Criminology for Social Work is the first book to try to make explicit the relevance of criminology for social work practice. Drawing on his experience of teaching social work and probation students, and on his own research, the author provides a critical and up-to-date review of the major strands in criminology theory, and suggests how it can be used by social work practitioners in the criminal justice system. The book argues that, while the links between criminological theory and social work practice are sometimes complex, they are nevertheless real, and that criminological insights and research have the potential to take social work with offenders both more critical and more realistic. Individual chapters show the influence on social work of such varied topics as control theory, the labelling perspective, local crime prevention projects, feminism, and racism in criminal justice. A major influence on the book is the work of John Braithwaite, whose theory of reintegrative shaming, it is argued, has implications which social workers ought to heed, both for the processes of criminal justice and for efforts to prevent crime.
The conclusion suggests links between this and ideas from feminist psychology and philosophy which offer a powerful critique of traditional conception of justice. This book will prove both useful and challenging to students of social work with offenders and to their teachers. Although offering a guide through the criminological labyrinth, it cannot claim that there are any easy answers to the perennial question: What should we do about crime?