Adrian Barton and Nick Johns, The Policy-Making Process in the Criminal Justice System

Publication Date01 August 2014
AuthorFrancis D. Boateng
Date01 August 2014
SubjectBook Reviews
XML Template (2014) [4.8.2014–11:47am] [302–304]
//blrnas3/cenpro/ApplicationFiles/Journals/SAGE/3B2/ANJJ/Vol04702/140020/APPFile/SG-ANJJ140020.3d (ANJ) [PRE-
PRINTER stage]
Australian & New Zealand
Journal of Criminology
2014, Vol. 47(2) 302–304
!The Author(s) 2014
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DOI: 10.1177/0004865814531221
Book Review
Adrian Barton and Nick Johns, The Policy-Making Process in the Criminal Justice System, Routledge:
New York, 2013; vi + 140 pp.: ISBN 9780415670173, $42.70 (pbk)
Reviewed by: Francis D Boateng, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
Crime as a social problem has always been with us. Politicians and government leaders
worldwide seek efficient and effective means to reduce rates of criminal activity.
However, most of these efforts have failed. For instance, in the UK, the Labour gov-
ernment’s introduction of anti-social behavior orders (ASBOs) in 1998 was intended to
reduce crime but is regarded by some as a complete failure. Anti-social behavior con-
tinued to increase unabated. The first indication of the policy’s failure became evident in
September 2003, when the Home Office conducted a day count of anti-social behavior in
the British population and the results indicated it had increased after five years after the
policy was implemented. Due to the apparent ineffectiveness of this effort, two new
policies were introduced in 2010 by the coalition government to replace the ASBOs
(Joyce, 2013). These policies were the criminal behavior orders and crime prevention
injunction which adopted a proactive approach in addressing anti-social behavior in the
UK. These new efforts raise thought-provoking questions. Why do criminal justice
policies fail to achieve their intended goals? How are policies formulated and imple-
mented and who makes criminal justice policies? Answers to these, and many more,
questions are offered in Adrian Barton and Nick Johns’ (2013) text.
In The Policy-Making Process in the Criminal Justice System, Barton and Johns dis-
cuss the policy-making process in England and Wales from a criminal justice perspective.
The text outlines several issues readers need to know about policy-making. First, policy-
making involves a dynamic process, meaning that processes and personnel involved in
the making of policy constantly change. Second, policy involves ideas that reflect the
ideologies of the maker, and not the person charged with its implementation. Third,
every policy is made to address a specific problem. Hence, according to the authors,
policy is unnecessary when there is no problem to address. The authors discuss briefly
the factors that influence policy implementation, and echo Lipsky’s (1980) argument that
policies implemented on the street differ from their initial design due to wide discretion
accorded to street-level bureaucrats such as police officers, court officials and correc-
tional officers.
The text is structured such that chapters 1 through 4 introduce the goals and organ-
ization of the book, the role of the state in the policy-making process, politics and
ideology, and decision making and agenda setting. Chapters 5 through 8 include a dis-
cussion of criminal justice policy-makers in England and Wales, policy implementation,
joint working/interagency collaboration, and policy auditing and evaluation. Chapter 9
offers a policy case study while Chapter 10 offers concluding remarks.

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