You are here

The Penal System

The Penal System
An Introduction

Sixth Edition
  • Michael Cavadino - University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • James Dignan - formerly Professor of Comparative Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Leeds
  • George Mair - Liverpool Hope University, UK
  • Jamie Bennett - University of Oxford, UK, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Additional resources:

December 2019 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Now in its Sixth Edition, this remains the most comprehensive and authoritative book on the penal system, providing students with an incisive, critical account of the punitive, managerial and humanitarian approaches to criminal justice.

Fully updated to cover the most recent changes in the Criminal Justice System, the new edition: 

  • Outlines contemporary policy debates on sentencing, staffing, youth custody and overcrowding.
  • Explores growing inequalities in the criminal justice system including issues of race, religion, gender and sexuality, with new content on faith, and transgender prisoners.
  • Considers the impact of privatisation on the probation service.
  • Discusses the most recent debates around the parole process, including high-profile cases and attempts at reform.

The book is supported by online resources for lecturers and students, including chapter PowerPoints, sample syllabus, summaries of key legislative acts and bills, official reports, a list of recommended further reading for each chapter, and links to important Penal Agencies and Organisations, Law Reform Organisations, and other useful academic sites.

Essential reading for students of criminal justice and criminology, studying penology, punishments and the penal system.

Chapter 1. Crisis? What crisis?
Chapter 2. Justifying punishment
Chapter 3. Explaining punishment
Chapter 4. Sentencing: the crux of the crisis
Chapter 5. Punishment in the community
Chapter 6. Prisons and the penal crisis
Chapter 7. Early release: the penal system's safety valve
Chapter 8. The youth justice system
Chapter 9. Diversity and bias in the criminal justice system
Chapter 10. Solving the crisis?


Click for online resources

Instructor Resources (Log-in needed)

  • A Sample Syllabus to help lecturers devise a course plan according to the book’s content
  • PowerPoint lecture slides to be utilised as guidelines for course presentations and adapted as needed for the module’s necessities

Student Resources (Free to use)

  • Weblinks to Penal Agencies and Organisations; Penal Reform Organisations; Law Reform Organisations and Reviews, and other useful academic sites.
  • Annotated further reading for each chapter
  • Updated summaries of key legislation, White Papers, consultation documents and other official reports

this is the 6th edition of a text we already use

Ms Anne Rees
Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth University
February 6, 2020

This is highly effective introduction into the world of incarceration in England and Wales and is perfect for students studying Offender Management.

Mr Louis Martin
School of Law, Staffordshire University
June 11, 2020

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781526496805

ISBN: 9781526460684

ISBN: 9781526460691