Comparative Criminal Justice: Making Sense of Difference, Nelken, David, Sage, London, 2010, 136 p

  • Francesco CalderoniEmail author

At a first look, Comparative Criminal Justice by David Nelken is a slim book, just as required by the format of Sage’s Compact Criminology series. However, the reader expecting an easy synthesis of the subject could not be more mistaken. Even the author, who calls his work an “introduction to the field” (p. 9), is maybe too modest about its value.

The book is an extremely learned discussion of the goals, the assumptions, the implications and the methods of comparing criminal justice systems. The arguments are enriched by a number of examples drawn from the literature, with a particular attention to recent studies. This provides the reader with plenty of suggestions and hints for further readings.

Nelken discusses a number of crucial topics for the field of comparative criminal justice in six separate chapters. However, the author masterfully shows how different issues such as the goals, the methods and the outcome of comparison are inherently linked. The reader has the impression that...


  1. Cavadino, M., & Dignan, J. (2006). Penal Systems: A Comparative Approach. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanItaly

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