Book Review: Arrigo, B. A. (2006). Criminal Behavior: A Systems Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. xxiii, 340

AuthorLisa R. Muftić
DOI10.1177/0734016808314545
Published date01 March 2008
Date01 March 2008
Subject MatterArticles
98
Book Reviews
Arrigo, B. A. (2006). Criminal Behavior: A Systems Approach.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. xxiii, 340.
DOI: 10.1177/0734016808314545
Criminal Behavior: A Systems Approach, written by Bruce Arrigo, incorporates criminal
justice and psychological approaches to understanding and explaining criminal behavior
into one comprehensive text. More specifically, this book endeavors to find a midpoint
between explaining crime (an act in violation of penal law) and interpreting criminal behavior
(the act, or set of acts, that constitute a crime). As such, Arrigo incorporates a “systems
approach” that essentially encompasses theoretical, practical, and institutional assessments
in the study of criminal behavior.
Bruce Arrigo is a professor of Crime, Law, and Society within the Department of Criminal
Justice at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte. In addition, he holds several joint
appointments including faculty positions within the Psychology Department, the Public
Policy Program, and serves as a faculty associate in the Center for Professional and Applied
Ethics. Bruce Arrigo has published numerous works (including journal articles, book chapters,
and scholarly essays) that cover his varied research interests. Furthermore, he has written
several books including his most recent, The Psychology of Lust Murder(2006) and Philosophy,
Crime, and Criminology (2006). It is apparent that Arrigo draws from his multidisciplinary
training, experience, and expertise in his latest book that uses a systemic approach to under-
standing criminal behavior.
Criminal Behavior is divided into 12 chapters that are organized into three sections. The
first section of the book (Part I) examines theories of criminal behavior. Specifically, several
theoretical paradigms are covered, including biological theories (chapter 1), psychological
theories (chapter 2), sociological theories (chapter 3), and social-psychological theories
(chapter 4). These chapters provide brief overviews of selected theories from each of these
theoretical paradigms including strain, control, and social learning, as well as genetic, per-
sonality, critical, and labeling theories. This section also contains an overview of diathesis
(chapter 1) and criminal thinking errors (chapter 2), both of which are generally overlooked
in most criminal behavior texts.
The second section of the book (Part II) examines types of offenders and types of criminal
behavior. Specific criminal behaviors covered include violence (chapter 5), nonviolence
(chapter 6), and delinquency (chapter 7). In addition, Arrigo includes in this section a chapter
(8) on mental illness—an issue extremely relevant to the study of criminal behavior and one
often neglected in most texts that explore crime and/or criminality. This, as well as the sub-
section devoted to exploring violence in the criminal justice system (in chapter 5), are
excellent additions to Criminal Behavior.
The third section of the book (Part III) examines justice system approaches to criminals
and criminal behavior. Particularly, this section covers policing (chapter 9), courts (chapter
10), corrections (chapter 11), and future directions related to crime, behavior, and public
policy (chapter 12). While the first three chapters of this section highlight more traditional
approaches to criminal behavior by criminal justice officials (e.g., community policing,
criminal and racial profiling, probation, sentencing, parole, prisons, and reentry), the final
Criminal Justice Review
Volume 33 Number 1
March 2008 98-134
© 2008 Georgia State University
Research Foundation, Inc.
http://cjr.sagepub.com
hosted at
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