Transforming Criminal Justice?

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Why is punishment not more effective? Why do we have such high re-offending rates? How can we deal with crime and criminals in a more cost-effective way? Over the last decade in particular, the United Kingdom, in common with other jurisdictions such as Canada, the United States (US) and Australia, has sought to develop more effective ways of responding to criminal behaviour through court reforms designed to address specific manifestations of crime. Strongly influenced by developments in US court specialisation, problem-solving and specialist courts – including domestic violence courts, drugs courts, community courts and mental health courts – have proliferated in Britain over the last few years. These courts operate at the intersection of criminal law and social policy and appear to challenge much of the traditional model of court practice. In addition, policy makers and practitioners have made significant attempts to try to embed problem-solving approaches into the criminal justice system more widely. Through examination of original data gathered from detailed interviews with judges, magistrates and other key criminal justice professionals in England and Wales, as well as analysis of legislative and policy interventions, this book discusses the impact of the creation and development of court specialisation and problem-solving justice. This book will be essential reading for students and academics in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, criminal law, socio-legal studies and sociology, as well as for criminal justice practitioners and policy-makers.

Table of contents

Foreword: some perspective on problem-solving
1 Introduction
2 Situating problem-solving, punitivism and punishment
3 Specialist and problem-solving courts
4 Drug courts and domestic violence courts
5 Community courts and mental health courts
6 Neighbourhood justice panels
7 Problem-solving and court specialisation: prospects and pitfalls

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