Reviews

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1968.tb01185.x
Publication Date01 Mar 1968
REVIEWS
CHANGING CONCEPTS
OF
CRIME
AND
ITS
TREATMENT.
Edited and
introduced
by
HUGH
J.
KLARE
[Oxford:
Pergamon
Press.
19GG.
ix
and
186
pp.
50s.
net.]
THIS
book is
a
symposium edited by
Mr.
Klare, the indefatigable secretary of
the Howard League, to mark the centenary of this important and valuable
penal reform society.
As
Rt. Hon. Kenneth Younger says in his Foreword, the
transformation of the penal system “has been slow and is still incomplete hut
the Howard League can claim an honourable place among those who, over the
generations, have kept up the momentum of reform, often in the face of
public prejudice and inertia.
It
has been the League’s business to goad and
criticise and, even when reforms have been accepted by governments, to press
that they should come faster and go further.”
Part of the secret of its success has been the willingness to embrace the
flndings of modern criminology and incorporate them in its armoury of
argu-
ment and persuasion. This volumc
is
an example of the extent to which the
Howard League can muster and deploy thc immensely exciting resources of
modern scientific inquiry. Sociologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and penal
administrators join in contributing to the Symposium, and Hugh Klarc writes
a
useful Introduction.
It
might seem invidious to select any particular papers
for comment, but to this reviewer three stand out
as
of special interest.
First. there is Professor Marvin Wolfgang’s most valuable paper on Race
and Crime, which is based on the author’s prcvious American publication on
this subject, which is not readily available hcre. American criminologists have,
as
Dr.
Mannheim once pointed out, contributed greatly to the dispelling of
prejudice by investigating the racial factor in crime. Such studies as Professor
Wolfgang’s show
us
the the path we may need to trend in relation to the sub-
ject in Britain. Statcnicnts such
as
the following arc pregnant with social
significance
:
The decision that someone has committed
a
crime may depend
less on the individual’s behaviour than on police policy, referral practices and
treatment resources in a community.”
Secondly, the lawyer may
he
interested in
Dr.
Gibbens’ historical account
of the development of forensic psychiatry. His survey shows how the old
battles over the M’Naghtcn Rules have given place to new doubts about the
necessity for a concept of criminal responsibility, stimulated by Lady Wootton.
TO
the psychiatrist, the questions seem philosophical rather than practical. He
wants to know what onKht
to
happen to the offcnder
ns
a
result of his act-
what category of treatment does he need?
Dr.
Gibbens does not appear to
favour the recent proposals for replacing juvenile courts with family councils,
on the ground that although they may be designed to increase parental
responsibility, their effect may well be the opposite, if one can judge by
Scandinavian experience. Forensic psychiatry is in
a
state of consolidation in
Britain today, says
Dr.
Gibbens. “There are no recent radical advances in
treatment.” The relations between the prison medical service and the national
health service are being improved. The whole question of the custody and
security of mental pntients and the theoretical hasis
for
detention, whether for
treatment
or
to protect the public, require consttmt re-examination.
Rcsponsibility,” which earlier the author dismissed as
n
peripheral matter, is
recognised in the end to exert
a
great influence and to be
R
inatter of central
importance. Several irritating errors have crept into
Dr.
Gibbens’
ptiper,
which should not have passed unnoticed.
The third paper which struck the reviewer as being of great interest is that
by
Dr.
Charlotte Banks, giving an account of the elaborate researches which
225
226
THE
MODERN
LAW
REVIEW
VOL.
81
have been carried out by
a
large research team from University College,
London, of which she is the mainspring, into the comparative aspects of
Borstal, prison and detention centres for young adolescents. This
is
a
solid
research paper of considerable value which will be cited long after some of the
other contributions are forgotten.
Finally, may we express regret that there is no contribution dealing directly
with the system of criminal justice in this Symposium. Surely the law relating
to the apprehension, trial and conviction
of
offenders and the choice of
sentence deserved some consideration.
It
is
true that
Dr.
Morris as
a
sociologist and
Mr.
Fairn
as
a
penal administrator pass comments on the law's
values and those of the general public, and judicial attitudes. But we could
have done with
a
more detailed look at the system.
J.
E.
HALL
WIIJ~IAMS.
SOME
PROBLEMS
OF
THE
CONSTITUTION.
By
GEOFFREY MARSHALL
and
G. C.
MOODIE.
Fourth Edition. [London: Hutchinson
University Library. 1967. 172
pp.
(incl. tables and index).
11s. 6d. Paperback; 27s. 6d. Hardback.]
BRIEFLY,
yet with full argument and illustration, the authors have welded
black-letter law and political reality into
a
fair and convincing account of
ministers' constitutional position.
As
a
students' introduction to the sources,
exercise and control
of
executive power
in
the United Kingdom this book,
although backed by relevant history, is thoroughly of the
1960s.
It
was first
brought out in
1959,
and the frequency
of
reference to later events in the
1967
edition is evidence of the rapidity with which, at least in detail and
emphasis, the United Kingdom constitution changes.
It
is not only that
Blackstone is out
of
date (in some respects that was true when he wrote), but
so
also, in one degree
or
another, is everyone who has written since. Most
prime ministers contribute, if they stay in office for an appreciable period, to
the evolution of ministerial status. Other persons and processes also ensure
development. For
this
reason
MarRhalZ
and
Moodie
too will pay the penalty
for being up to date by ceasing to be.
Soms
Problem
of
the
Constitution
is not entirely a book
of
problems.
There is enough description and explanation to make the problems readily
comprehcnsible by the beginner, just as they are fascinating to the old hand
at
constitutional law. But it is primarily
a
collection of problems on ministers'
powers and ministerial responsibility as they present themselves now. Since
they are stated
as
problems, and are worth stating as problems, they have no
authoritative solutions.
A
law book which gets away from
a
recitation and
criticism
of
what has already been decided is welcome; and where the primary
concern
of
the book
is
with what has not yet been decided it is most refreshing.
It
would be
a
pity to suggest that any section of the book is better than
another by making specific reference. Nevertheless, on the old post-Dicey
favourite
of
the relations between conventions and litigation it is interesting
to notice how the question
of
the sanction for the binding effect of conventions
has
been of relatively little practical importance compared with the importance
of the existence
of
the convention of ministerid responsibility to Parliament
in persuading judges towards a restrictive view of the
ultra
wire8
rule.
For
the person who begins with
MarRhnlE
nncl
Woodis
and wants
to
go
further there
is
a
useful bibliography.
1,.
A.
SHEllILl~\N.
EQUITY
AND
THE
LAW OF
TRUSTS.
By
PIIILLIP
H.
PETTIT.
SninxNiw
and teachers of the law
of
trusts who have struggled with one
or
other
of
the standard tcxts on the subject will welcome the fact that the law
[London: Butterworths.
1966.
cxx
and
491
pp.
€8
15s.I

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