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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Medical Concepts and Penal Policy

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ISBN13: 9781859410219
ISBN: 1859410219
Published: February 1996
Publisher: Routledge-Cavendish
Format: Paperback
Price: Out of print

This book examines the medicalisation of crime and punishment in Britain. Through a detailed historical analysis of societys response to two groups, alcoholic and psychopathic offenders, it depicts the rise of therapeutic interventions in criminal justice as a much more complex phenomenon than it is conventionally taken to be. Both whig historians and their sociological critics have assumed that what occurred was a wholesale medicalisation of criminality, predicated on the notion that crime is a disease to be treated by medical means. Gerry Johnstone shows, to the contrary, that only a small minority of the most severe and socially harmful offenders were typically regarded as suitable for therapy. These, moreover, tended to be perceived as morally disordered rather than diseased, and as treatable through moral and social rather than medical therapies. These arguments, which are supported by a wealth of historical scholarship, raise important questions about the pertinence of highly influential critiques of the medical model of crime to our understanding and assessment of actual therapeutic interventions in criminal justice.;Crucially, the book shows that therapeutic interventions continue to occupy an important position in our criminal justice system, and that they are in need of fundamental reassessmen. This important contribution to the historiography and theorisation of therapeutic interventions into the lives of offenders will appeal enormously to those working in criminology, penology and socio-legal studies, as well as to those interested in the history of criminal justice and psychiatry.

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Introduction; Treatment and Individual Liberty; Understanding and Treating the Inebriate; Treating the Vagrant Alcoholic Offender, 1960s and 1970s; The Pre-History of the Concept of Psychopathy Moral Insanity, Moral Imbecility and Penal Policy, 1835-1874; Attitudes and Policies of Treatment Professionals Towards Moral Imbeciles or Psychopathic Offenders, c 1875- c 1953; Discourse of Penal Treatment Professionals on Psychopathic Offenders Since c 1954; Conclusion