Elaine Gunnison, Carolina Academic Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2017, 331 pp.
I know you normally don't start a review like this, but I truly enjoyed reading Elaine Gunnison's "Community Corrections." When I pick up a textbook to read for the first time, there are two things I typically do: review the table of contents and review the references at the end of each chapter. Three things stuck out to me in this book: there was a significant section on re-entry (which included information on collateral consequences); there was a chapter on assessments and their history; and there was a section on the unsung heroes of community corrections.
The references included the names you would expect to find in this sort of work: D.A. Andrews and James Bonta, Edward LaTessa, Joan Petersilia, Jeremy Travis, Rick Seiter, etc., but just as important as the usual suspects, the references included material on subjects like probation fees, practitioner compliance with risk and needs analysis, the fiscal crisis in corrections, risk and need tools for antisocial behavior among youthful populations, civil death and many others. What I found, which is not typically referenced in traditional texts on community corrections, led to a conclusion of the significant pedagogical value of the text.
While the text does a good job in the traditional explanations of probation and parole, supervised release, intermediate sanctions and juvenile community corrections, I think what's more valuable to the reader is to discuss some of those areas where I have not seen as much discussion. The first is on re-entry. The book has three chapters which specifically deal with a returning citizen's return to the community: Re-entry: Challenges and Opportunities; Promising Reentry Interventions; and Finding Their Place: Ex-Offenders Fight to Regain a Place in Society. While there are gaps in the discussion, the effectiveness and the efficiencies of certain re-entry programs, the chapter on finding their place is the first time I have seen an entire chapter of a textbook devoted to the collateral consequences of an offender returning to full status in society.
I must admit I am a bit biased, as I opine that it is the consequences we as a society have established, specifically in the areas of employment, education and housing, which work against the re-entry efforts of many and ultimately enhance, rather than diminish, recidivism. While not going into significant detail, this chapter...