1st Edition

Transforming Criminal Justice? Problem-Solving and Court Specialisation

By Jane Donoghue Copyright 2014
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    Why is punishment not more effective? Why do we have such high re-offending rates? How can we deal with crime and criminals in a more cost-effective way? Over the last decade in particular, the United Kingdom, in common with other jurisdictions such as Canada, the United States (US) and Australia, has sought to develop more effective ways of responding to criminal behaviour through court reforms designed to address specific manifestations of crime. Strongly influenced by developments in US court specialisation, problem-solving and specialist courts - including domestic violence courts, drugs courts, community courts and mental health courts - have proliferated in Britain over the last few years. These courts operate at the intersection of criminal law and social policy and appear to challenge much of the traditional model of court practice. In addition, policy makers and practitioners have made significant attempts to try to embed problem-solving approaches into the criminal justice system more widely.

    Through examination of original data gathered from detailed interviews with judges, magistrates and other key criminal justice professionals in England and Wales, as well as analysis of legislative and policy interventions, this book discusses the impact of the creation and development of court specialisation and problem-solving justice.

    This book will be essential reading for students and academics in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, criminal law, socio-legal studies and sociology, as well as for criminal justice practitioners and policy-makers.

    1. Introduction  2. Situating Problem-Solving, Punitivism and Punishment  3. Specialist and Problem-Solving Courts  4. Drug Courts and Domestic Violence Courts  5. Community Courts and Mental Health Courts  6. Neighbourhood Justice Panels  7. Problem-Solving and Court Specialization: Prospects and Pitfalls.


    Jane Donoghue is Reader in Law at the University of Lancaster. She has previously worked at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Criminology and the School of Law at the University of Sussex. Her research interests are multi-disciplinary and span criminology, criminal justice and criminal law.

    ‘In Transforming Criminal Justice?, Dr Jane Donoghue packs crucial information and insights into a well-written and extremely manageable volume on problem-solving approaches to criminal justice. With a UK focus, but rich in discussion of US, Australian, and other systems, Donoghue presents a sensible and balanced analysis that comes to life, with meaningful quotes from magistrates working with this material in the real-world. The book should be of great interest to academics, policy-makers, and practitioners alike.’

    David B. Wexler, Professor of Law and Director, International Network on Therapeutic Jurisprudence, University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico 

    Transforming Criminal Justice? offers a rigorous and even-handed examination of an important criminal justice reform movement. By taking a hard look at both the theory and practice of problem-solving justice, Jane Donoghue makes a significant contribution to the field. This is the place to start for anyone interested in understanding problem-solving courts, not just in the UK, but around the world.’

    Greg Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation, New York, USA

    ‘There is much talk of "transforming" this and that within criminal justice, but rarely on transforming justice itself. This brave book, putting problem-solving at the heart of the justice process, will further enhance Jane Donoghue's reputation as one of the most original and intrepid new voices in criminology.’

    Shadd Maruna, Professor and Director of The Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Queen's University Belfast, UK