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Correctional Theory

Correctional Theory
Context and Consequences

Second Edition

March 2016 | 352 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The Second Edition of Correctional Theory: Context and Consequences continues to identify and evaluate the major competing theories used to guide the goals, policies, and practices of the correctional system. Authors Francis T. Cullen and Cheryl Lero Jonson demonstrate that changes in theories can legitimize new ways of treating and punishing offenders, and they help readers understand how transformations in the social and political context of U.S. society impact correctional theory and policy. Designed to motivate readers to become sophisticated consumers of correctional information, the book emphasizes the importance of using evidence-based information to guide decisions, rather than relying on non-scientific common-sense or ideology-based beliefs.

PART I. Crisis in American Corrections
CHAPTER 1. From Theory to Policy: Evidence-Based Corrections
Theories of Corrections

Six Theories in Brief

Utility, Opinion, and Evidence

Evidence-Based Corrections

Conclusion: What’s Ahead?

CHAPTER 2. Correctional Theory in Crisis: America’s Changing Context
What Is Rehabilitation?

The Rise of the Rehabilitative Ideal

Attacking Rehabilitation

The “Nothing Works” Doctrine: Martinson and Beyond

Conclusion: Crisis in Correctional Theory

PART II. The Punishment Response
CHAPTER 3. Just Deserts: Doing Justice or Getting Tough?
The Concepts of Retribution and Just Deserts: Punishing the Crime

Retribution: Just and Painful

Four Problems for Retribution

The Justice Model: Restraining State Discretion

What Went Wrong? Winning the Battle but Losing the War

Conclusion: The Need for Crime Control

CHAPTER 4. Deterrence: Scaring Offenders Straight
The Concept of Deterrence

Is Deterrence a “Conservative” Theory?

The Theoretical Assumptions of Deterrence

Studying Whether Deterrence Works: Assessing Types of Evidence

Policy Changes That Increase Punishment

Macro-Level Studies of Punishment and Crime Rates

Perceptual Deterrence Studies

Deterrence in the Community

The Effects of Imprisonment

Conclusion: The Limits of Deterrence

CHAPTER 5. Incapacitation: Locking Up the Wicked
Too Many Prisoners

More Than Enough Criminals

The Concept of Incapacitation

Estimating the Incapacitation Effect: Studying Individual Offenders

Estimating the Incapacitation Effect: Macro-Level Studies

Conclusion: Compared to What?

PART III. The Social Welfare Response
CHAPTER 6. Restorative Justice: Reintegrative Shaming
The Concept of Restorative Justice

The Appeal of Restorative Justice

Three Problems

Does Restorative Justice Work?

Conclusion: The Limits of Harm

CHAPTER 7. Rehabilitation: What Works to Change Offenders
The Concept of Rehabilitation

Knowing What Works

Challenging Nothing Works: Narrative Reviews

Challenging Nothing Works: Meta-Analytic Reviews

What Does Not Work

What Does Work: Principles of Effective Intervention

What Else Might Work?

Conclusion: Reaffirming Rehabilitation

PART IV. Extending the Vision of Corrections
CHAPTER 8. Reentry: Saving Offenders from a Life in Crime
From Parole to Reentry

The Reentry Problem

Reentry Programs

The Effectiveness Problem

Two Things to Keep in Mind

Conclusion: Saving Offenders From a Life in Crime

CHAPTER 9. Early Intervention: Saving Children From a Life in Crime
Lessons From Childhood Criminology

The Need for Early Intervention

Five Programs That Work—At Least When Done Right

Two More Reasons to Support Early Intervention

Conclusion: Beyond Adult-Limited Corrections

CHAPTER 10. Six Correctional Lessons: Choosing Our Future
Three Themes

Four Lessons

Conclusion: Choosing Our Future

About the Authors


Instructor Resource Site
Calling all instructors! It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title! Then, pick and choose from this list, depending on what each site offers.

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:
  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
  • Learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.
  • Key words that reflect key topics in the chapters.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Student exercises facilitate students' use of internet and other relevant resources and support further exploration of topics.

“[The] writing style was clear and made the subject matter easily accessible to the students. Good, concise discussion of correctional theories including examples that enhanced the material being covered. The authors ask the readers to consider important questions that are not always considered in the public realm in thinking about whether certain correctional practices work or not.  These questions helped promote engaging discussions in class.”

Erin A. Orrick
Sam Houston State University

“Abstract theoretical concepts are thoroughly explained and illustrated. It’s all done in a brief, relatively readable format.”

Sheryl L. Van Horne
Arcadia University

“Not too heavy on academic jargon, making it easier for students to follow and grasp”

Jennifer Cobbina
Michigan State University

“Readable, Affordable, Theoretically Grounded”

Randolph Myers
Old Dominion University

“Focuses on the main and essential ideas while providing a clear and to the point conclusion”

Lior Gideon
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“The text is an incredible composite of the literature that has shaped correctional practice. The authors have a great capacity for making research interesting and accessible.  Cullen and Jonson have accomplished their goal of motivating readers to become sophisticated consumers of correctional knowledge.”

Betsy Matthews
Eastern Kentucky University

“Book promotes thoughts and avoids the traditional corrections textbook structure and content.”

Jack Atherton
Northwestern State University of Louisiana

“It is my experience that students tend to think of theory as boring and unnecessary. This text does a good job of making theory interesting and explaining why it is important. The authors do a good job of connecting theory, methods, and results. The writing style and ways that the authors explain concepts convey a lot of information, which is often quite complex, in an accessible way.”

Jennifer L. Lanterman
University of Nevada, Reno

“This is an excellent text that contributes to the knowledge base by presenting correctional theories in such a way that makes it approachable for students. The discussion of the socio-historical context, how this influenced why the public and criminal justice professionals favored a particular theory, and the resulting policies are important concepts for criminal justice students to understand today… I see its value, and would not hesitate to adopt it for a course.”

Krista S. Gehring
University of Houston-Downtown

“[Strengths include] Writing style, ease of understanding the material, organization and length”

Charlene Y. Taylor
Boise State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 8

For instructors

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