Ranking Correctional Punishments

Views from Offenders, Practitioners, and the Public

by David C. May, Peter B. Wood

Tags: Corrections

Table of Contents (PDF)

184 pp  $22.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-589-5
eISBN 978-1-5310-1194-9

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In this book, May and Wood draw on a number of studies they have conducted with convicted offenders (both in prison and supervised in the community), criminal justice practitioners, and the public in the past decade to provide new insight regarding the continuum of corrections proposed by Morris and Tonry in their 1990 classic work Between Prison and Probation. May and Wood's findings call into question the idea of a continuum with prison on one end and regular probation on the other and discuss the implications of these findings for both sentencing and community supervision strategies.

"Ranking Correctional Punishments is a unique volume in that it not only questions conventional understandings and definitions of what constitutes punishment and severity of punishment, but it responds to those questions with answers from those to whom punishment truly matters—offenders themselves, criminal justice system actors, and the public. This is an exceptional book that offers a wealth of information. Students, scholars, practitioners, and anyone interested in the concept of criminal punishment will find it an exceptionally beneficial resource. For those interested in understanding how punishment is perceived and understood, this should be the starting point. As a scholar of American corrections, I found Ranking Correctional Punishments to be a great resource for understanding how offenders, the public, and all who are involved in the conduct of American criminal justice think about and conceive of the idea of punishment. This book provides the most information on the topic, in an easily consumed and understood manner. Students of criminal justice should read this book." — Richard Tewksbury, PhD, Professor of Justice Administration, University of Louisville

"May and Wood provide a fascinating examination of traditional and alternative criminal sanctions. They amass solid evidence—using a consistent and sound research approach—to show how the public, criminal justice professionals, and offenders themselves perceive the severity of various punishments. The data encourage thoughtful reconsideration of the so-called "intermediate" punishments that have become so popular during the last quarter of a century. Policy makers and theorists alike will find important new insights to ponder—penalties do not line up easily along a continuum of punitive severity, and sanctions are perceived differently by different social groups, suggesting a previously unrecognized layer of complexity in how punishments may deter future crimes. This book is well-organized, is written clearly, and it should be high on the reading list of all those interested in sentencing, corrections, and criminological theory." — Brandon K. Applegate, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, University of Central Florida

"[A]n interesting argument worthy of evaluation and discussion. . . . [A] compelling case for the criminal justice system to modify its current belief on sanction severity and its application as perceived by offenders, practitioners, and the public." — ACJS Today

"May and Wood's programme of research provides an important foundation for what could be a broader assessment of penal sanctions and exchange rates. . . . The book is recommended for researchers, persons working within the justice system, and policy makers." — Punishment & Society