1st Edition

Conservative Criminology
A Call to Restore Balance to the Social Sciences

ISBN 9780323357012
Published November 20, 2015 by Routledge
150 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

USD $64.95

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Book Description

Conservative Criminology serves as an important counterpoint to virtually every other academic text on crime. Hundreds of books have been written about crime and criminal justice policy from a variety of perspectives, including Marxist, liberal, progressive, feminist, radical, and post-modernist. To date, however, no book has been written outlining a conservative perspective on crime and criminal justice policy. Not a polemic against liberalism, Conservative Criminology nonetheless focuses on how liberal ideology affects the study of crime and criminals and the policies that criminologist advocate. Wright and DeLisi, both senior scholars, give a voice to a major political philosophy—a philosophy often demonized by academics—and to conservatives in the academic world. In the end, Conservative Criminology calls for an investment in intellectual diversity, a respect for varying political philosophies, and a renewed commitment to honesty in scholarship.

The authors encourage debate in the profession about the proper role of ideology in the academy and in public policies on crime and justice. Conservative Criminology is for the criminal justice professional and student. It serves as a stimulating supplement to courses in criminology and criminal justice, as well as a primary text for special issues or capstone courses. This book supports the reader in recognizing ideological biases, whatever they might be, and in considering their own convictions.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Conservative Criminology?
  2. The Tribal Moral Community of Criminology
  3. What is Conservatism?
  4. Liberals Slaying Dragons
  5. Public Housing and the Family Court
  6. A Critique of Liberalism
  7. A Conservative Critique of Criminology
  8. Conservative Criminology

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John Paul Wright

John Paul Wright is Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati and is a Distinguished Adjunct Research Professor at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Wright has authored or coauthored almost 200 scholarly works. His work primarily focuses on the connection between biological factors and criminal behavior, with an emphasis on how biological factors play out across the life course. Wright has published in a broad range of scientific and scholarly journals, including journals in the social and hard sciences. His work has been covered by the New York Times, National Geographic, and National Public Radio. It was his work in biosocial criminology that sensitized him to the fundamental role of political ideology in the social sciences generally and in criminology specifically.

Matt DeLisi

Matt DeLisi is Professor and Coordinator of Criminal Justice Studies and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for the Study of Violence at Iowa State University. DeLisi's primary research interests include criminal careers/career criminals, self-control theory, corrections, psychopathy, and the molecular/behavioral genetics of antisocial behavior. DeLisi is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and Association for Psychological Science. DeLisi has published nearly 200 scholarly works and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Criminal Justice.


Wright and DeLisi provide an invaluable primer in the much-neglected area of conservative criminology. They indict the dominant liberal paradigm for using its power to silence uncomfortable views and for using ideological purity, not science, to decide controversial issues.  Whether readers find its claims irritating or illuminating, Conservative Criminology promises to provoke important debates and to force progressives, such as myself, to sharpen our thinking and compile more convincing evidence. It is a volume that should be read by all.

- Francis T. Cullen, University of Cincinnati

Using reason and data Wright and DeLisi persuasively argue that criminology has been contaminated by an overwhelming commitment to leftist ideology. Conservative Criminology offers a refreshing and open discussion regarding the need for a diversity of thought in criminology that includes a conservative voice. A must read for all criminologists!

-Michael G. Vaughn, Saint Louis University

Wright and DeLisi’s Conservative Criminology presents an inconvenient truth that criminology has shut out an important way of looking at the world. As a liberal criminologist, I found it compelling, frustrating, and challenging, all at the same time! It’s a must read for scholars and students alike.

- Travis Pratt, University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute