The Future of Criminology: A Brief Review

Any student or faculty member interested in the criminal mind should definitely take a peak at this book. Whether your interest stems from a grounding in sociology, philosophy, law, psychology, biology, criminal justice or neuroscience, this book brings together a wide range of authors and can show you how other scholars approach the study of crime.

The main inspiration for this compendium is the work of veteran criminologist, David Farrington. Farrington, whose academic curriculum vitae could make Chomsky blush, has over 572 published journal articles and has published almost 100 books. Without a doubt, Farrington is the Mack Daddy of criminology.

Farrington contributes the foreword to this valuable anthology and reflects upon his extensive career in criminology, before offering some direction for future studies – such as making more attempts to observe crime and developing more longitudinal studies to examine critical events that lead to offending.

The book, edited by Rolf Loeber and Brandon C. Welsh, is divided up into five sections: Development and Causation, Criminal Careers and Justice, Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, and Public Policy Strategies. As the headings imply, there is something for everyone; from the biology student interested in epigenetics to the law student interested in the application of sentencing.

I have personally enjoyed the contribution by Adrian Raine and Jill Portnoy, who present a biological perspective on crime including the theory of low resting heart rate; psychopathic individuals and those with antisocial personality disorder typically have a low resting heart rate, and this could be why psychopaths seek stimulation and tend to be fearless.

But the main reason I have enjoyed this book is precisely because it has brought in researchers from across the disciplines, each documenting how their field contributes to criminology. Interdisciplinary topics, while exciting, often grow so quickly that the contributing disciplines begin to pull away from each other and present a challenge to those in the field to keep up. For criminologists, this book presents up-to-date research across fields under one cover. Well worth it.

Copyright Jack Pemment, 2012

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