rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 262
Sources: Encyclopedia of Community Corrections
Anita J. Slack

Information Services Librarian, Vincennes University, Vincennes, Indiana

The stated purpose of the Encyclopedia of Community Corrections is to “provide a reference resource that reviews the topic of community-based alternatives to incarceration” (xx). This book certainly meets this objective. Further, upon performing searches of some of the usual librarian haunts like my library’s catalog, GOBI, and even Amazon.com, I have encountered some difficulty in locating similar works that can be accurately referred to as “reference works.” Only a handful of books of case studies, reports, and monographs focus this closely on the subject of community corrections.

The entries in this work provide a surprisingly complete discussion of their topics. Depending upon the topic, some entries are brief and span a page or less, and other entries, such as “Effectiveness of Community Corrections,” span well over five pages and include historical background and summaries of pertinent research studies. Every entry includes suggestions for further reading. This will prove particularly useful for students who are looking not only for a place to begin their research, but also more detailed, specific resources.

On the whole, the layout of the book is conducive to easy use for readers. A list of entries, a reader’s guide, and a chronology are included. The reader’s guide will prove particularly useful for students conducting research. All entries are organized under topical headings such as “Classification and Risk Assessment,” “Diversion and Probation,” “History, Development, and Definitions,” “Intermediate Sanctions,” “Parole,” and “Theory and Treatment in the Community.” Such organization will prove useful for readers encountering the terminology of community corrections for the first time. Similarly, the entries are written in easily understood language and interesting enough that newcomers to the field will experience no difficulty but are also detailed enough that individuals with a criminal justice background would likely encounter new information as well.

I found myself desiring a more detailed organizational scheme for the contents of the book. On the contents page, the reader is provided with the page numbers on which entries starting with each letter of the alphabet begin. Quicker and more efficient usage could be achieved by also placing page numbers for each entry in the “List of Entries” section. Further, while all entries are signed, the only information offered about the contributors is their institutional affiliation. I would have liked to see a short biographical sketch or a brief summary of each contributor’s research and background. These small deficiencies do little to interfere with the overall usability of this work, however.

The Encyclopedia of Community Corrections comes recommended for academic libraries serving institutions with law enforcement or criminal justice programs, as well as for some public libraries.



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