Recent Book: Licensing Practice and Procedure

AuthorR. Bartlett
Date01 October 1984
Publication Date01 October 1984
SubjectRecent Book
II of the book concentrates on courts and their performance and the first
article in this section is "Sanction Severity, Feedback and Deterrence" by Ekland-
Olsen et al. The article poses the question - When, and under what circumstances,
does "punishment" shape behaviour and how can work in this area relate to
sanctions imposed by the Criminal Justice System? The conclusions reached after a
lengthy review of research literature were rather all encompassing and vague.
The next article by Bursik (jnr.), "Community Context and the Deterrent Effect
of Sanctions", studies the effect of court sanctions on future juvenile behaviour.
The article makes no strong conclusions but does highlight the complexity of this
area by concentrating on the interaction of the environment of the offenders
relative to the sanctions imposed by the court.
Hardy's contribution, "Equity in Court Dispositions" poses the question - Does
race, gender or socio-economic status have an effect on the treatment received from
a court? The search for an answer examines the work of the others in this field but
Hardy merely shows the limitations of the research rather than the answer he is
seeking. In short, Hardy indicates the immense task of empirical examination in
areas tinged with subjective decision making.
The performance of prisons is the topic of the third part of the book and the first
article by Marsden and Orsagh argues that the evaluation of prison effectiveness
has, in the past, been too simplistic. The authors show, however, that there is a
move towards multi-dimensional research but they stress that efficiency methods of
achievement must be scrutinized in specific detail and that theory, research and
practice must be integrated if an optimal plan for evaluation of performance is to
be achieved.
"The Special Deterrent Effect of Incarceration", is the article written by Phillis et
ai, and it examines the effects of institutionalization on juvenile delinquency.
Despite reviewing much previous work by others and conducting their own detailed
statistical research, the authors do not come to any firm conclusions. They do,
however, indicate the methodological problems of studies of this nature and
suggest that more needs to be done in this area before valid results can be obtained.
The final article by Grizzle and White looks at "Efficiency in Correction
Agencies", however, the main thrust of the work outlines various analytical
methods of evaluating performance of public service organizations. The techniques,
as presented, were complex and required, either a prior comprehension on the part
of the reader, or further simple explanation. However, there was enough in the
article to show first, that analytical decision making is gaining prominence in
public organizations and secondly, that such decision making does not easily
coalesce with public agencies that have extensive interaction between their
employees and the individuals receiving the services.
In general terms, the book is not easy reading material nor, do I think, it is
intended to be. It is more a serious attempt by well qualified contributors to show
the progress made and the problems to be encountered in trying to develop
accurate methods of evaluating Criminal Justice Agencies. A number of interesting
and useful points have been made by the authors but they all rely heavily on
statistical argument with limited variables being used to test highly complex
relationships. The comprehension of the statistical analysis poses difficulties in
itself, particularly for readers with little statistical knowledge but the serious
researcher will find much of value in this book.
KENNETH W. PAIN: Licensing Practice and Procedure.
London: Format Publishing. £8.95.
Licensing Practice
Procedure is primarily designed for those members of the
legal profession whose business it is to make applications under the Licensing Act
1964,the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, or the Gaming Act 1968. Yet it is
also a very practical handbook for police officers who have to specialize in the
404 October /984

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