THE LIMITS OF THE CRIMINAL SANCTION by Herbert L. Packer

THE LIMITS OF THE CRIMINAL SANCTION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book by a Professor of Law at Stanford might well be called Crime and Punishment except that its province is larger than that and also larger than its title modestly implies. In a style distinguished by its clarity, Packer examines our concept of criminal punishment--its rationale, its process and its limits. He discusses the justifications for various kinds of criminal sanctions--compensation, regulation, punishment and treatment; the clash of values that takes place at every level of the criminal process; and finally, the problem of defining criteria for limiting the reach of the ""criminal sanction."" He maintains that though we need the criminal sanction as a device for dealing with ""gross and immediate harms,"" we resort to it in a far too indiscriminate way, thus undermining it. ""We can have as much or as little crime as we please, depending on what we choose to call criminal."" The book is admirably organized, objective, and far more absorbing for the general reader than the subject might suggest.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1968
Publisher: Stanford Univ. Press