Book Review: Adjudicative Competence: The MacArthur Studies

Published date01 May 2005
Date01 May 2005
Subject MatterArticles
vices extended to prisoners such as education, work, food, and health care. The data pre-
sented in these two parts might be better presented prior to part 4 so that students realize that
administrators have many limits and requirements imposed on them.
Part 7 contains four chapters that describe jail, probation, intermediate sanctions, and
parole. All but parole typically occur before a person is sent to state prison and probably
should be presented toward the beginning of the text. The discussion of parole is extremely
limited and understates the successful parole outcomes reported in current journal articles.
Several features separate this from other corrections texts. In addition to the thorough
inclusion of history, the texthas detailed coverage of the death penalty, prison gangs and their
effect on the prison environment, southern prisons, lists of court cases, and extensive
As in all texts, in-depth topic coverage had to be sacrificed to produce a comprehensive
inclusion of topics. Verylittle has been left out. The text is an excellent starting point for a stu-
dent paper or internship research paper. For theories, the student would have to look else-
where. The photos are limited at times and do not always match the text where they are
placed. The boxed inserts are very important and students must read them to fully appreciate
the power of this text. Finally,reordering the sequence of chapters would provide better link-
ages to comprehensive thinking about prisons. I think that ordering them chapters 1, 4-6, 18-
20, 2-3, 14-17, 8-9, 7, 10-13, and 21 would provide more fluid chapter sequencing.
Before they select a course, I suggest that my students browse the textin the bookstore and
decide if it is well-written and interesting. Silverman has written a book that clearly passes
that test. The author is thoroughly aware of all the corrections issues and provides many
important facts to inform readers. This textbook has an excellent list of contents per chapter,
is comprehensive in scope, displays a fluid writing style, and is a valuable reference book.
The stress on history is essential to familiarize readers with the fundamental goals that soci-
etal leaders had for inmates and to explain the evolution and complexity of today’s prisons.
All aspects concerning the meaning of imprisonment to inmates and to all members of soci-
ety are considered and presented without bias. As an introduction to the corrections field, this
is a splendid text that will interest and inform all who read it.
Michael Ryan
Southern Connecticut State University
Adjudicative Competence: The MacArthur Studies, by Norman G. Poythress, Richard J.
Bonnie, John Monahan, Randy Otto, and Steven K. Hoge. New York: Kluwer Academic,
2002, 165 pp.
DOI: 10.1177/0734016805275690
This comprehensive work begins by detailing the theory and practice of adjudicative com-
petency. The book’s expert authors also detail the development of a new competency assess-
ment tool, the MacCAT-CA, and its predecessor, the MacSAC-SD. All aspects of these
assessment tools are detailed: psychometric properties, theoretical grounding, and research
findings from its pilot tests. The book is divided into six different sections and is made up of
work from several previously published articles. The writers provide a wealth of information
Book Reviews 93

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