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An Introduction to Criminal Psychology

Crime is a topic that is of considerable interest to policy-makers, politicians and the public alike. We want to know what factors can explain the nature and prevalence of crime in society and use this knowledge to better develop approaches for managing criminal behaviour. This book provides a comprehensive overview of approaches to understanding crime and criminal behaviour, with a focus on psychological perspectives. A wide range of different types of criminal behaviour are considered, including juvenile crime, violent offending, sexual offending, collective violence and drug use. For each type of offence a clear overview of key conceptual and methodological issues is provided, along with a detailed consideration of the major theoretical approaches that have been developed. The book concludes by considering how our theoretical understanding of crime can inform our responses to criminal behaviour in terms of punishment, prevention and rehabilitation. Key features of the book include: * an in-depth coverage of a broad range of different types of criminal behaviour; * inclusion of a diverse range of different theoretical perspectives; * accessibly written, with extensive use of case studies, boxes and activities; * an extensive use of up-to-date references that highlight the current state of knowledge in the field of criminal psychology. This book should be of interest to students, academics, researchers and practitioners with an interest in criminal behaviour, and is particularly suitable for undergraduate courses in criminal psychology, forensic psychology and psychological criminology.
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Table of Contents

1. Understanding criminal behaviour: an overview 2. Juvenile delinquency and developmental theories of crime 3. Mental disorder and crime 4. Aggression and violence 5. Violent offending 6. Collective violence 7. Sexual offending 8. Drugs and crime 9. Punishment 10. Prevention, rehabilitation and restorative justice.

About the Author

Russil Durrant is a lecturer at the Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, where he teaches courses in criminal and forensic psychology. His research interests include the psychology of violent behaviour, the role of evolutionary explanations in criminology, and the relationship between drug use and crime. He is author of Substance Abuse: Cultural and Historical Perspectives (Sage, 2003).


This is a first-rate text on criminal psychology. The writing is superb, and the comprehensive, multilevel perspective developed by Dr Durrant to account for crime is innovative and persuasive. The knowledge required to integrate biological, social, cultural, psychological, and environmental factors into a workable theoretical framework is immense and Dr Durrant has achieved this very demanding task, seemingly effortlessly. It is a terrific piece of work. Professor Tony Ward, clinical psychologist and Director of Clinical Training at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

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