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Correctional Theory

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Table of Contents

Preface 1. From Theory to Policy: Evidence-Based Corrections 2. Correctional Theory in Crisis: America's Changing Context 3. Just Deserts: Doing Justice or Getting Tough? 4. Deterrence: Scaring Offenders Straight 5. Incapacitation: Locking Up the Wicked 6. Restorative Justice: Reintegrative Shaming 7. Rehabilitation: What Works to Change Offenders 8. Early Intervention: Saving Children From a Life in Crime 9. Four Correctional Lessons: Choosing Our Future References Index About the Authors

About the Author

Francis T. Cullen is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Associate in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, where he also holds a joint appointment in sociology. He received a Ph.D. (1979) in sociology and education from Columbia University. Professor Cullen has published over 300 works in the areas of criminological theory, corrections, white-collar crime, public opinion, and the measurement of sexual victimization. He is author of Rethinking Crime and Deviance Theory: The Emergence of a Structuring Tradition and is coauthor of Reaffirming Rehabilitation, Corporate Crime Under Attack: The Ford Pinto Case and Beyond, Criminology, Combating Corporate Crime: Local Prosecutors at Work, Unsafe in the Ivory Tower: The Sexual Victimization of College Women, Correctional Theory: Context and Consequences. Environmental Corrections: A New Paradigm for Supervising Offenders in the Community, and Communities and Crime: An Enduring American Challenge. He also is coeditor of Criminological Theory: Past to Present-Essential Readings, Taking Stock: The Status of Criminological Theory, The Origins of American Criminology, the Encyclopedia of Criminological Theory, The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory, The Oxford Handbook of White-Collar Crime, The American Prison: Imagining a Different Future, Challenging Criminological Theory: The Legacy of Ruth Rosner Kornhauser, Sisters in Crime Revisited: Bringing Gender Into Criminology, Delinquency and Drift Revisited: The Criminology of David Matza and Beyond, Deterrence, Choice, and Crime: Contemporary Perspectives. Professor Cullen is a Past President of the American Society of Criminology and of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. In 2010, he received the ASC Edwin H. Sutherland Award. In 2013, he was honored by his alma mater, Bridgewater State University, with a Doctorate in Public Service. Cheryl Lero Jonson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Xavier University. She received a Ph.D. (2010) in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. She is coeditor of The Origins of American Criminology, Sisters in Crime Revisited: Bringing Gender into Criminology, The American Prison: Imagining a Different Future, and Deterrence, Choice, and Crime: Contemporary Perspectives. Her published work has appeared in Criminology and Public Policy, Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, and Victims and Offenders. Her current research interests include correctional policy, the impact of incarceration on recidivism, the use of incentives to downsize American prisons, inmate adjustment to conditions of confinement, strategies to prevent school shootings, and work reactions among criminal justice employees. From 2012 to 2015, she served as an Executive Counselor of the Corrections Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.


"This is far and away the best book on corrections that I have read. I believe it should be required reading for every criminology and criminal justice student. It considers each of the major correctional strategies in turn, discussing the underlying theories on which they are based and the social factors that have influenced their use. It then systematically reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of each strategy. Further, it does this all in a clear and engaging manner. Students will come away with a good idea of what works, what does not, and what's promising; and they will be much better prepared to advocate for a correctional system that will effectively reduce crime - one rooted in "betterment and social welfare" rather than "pain and prisons."" -- Robert Agnew
"Cullen and Jonson provide an incisive and readable analysis of correctional policy that will enlighten and entertain students, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners. They demonstrate the importance of focusing on the critical question of why correctional systems exist and, at the same time, of understanding the contexts and theories that give rise to them. At once incisive and accessible, the book illuminates like no other the critical role of theory and research for achieving evidence-based corrections and, more than that, how to achieve this elusive goal. It is a must-read for anyone who wishes to glean lessons from the past and to understand how we can more cost-efficiently arrive at a correctional system that is more just and makes society a safer, better place." -- Daniel P. Mears
"If you want to understand why theory matters to current correctional policy, you simply must read Cullen and Jonson's brilliantly written and documented book Correctional Theory: Context and Consequences. They provide an often amusing and yet insightful discussion of the way in which the underlying theories have shaped and been shaped by the prevailing social and political context, and indeed prove that theories matter, context matters, and evidence matters. It is a hopeful and timely book, as the authors convince us that by understanding our history, we can use that history to guide us towards evidence-based policies that do less harm. I highly recommend this book to students, practitioners, and fans of correctional theory and public policy. Everyone will learn something from this wise and clever book. I did." -- Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law, Co-Director, Stanford Criminal Justice Center, Stanford University

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