and managed separately from the social context in which it is encountered, it suggests that ‘risk’ is something that permeates this particular debate from every angle.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Gang Injunctions and Abatement: Using Civil Remedies to Curb Gang-Related Crimes, by Matthew D. O’Deane. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2011. 662p.
“As gang violence continues to rise across the country and the world, police departments, prosecutors, and community members are seeking new methods to reduce the spread of gang-related criminal activity. Civil gang injunctions have become a growing feature of crime control programs in several states across the nation. Gang Injunctions and Abatement: Using Civil Remedies to Curb Gang-Related Crimes examines the effectiveness of this strategy and explores the accompanying constitutional controversies related to freedom of speech, assembly, and other rights.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Gay and Lesbian Cops: Diversity and Effective Policing, by Roddrick A. Colvin. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2012. 213p.
“Roddrick Colvin assesses the impact of lesbian and gay police officers on law enforcement in the US and the UK, as well as the policies that enable a diverse work environment.
Colvin tracks the evolution of police agencies toward being more “gay friendly” both as employers and as service providers. He also provides insights into the day-to-day barriers and opportunities that lesbian and gay officers experience working within organizations that traditionally have been hostile to them. Integrating quantitative and qualitative research, he offers a compelling demonstration that police agencies can best fulfill their missions when they are representative of the communities they serve.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Globalization and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier, by Leanne Weber and Sharon Pickering. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Transnational Crime, Crime Control & Security Series, 2011. 264p.
“This book analyzes the political and material conditions driving contemporary border control policies and discusses the processes that mediate popular and official understandings of border-related fatalities.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|The Governor’s Hounds: The Texas State Police, by Barry A. Crouch and Donaly E. Brice. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2011. 324p.
“Drawing extensively on the wealth of previously untouched records in the Texas State Archives, as well as other contemporary sources, Barry A. Crouch and Donaly E. Brice here offer the first major objective assessment of the Texas State Police and its role in maintaining law and order in Reconstruction Texas. Examining the activities of the force throughout its tenure and across the state, the authors find that the Texas State Police actually did much to solve the problem of violence in a largely lawless state. While acknowledging that much of the criticism the agency received was merited, the authors make a convincing case that the state police performed many of the same duties that the Texas Rangers later assumed and fulfilled the same need for a mobile, statewide law enforcement agency.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Homies and Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America, by Robert Brenneman. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press. 2011. 312p.
“Why would a gun-wielding, tattoo-bearing “homie” trade in la vida loca for a Bible and the buttoned-down lifestyle of an evangelical hermano (brother in Christ)? To answer this question, Robert Brenneman interviewed sixty-three former gang members from the “Northern Triangle” of Central America–Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras–most of whom left their gang for evangelicalism. Unlike in the United States, membership in a Central American gang is hasta la morgue. But the most common exception to the “morgue rule” is that of conversion or regular participation in an evangelical church. Do gang members who weary of their dangerous lifestyle simply make a rational choice to opt for evangelical religion? Brenneman finds this is only partly the case, for many others report emotional conversions that came unexpectedly, when they found themselves overwhelmed by a sermon, a conversation, or a prayer service. An extensively researched and gritty account, Homies and Hermanos sheds light on the nature of youth violence, of religious conversion, and of evangelical churches in Central America.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Honor Killings in the Twenty-First Century, by Nicole Pope. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 238p.
“Thousands of women are murdered every year by close relatives for allegedly violating an unwritten social code or rebelling against the patriarchal order. Other harmful practices such as forced marriage, child marriage, or bride exchange have been recorded for centuries and adapted to modern times. The book examines honor-based violence, its roots and its evolution, as well as the ongoing struggle to eradicate it in Turkey, Pakistan and other countries, including Western European nations.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Illicit Trade and the Global Economy, edited by Cláudia Costa Storti & Paul De Grauwe. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2012. 272p.
“As international trade has expanded dramatically in the postwar period–an expansion accelerated by the opening of China, Russia, India, and Eastern Europe–illicit international trade has grown in tandem with it. This volume uses the economist’s toolkit to examine the economic, political, and social problems resulting from such illicit activities as illegal drug trade, smuggling, and organized crime.
The contributors consider several aspects of the illegal drug market, including the sometimes puzzling relationships among purity, price, and risk; the effect of globalization on the heroin and cocaine markets, examined both through mathematical models and with empirical data from the U.K; the spread of khat, a psychoactive drug imported legally to the U.K. as a vegetable; and the economic effect of the “war on drugs” on producer and consumer countries. Other chapters examine the hidden financial flows of organized crime, patterns of smuggling in international trade, Iran’s illicit trading activity, and the impact of mafia-like crime on foreign direct investment in Italy.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Law as Punishment / Law as Regulation, edited by Austin Sarat, Lawrence Douglas, & Martha Merrill Umphrey. Stanford, CA: Stanford Law Books, 2011. 200p.
“Law depends on various modes of classification. How an act or a person is classified may be crucial in determining the rights obtained, the procedures employed, and what understandings get attached to the act or person. Critiques of law often reveal how arbitrary its classificatory acts are, but no one doubts their power and consequence.
This crucial new book considers the problem of law’s physical control of persons and the ways in which this control illuminates competing visions of the law: as both a tool of regulation and an instrument of coercion or punishment. It examines various instances of punishment and regulation to illustrate points of overlap and difference between them, and captures the lived experience of the state’s enterprise of subjecting human conduct to the governance of rules. Ultimately, the essays call into question the adequacy of a view of punishment and/or regulation that neglects the perspectives of those who are at the receiving end of these exercises of state power.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Mexico’s Security Failure: Collapse into Criminal Violence, edited by Paul Kenny, Monica Serrano & Arturo C. Sotomayor. London; New York: Routledge, 2011. 236p.
“Mexico has failed to achieve internal security and poses a serious threat to its neighbors. This volume takes us inside the Mexican state to explain the failure there, but also reaches out to assess the impact of Mexico’s security failure beyond its borders. The key innovative idea of the book—security failure—brings these perspectives together on an intermestic level of analysis. It is a view that runs counter to the standard emphasis on the external, trans-national nature of criminal threats to a largely inert state.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Outsourcing Justice: The Role of Nonprofit Caseworkers in Pretrial Release Programs, by Ursula Castellano. Boulder, CO: FirstForumPress, 2011. 173p.
“Do pretrial release programs, initiated and now operated by a range of nonprofit organizations to redress the inequalities of the bail system, affect the administration of justice? Specifically, do they lessen the barriers to justice often faced by poor and minority defendants? Ursula Castellano’s ethnographic study of four pretrial release programs reveals the often unintended consequences of incorporating social service nonprofits in the criminal court process.
|The Problem of Pleasure: Leisure, Tourism and Crime, edited by Carol Jones, Elaine Barclay, & Rob Mawby. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. 250p.
“The tourism and leisure industries are big business. Opportunities for leisure and tourism have escalated as disposable income, technology, travel and education have become increasingly available in recent times. However, this trend has been juxtaposed with an increase in crime, particularly since the early the 1950s. Acquisitive crimes have been facilitated with the development of more portable and valuable commodities; some activities, such as drink driving and disorder, have now been socially defined as crimes and are more readily identified through new technology such as the increasing use of CCTV.
|Public Security in the Negotiated State: Policing in Latin America and Beyond, by Markus-Michael Miller. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Governance and Limited Statehood Series, 2012. 288p.
“This book seeks to overcome the lack of theoretically informed empirical studies on policing and state-society relations in areas of limited statehood. By drawing on in-depth field research in Mexico City, Markus-Michael Müller offers an insightful analysis of the negotiated character of the Mexican state and its impact on policing. Despite the resulting un-public nature of Mexican policing, he demonstrates that Mexico City residents do not abandon the state as a security provider but continue to turn to the state, in a variety of formal and informal ways and even have normative expectations regarding state-centred security provision. By putting these findings in perspective with other related cases in Latin America, Africa and Asia, the author provides a new cutting-edge perspective on the material and symbolic relevance of the state in areas of limited statehood.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Race on Trial: Black Defendants in Ontario’s Criminal Courts, 1858-1958, by Barrington Walker. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010. 276p.
“While slavery in Canada was abolished in 1834, discrimination remained. Race on Trial contrasts formal legal equality with pervasive patterns of social, legal, and attitudinal inequality in Ontario by documenting the history of black Ontarians who appeared before the criminal courts from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries.
Using capital case files and the assize records for Kent and Essex counties, areas that had significant black populations because they were termini for the Underground Railroad, Barrington Walker investigates the limits of freedom for Ontario’s African Canadians. Through court transcripts, depositions, jail records, Judge’s Bench Books, newspapers, and government correspondence, Walker identifies trends in charges and convictions in the Black population. This exploration of the complex and often contradictory web of racial attitudes and the values of white legal elites not only exposes how blackness was articulated in Canadian law but also offers a rare glimpse of black life as experienced in Canada’s past.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Recidivist Punishments: The Philosopher’s View, by Claudio Tamburrini and Jesper Ryberg. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011. 234p.
“In most Western penal systems, recidivist criminals are punished harsher than first offenders. The philosophical grounds for this response are however difficult to grasp. According to the retributive ideal, recidivists deserve harsher punishments, independently of the eventual effects of the recidivist premium on crime rates. Different notions of “desert” have been advanced in the literature to substantiate this claim. However, all of them have this problem in common: how to justify a harsher punishment of an offender on grounds of a past offence which s/he already paid for?
During the last decade or so, a different approach has been advanced that underlies the communicative function of penal sanctions. Starting from the assumption that the public subscribes a higher degree of blameworthiness to recidivism, it is then argued that this general opinion should be reflected in the penal sanctions if we don’t want to risk discrediting the legal system. Finally, it could be argued that, although we don’t know for sure how many (if at all) future crimes can be prevented by recidivist premiums, it is not justified to take any risks in that regard, as we would then failing to protect future crime victims. The price for averting this uncertainty should therefore be paid by those who have broken the law in the past, according to these authors. But this can be made by submitting them to non-traditional forms of punishments.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Retributivism Has a Past: Has it a Future? edited by Michael Tonry. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 304p.
“What now for retributivism?
Retributivism Has a Past: Has It a Future? brings thoughtfulness and rigor back into the retributivism debate. This collection of essays trains some of the most influential and brightest established and up-and-coming legal and philosophical minds on how retributivism does, might, or should affect contemporary policy and practices. The volume’s aim is neither to condemn nor to justify, but to take new policies and practices seriously and examine them closely.
At a time when criminal-justice policy makers are forced to reconsider contemporary approaches to punishment and attempt to devise new ones, Retributivism Has a Past: Has It a Future? offers serious theoretical critiques of the recent past and justifications for possible futures.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|The Rights of Children in International Criminal Law: Children as Actor and Victim of Crime, edited by C. Tofan, L. de Beer & D. de Ruiter. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Wolf Legal Publishers, International Courts Association, 2011. 334p.
“The use of children as soldiers has been universally condemned as abhorrent and unacceptable. Yet, over the last decade hundreds of thousands of children have fought and died in conflicts around the world.
Children involved in armed conflict are frequently killed or injured during combat or while carrying out other tasks. They are forced to engage in hazardous activities such as laying mines or explosives, as well as using weapons. Child soldiers are usually forced to live under harsh conditions with insufficient food and little or no access to healthcare. They are almost always treated brutally, subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment. Punishments for mistakes or desertion are often very severe. Girl soldiers are particularly at risk of rape, sexual harassment and abuse as well as being involved in combat and other tasks. Children can be actors in wars when they become soldiers to fight for a party and at the same time children will be the biggest victim of these wars. This book examines recent case law, developments and actions being taken by the international community.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Serial Killers: Psychiatry, Criminology, Responsibility, by Francesca Biagi-Chai. London; New York: Routledge Glasshouse, 2011. 216p.
“Francesca Biagi-Chai’s book – a translation from the French of Le Cas Landru – tackles the issue of criminal responsibility in the case of serial killers, and other ‘mad’ people who are nonetheless deemed to be answerable before the law. The author, a Lacanian psychoanalyst and senior psychiatrist in France, with extensive experience working in institutional settings, analyses the logic informing the crimes of famous serial killers. Addressing the Landru case (which was the inspiration for Chaplin’s Monsieur Verdoux), as well as those of Pierre Rivière and Donato Bilancia, Biagi-Chai casts light on the confusion that pervades forensic psychiatry and criminal law as to the distinction between mental illness and ‘madness’. She then elaborates the consequences of her argument in a sustained critique of the insanity defence. The book includes a Foreword by the renowned psychoanalyst, Jacques-Alain Miller, and an introduction by the translators on the question of insanity before the law in the US and in the UK, which considers the pertinence of Biagi-Chai’s argument for forensic psychiatry, for criminal law, and for the increasing contemporary focus on the assessment of dangerousness and risk-management strategies in crime control practices.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries, by Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. 400p.
“Unspeakable Violence addresses the epistemic and physical violence inflicted on racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Arguing that this violence was fundamental to U.S., Mexican, and Chicana/o nationalisms, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández examines the lynching of a Mexican woman in California in 1851, the Camp Grant Indian Massacre of 1871, the racism evident in the work of the anthropologist Jovita González, and the attempted genocide, between 1876 and 1907, of the Yaqui Indians in the Arizona–Sonora borderlands. Guidotti-Hernández shows that these events have been told and retold in ways that have produced particular versions of nationhood and effaced other issues. Scrutinizing stories of victimization and resistance, and celebratory narratives of mestizaje and hybridity in Chicana/o, Latina/o, and borderlands studies, she contends that by not acknowledging the racialized violence perpetrated by Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and indigenous peoples, as well as Anglos, narratives of mestizaje and resistance inadvertently privilege certain brown bodies over others. Unspeakable Violence calls for a new, transnational feminist approach to violence, gender, sexuality, race, and citizenship in the borderlands.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Understanding Terrorist Finance, by Timothy Wittig. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 256p.
“Wittig presents the first unified, coherent framework for the systematic analysis of terrorist finance. With empirical examples from around the globe, he dispels several popular myths about these activities to make an important step forward in our understanding of not only terrorist finance, but also the place of terrorism in the contemporary world.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|World Wide Weed: Global Trends in Cannabis Cultivation and its Control, edited by Tom Decorte, Gary R. Potter, & Martin Bouchard. Surrey, UK; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2011. 314p.
“As we start the second decade of the 21st century, the new cannabis industry continues to fascinate both casual and academic observers of the drug scene. Researchers around the world have become increasingly interested in the phenomenon, aiming to describe, and potentially explain, the rapid switch from importation to domestic production in their own countries.
In bringing together some of the world’s leading experts on cannabis cultivation this book contains sixteen chapters that take an interdisciplinary look at global trends in cannabis cultivation. It will serve as an exemplar for wider discussions of key theories and concepts relating to the spread not just of cannabis cultivation, but also of illegal markets more generally, the actors that operate within these markets and the policies and practices that are employed in response to developments within these markets.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Youth Gangs in International Perspective: Results from the Eurogang Program on Research, edited by Finn-Aage Esbensen & Cheryl L. Maxson. New York: Springer, 2012. 319p.
“As a steady source of juvenile delinquents and an incubator for future adult offenders, the youth gang has long been a focus of attention, from their origins and prevalence to intervention and prevention strategies. But while delinquent youth form gangs worldwide, youth gang research has generally focused on the U.S.
Youth Gangs in International Perspective provides a needed corrective by offering significant studies from across Europe, as well as Trinidad-Tobago and Israel. The book spans the diversity of the field in the cultural and scholarly traditions represented and methods used, analyzing not only the social processes under which gangs operate and cohere, but also the evolution of the research base, starting with the Eurogang Program’s definition of the term youth gang. Cross-national and gender issues are discussed, as are measurement concerns and the possibility that the American conception of the youth gang is impeding European understanding of these groups.” (From Publisher’s Website)