Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System  book cover
1st Edition

Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System

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ISBN 9780415781169
Published April 5, 2012 by Routledge
222 Pages

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Book Description

The criminal justice system, with its complex policies and procedures and its focus on deterrence, punishment, and rehabilitation, can be a difficult system to understand. Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System presents an overview of the criminal justice system, exploring the network of systems which comprise it.

Integrating social work values and a commitment to social justice, this textbook explores how social workers can practice to address social problems within the criminal justice system and promotes the development of knowledge, skills and critical reflection in this increasingly important area of practice. In addition to covering the four key areas for social work practice – law enforcement, courts, corrections, and legislation – it covers:

  • Alternative programs and services
  • Special populations – such as juveniles, women and sex offenders
  • Special topics – such as reoffending, wrongful conviction and racial disparities
  • The application of evidence-based practice principles in criminal justice.

Looking at the challenges and opportunities of social work practice in the criminal justice system, this is the ideal text for social work instructors, students and practitioners working with or within the criminal justice system. Each chapter includes a summary of social work practice implications, key terms, and suggested further reading.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to the U.S. Criminal Justice System  2. Legislation and the Criminal Justice System  3. Law Enforcement  4. The Court System  5. Corrections  6. Alternative Criminal Justice Reforms and Programs  7. Special Populations and Emerging Issues within the Criminal Justice System  8. Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System  9. Evidence-Based Practice in the Criminal Justice System  10. The Future of Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System

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George T. Patterson is Associate Professor in the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York, USA. A certified police instructor, he has both taught criminal justice courses to social work students and trained police officers and recruits.


Social Work Practice in the Criminal Justice System is the profession’s first in-depth, comprehensive examination of this remarkably complex and compelling topic. Patterson offers rich insights regarding social work’s unique role at every stage of the criminal justice system: police, courts, corrections, community re-entry, probation, and parole. The author examines challenging clinical and policy issues through a conceptually sophisticated lens that draws explicitly on social work’s time-honored commitment to social and restorative justice, ethical principles, and evidence-based interventions.’ – Professor Frederic G. Reamer, Rhode Island College, USA