Crime and Criminal Justice in American Society:  by Randall G. Shelden, William B. Brown, Karen S. Miller, Randal B. Fritzler
441 pages, $51.95 list
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Crime and Criminal Justice in American Society
The problem of crime touches many lives and is the subject of many heated debates. Throughout the past two centuries, society has succumbed to an edifice complex. We build new prisons, new police stations, new courthouses, and new correctional centers—spending billions of dollars. Yet the public continues to fear crime, even though the crime rate has remained relatively stable. Legislation delineates what is a crime, and laws generally reflect the beliefs and attitudes of people in advantaged positions and maintain the existing order against any perceived threats.

This text looks at the components and processes of the criminal justice system and offers an alternative interpretation for statistics and facts about crime and criminal justice. Facts need context, and the facts of the criminal justice system differ depending on one’s perspective and experience. African Americans, Hispanics, whites, the rich, and the poor experience crime and the criminal justice system differently. The authors encourage readers to move beyond labeling individual behaviors and to contemplate how societal attitudes and actions contribute to the problem of crime and to the type of justice that exists in the United States.

All of us have a vested interest in the system of justice under which we live, but it’s easy to become complacent. We might think that as law-abiding citizens we are far removed from the criminal justice system. Perhaps we don’t feel any connection to people whose life circumstances differ radically from ours. Or perhaps we feel helpless to change years of tradition and power. The discussions in the text prompt examinations about why we believe what we believe about crime and punishment. They encourage readers to discover new insights and to expand perspectives beyond beliefs accepted without reflection. Potential solutions to difficult problems require awareness of multiple perspectives, careful analysis, and a willingness to take action.
“This text has a refreshingly original approach to the issues facing criminal justice today.” — Laura Manuel, Front Range Community College
Table of Contents
1. An Overview of the Criminal Justice System
The Constitutional Basis of the Criminal Justice System / Models of the Criminal Justice System / Social Inequality and Class Structure in the United States / The Crime Control Industry

2. The Problem of Crime in American Society
The Meaning of Crime / Classifications of Crime / Types of Crimes / Measuring Crime / The Extent of Crime / The Other Side of the Crime Picture: Corporate and State Crime

3. Perspectives on Criminal Justice and Law
The Classical School / The Positivist School / A Critical Perspective on Criminal Justice / Perspectives on Criminal Law / The Nature of Criminal Law / Types of Law / Essential Elements of Crime / Criminal Defenses

4. Theories of Crime
Biological Theories / Rational Choice Theory / Psychological Theories / Sociological Theories

5. A Historical Overview of American Policing
Early Police Systems / A Police Institution Emerges in England / American Policing Emerges

6. American Law Enforcement in the Twenty-First Century
Promoting Fear and Selling the Illusion of Protection / American Policing: The Fifth Armed Force? / Jurisdictional Considerations / Law Enforcement: Structure, Composition, and Personnel

7. Police Functions and Problems
Enforcing the Law or Maintaining Order? / The Police Subculture / Police Corruption / Police Abuse of Power / The Police and the War on Drugs / The Police and the War on Gangs / Can the Police Prevent Crime? / Policing and Mental Illness / Community Policing

8. The Criminal Courts: The System and Participants
Images of the Courts / Social Justice / Problem-Solving State Courts / A Brief History / An Overview of the Criminal Court System / Participants in the Court System / Changing and Reforming the Court System

9. Criminal Courts: The Process
Pretrial Court Processes / Plea Bargaining: Maintaining Bureaucratic Efficiency / The Criminal Trial / Alternative Case Processing and New Criminal Court Procedures

10. Sentencing
Justifications for Punishment / The Sentencing Process / Sentences in Felony Cases / Capital Punishment: Legalized Homicide / The Impact of the "War on Drugs" / Alternatives to Incarceration / Case Disposition and Sentencing in Problem-Solving Courts

11. Jails: Temporary Housing for the Poor
The Historical Context / Who Is in Jail? / Conditions in Jails / The Criminalization of the Mentally Ill / The Functions of Jails: Managing the "Rabble" Class / Managing Families, Mentally Ill, and Methamphetamine Users in Jail / Public Expectations: Do More with Less / The Marion County Jail in Salem, Oregon

12. The Modern Prison System
Early American Prisons, 1790–1830 / The Pennsylvania and Auburn Systems of Penal Discipline, 1830–1870 / Reformatories, 1870–1900 / The "Big House," 1900–1946 / The "Correctional Institution," 1946–1980 / Warehousing, 1980 into the Twenty-First Century / The New American Apartheid

13. Doing Time in American Prisons
The Prison World / Prison Violence / Prisoners' Rights

14. Getting Out of Prison: Problems with Reentry and Parole
Inmate Views of the "Outside" / Getting Out of Prison on Parole / The Increase of Parole Failures: Why? / Being on Parole / Is the Parole System Set up to Fail? / Barriers to Parole Success: Some "Collateral Consequences" of Mass Incarceration / Some Model Programs

15. The Prison Industrial Complex
Prisons as a Market for Capitalism / Rural Prisons: Uplifting Rural Economies? / The American "Gulag" / The Privatization of Prisons: More Profits for Private Industry

16. The Juvenile Justice System
A Brief History of the Juvenile Justice System / Juvenile Laws / Juvenile Court: The Structure / Juvenile Court: The Process / Juvenile Court Processing / Juvenile Court Statistics / Prisons or "Correctional" Institutions: What's in a Name? / Juveniles as Victims / Racial Injustice in the South

17. Women and the Criminal Justice System
Women and the Law: A Historical Overview / Women and Crime / Women's Prisons / Women in Prison / Young Women and the Juvenile Justice System

18. Making Changes: Reforming Criminal Justice and Seeking Social Justice
Where We Are / What Doesn't Work / Addressing the Problem of Social Inequality / Ending the "War on Drugs" / Expanding Diversion Programs, Avoiding Net Widening / Broad-Based National Strategies to Reduce Crime / Restorative Justice / Some Concluding Thoughts