Professional Writing for the Criminal Justice System

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Professional Writing for the Criminal Justice System

SKU# 9780826194480

Author: Jill Harrison PhD, Daniel Weisman MSW, PhD, Joseph Zornado PhD



This user-friendly guide to effective writing for the justice system teaches readers to write cogently and accurately across the spectrum of criminal justice-related disciplines. With an examination of common writing problems that interfere with good reporting and documentation, the book’s content underscores the importance of skilled written communication as a cornerstone of competent practice within criminology. It provides examples of strong writing that demonstrate communication of cultural competency and help students develop critical thinking/writing skills. Of outstanding value are numerous examples of real-world writing alongside discussion questions and explanations, enabling students to think critically and truly understand what constitutes good writing.

Actual forms and records used in practice are included along with real-world writing examples drawn from all areas of practice: police, corrections, probation and parole services, social work, miscellaneous court documents, and victim advocate services requiring all kinds of writing, including case notes, incident reports, op-ed essays, press releases, grant applications, and more. A robust Glossary of Writing and Writing Errors concludes the book.

Key Features:

  • Addresses the increasingly common issue of criminal justice students’ and professionals’ deficiencies in cultural competency and critical thinking as they relate to writing skills
  • Offers an interactive approach based on real practice and tied to criminal justice students’ and professionals’ interests
  • Includes examples of good and poor writing, with corrections and explanations for the “bad” examples
  • Displays actual forms and records used by law enforcement agencies, correctional departments, and related organizations
  • Fosters the development of critical and culturally competent writing skills

Product Details 

  • Publication Date May 28, 2017
  • Page Count 256
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826194480

About The Author(s) 

Jill Harrison, PhD, is an associate professor of sociology, Rhode Island College, and the director of the Justice Studies Program, which offers BA and MA programs to over 400 students. She has worked within the Rhode Island prison system since 2006 and is a court-appointed special advocate for children in state care. She has excellent working relationships with a variety of state agencies, including the correctional staff and administration, and has served as a consultant, instructor, and researcher with the RI Department of Corrections. In addition, she has provided training in cross-cultural communication for medical and social work staff who work with special populations throughout New England. Her current research is focused on the relationship between childhood trauma, drug use, and adult incarceration.

Daniel Weisman, MSW, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Social Work, Rhode Island College, and former chair, Bachelor of Social Work Department. He directed Rhode Island College’s Applied Research and Training Project, and evaluated programs for several Rhode Island state departments, as well as private nonprofit agencies in numerous states. He was a certified site visitor for the Council on Social Work Education. He has coauthored three other books, including Professional Writing for Social Work Practice (2013); written chapters in several anthologies; and published articles in social work and labor studies journals.

Joseph Zornado, PhD, is a professor of English at Rhode Island College. He has written numerous articles and books on literature, culture, and film, as well as on the teaching of writing. His first scholarly monograph, Inventing the Child: Culture, Ideology, and the Story of Childhood, appeared in 2001 (Routledge). He recently completed a speculative trilogy, 2050: A Future History in three volumes (Merry Blacksmith Press, 2015). He has coauthored Professional Writing for Social Work Practice (Springer, 2013), and is currently completing a scholarly monograph, Disney and the Dialectic of Desire: Fantasy as Social Practice (Palgrave MacMillan, 2016). He teaches American literature, children’s literature, literary theory, literature and film, and speculative fiction, among other courses.

Table of Contents 




Part I: Philosophy of Writing for Professional Practice

1. Why Write?

2. Critical Thinking for the Justice Professional

3. Cultural Competency for the Justice Professional

Part II: Professional Applications

4. Professional Writing for Law Enforcement

5. Professional Writing for the Courts

6. Professional Writing for Corrections Officers

7. Professional Writing for Probation and Parole

8. Grant Writing for the Justice Professional

9. Summary: Writing With the Mind and Body

Part III: Fundamentals of Effective Writing

10. Fundamentals of Effective Writing

11. Glossary of Writing and Writing Errors