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Introduction to Corrections, Fifth Edition.

Introduction to Corrections, Fifth Edition, by Jeanne B. Stinch-comb and Vernon B. Fox. Prentice Hall, 1999, 677 pp.

As we move into the new millennium, society has more at stake in the corrections conglomerate than ever before. More than 5 million people in the United States are under some form of correctional supervision and the cost in terms of resources and human suffering is rising. For example, among some minority groups, a high proportion of young people, both men and women, who could be having children or should be providing parenting to those they do have, are instead, in prison. All citizens should be concerned about the problem of crime and social control, yet many have not examined the issues in depth. Therefore, they are dependent on the latest political rhetoric for simplistic answers to the questions of how to "solve" the crime problem.

The latest edition of Drs. Jeanne Stinchcomb's and Vernon Fox's textbook, Introduction to Corrections, provides a wealth of valuable information to the general public. It should be required reading for every person running for or holding elected office in this country. Those entering the field and those who already have corrections-related careers will develop a broader overall understanding of corrections and the issues that must be addressed by reading this book. The authors have provided a balanced look at both the commonplace and hot topics in the field.

Given that they cover all areas of adult and juvenile corrections, topics are not covered in great detail. Enough is written on each topic to provide a general overview and extensive references are provided for those who want additional information.

Both authors have extensive backgrounds in the corrections field as well as in the academic community. In the late 1960s, Fox convened the first national conferences in modern times that brought together higher education faculty and correctional administrators to address improving correctional practice. This book had its beginnings in those heady times of reforms in various areas, some of which in corrections are being rediscovered today. Unlike some texts that are reissued over time, this one has remained on the cutting edge. The sources contain older information that is invaluable in providing a historical perspective to the topic under discussion, but also included is the latest material on the same topic that enables the reader to access current thinking on the matter.

One of the authors' stated goals is to achieve balance in the discussions of controversial topics. This is frequently difficult to do when one feels strongly about the field. It is clear, however, that Stinchcomb and Fox provide not only the many sides of an issue, but they also help frame the options in a clear and concise manner. For example, in the discussion of HIV/AIDS, the authors review the four major approaches that should be taken to deal with this issue in prison, and then provide an update of the latest directions that correctional agencies are taking.

In addition to covering the theoretical and research aspects of corrections as is traditional in books of this type, they also provide a wealth of information on the day-to-day operation of all components of the system. For example, they discuss in detail the components of probation agents' jobs and the conflicts they face. They also provide realistic discussions of all aspects of institutional operations from key control to strip searches. These brief discussions help the reader understand not only what happens in the system but also why it happens.

Several aids are provided to help the reader get the most out of the extensive materials covered in this edition of Introduction to Corrections. One that is somewhat unique is to give about four "learning goals" before each major session in a chapter. This helps guide the reader's thinking as he or she explores the section and helps keep the reader focused on the key issues under discussion. The companion instructor's manual contains a wide variety of materials to aid in teaching from the text. There are learning objectives for each chapter, questions to stimulate class discussion, testing material, a listing of related Web sites, key concepts used in the text and transparency masters. Video supplements and a Power Point program also are available to enhance presentation of the material.

This text is useful to the general public, legislators and policymakers, criminal justice faculty and students, and the corrections community as a whole. For a good overview of corrections and a balanced look at the issues facing the entire field, Introduction to Corrections, Fifth Edition, is a must.

Joann B. Morton, D.P.A., associate professor in the College of Criminal Justice at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
COPYRIGHT 2000 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Morton, Joann B.
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2000
Words:784
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