Crime and Criminal Justice in America  book cover
3rd Edition

Crime and Criminal Justice in America

ISBN 9780323290692
Published March 1, 2017 by Routledge
566 Pages 150 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Crime and Criminal Justice in America, Third Edition, addresses the major controversial issues in U.S. policing, courts, and the correctional system. This book features unique graphics and contemporary data and research, developed by Joycelyn Pollock, criminologist, and University Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice, Texas State University. The text’s question-and-answer model promotes a critical thinking process for students new to criminal justice, encouraging student engagement and the application of learned skills through end-of-chapter exercises. Timely, comprehensive, and visually stimulating, Crime and Criminal Justice in America, Third Edition, is the go-to text for introductory criminal justice students and educators.

Table of Contents


Section 1 The Criminal Justice System and Social Control

1 Criminal Justice as Social Control
What Is the Criminal Justice "System"? Is It a System?
What Is Social Control? How Does The "Social Contract" Justify State Power?
What Is the Historical Foundation of Our Legal System?
How Big Is the Criminal Justice System Compared to 50 Years Ago?
What Are Some Current Issues in Criminal Justice Today?
How Do Ideologies Affect Objective Analysis of Criminal Justice Issues?
Focus On Data: Are Illegal Immigrants More Likely to Be Criminal?
Critical Thinking Exercises

2 Crime in Society
What Is Crime?
What Is the Role of Legislators, Victims, Police, and Prosecutors in Defining Crime?
What Sources Do We Use to Find Out About the Patterns of Crime?
What Crimes Are People Most Frequently Arrested For?
What Do We Know About Homicide?
What Has Been the Pattern of Crime Over the Years? Has It Declined?
Does the Public Have an Accurate Perception about the Prevalence of Crime?
How Do the Crime Rates of the United States Compare to Other Countries?
Focus On Data: Is There a Ferguson Effect? Is There a Current Crime Wave?
Critical Thinking Exercises

3 Why Has Crime Declined?
What Are the Explanations for the Decline of Crime?
What Are Some Methodological Issues in the Question: Why Do People Commit Crime?
Who Commits Crime?
Focus On Data: Are Blacks More Criminal Than Whites?
What Are the Major Criminological Theories of Crime?
What Do Biological Theories of Crime Say About Who Commits Crime and Why?
What Do Psychological Theories of Crime Say About Who Commits Crime and Why?
What Do Sociological Theories of Crime Say About Who Commits Crime and Why?
What Are Some Other Theories of Crime?
Critical Thinking Exercises

Section 2 Law Enforcement as Social Control

4 Police in America
What Is the Function of Policing?
What Are the Major Issues Facing Policing Today?
Focus On Data: Are Police Officers Under Attack?
How Many Police Officers Are There and Who Are They?
What Is the Difference Between Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement?
How Did Modern Policing Evolve?
What Is Community Policing?
Critical Thinking Exercises

5 Police Operations
How Are Police Officers Selected and Trained?
What is the Difference Between Proactive and Reactive Policing?
How Has Technology Affected Policing?
Is Police Officer Stress a Problem and, If So, What Is the Role of Organizational Justice?
What is the Police Subculture?
What Are Some Types of Police Misconduct?
Do Police Officers Discriminate Against Minorities?
What Is the Law and Policy Concerning Police Use of Force?
Focus On Data: Do Police Officers Abuse Their Power to Use Lethal Force?
What Were the Recommendations of the 21st Century President’s Task Force on Policing?
Critical Thinking Exercises

6 Policing and the Legal Process
What Is the Source of Our Rights Against Police Power?
When Can Police "Seize" a Person in Any Way?
When Can Police Search Without a Warrant?
Do Police Need a Warrant to Obtain a Blood Sample? Breathalyzer Test? Saliva? Urine? Hair? DNA?
Do Police Need a Warrant to Obtain a Handwriting Sample? Clothing? Line-Ups or Photo Arrays?
What Are Our Rights During Interrogation?
What Is the Exclusionary Rule?
Focus On Data: Do Gun Control Laws Reduce Gun-Related Violence?
Critical Thinking Exercises

Section 3 The Law as Social Control

7 Law and Society
What Is the Purpose of Law? What is the Purpose of Criminal Law?
What Is the Origin of Our Legal System?
What Are Some Differences Between Civil and Criminal Law?
What Are Some Constitutional Challenges to Creating Laws?
What Are the Elements of a Crime?
What Are Some Defenses to Criminal Culpability?
What Are Some Recent Issues in Criminal Law?
Focus On Data: Is Medical Marijuana Crime or Cure?
Critical Thinking Exercises

8 Criminal Prosecution
What Are the Different Levels of Courts?
What Are Specialized Courts?
Focus On Data: Are Specialized Courts Effective?
How Do Prosecutors Decide Whether and What to Charge?
What Are the Duties of a Defense Attorney?
What is the Role of a Judge? How Are They Selected?
What is the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts?
How Does Due Process Protect Individuals Against Error in the Criminal Justice Process?
What Are the Steps of a Trial?
Critical Thinking Exercises

9 Criminal Sentencing
What Happens in a Sentencing Hearing?
What Are the Goals of Sentencing?
What Are the Types of Sentences That Might Be Given to Criminal Offenders?
What Are Three-Strikes Sentencing Laws?
What Is the Most Common Sentence?
What Is the Criticism Regarding Fines and Fees?
What Recent Events Have Occurred with Federal Drug Sentencing?
What is Restorative Justice?
What Are the Legal Arguments Against the Death Penalty?
Focus On Data: Is There Racial Disparity in Sentencing?
Critical Thinking Exercises

Section 4 Corrections as Social Control

10 Community Corrections and Correctional Classification
What Are the Goals of Corrections? What Was the "Rehabilitative Era"?
How Do Theories of Crime Relate to What We Do to Criminals?
What Is Probation and How Is It Different from Parole? How is It Different from Pre-Trial Diversion?
What Is the History of Probation?
What Are Some Typical Conditions for a Probationer?
What Is the Profile of Offenders Under Correctional Supervision?
Do Women On Probation Have Different Backgrounds and Needs Than Men; If So, What Are They?
How Many Drug Offenders Are Under Correctional Supervision? What Are Their Issues?
What Are Some Current Issues of Probation Supervision?
What Is Revocation? How Many Probationers Fail?
What Is Classification? What Is Third Generation Classification?
Focus On Data: Does R/N/R Classification Accurately Predict Recidivism?
Critical Thinking Exercises

11 Confinement: Jails and Prisons
How Many People Are Incarcerated in Jails and Prisons in the United States?
What Rights Do Prisoners Have?
What is Prison Like Today Compared to Previous Eras?
Who Are the Prisoners in State and Federal Prisons?
What Are the Elements of the Prisoner Subculture?
Is Sexual Assault in Prison a Problem?
What Are the Issues Concerning the Mentally Ill in Jails and Prisons?
Why Are Some Prisons and Jails Privately Run? Are Private Prisons Less Expensive?
What Are the Differences and Similarities of Jails and Prisons?
Focus On Data: Did the Increase in Incarceration Reduce the Crime Rate Between 1995 and 2010?
Critical Thinking Exercises

12 Re-Entry and Recidivism
What Is the History of Parole?
Who Is on Parole?
What Are the Problems of Re-Entry?
What Are Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction?
What Is the Second Chance Act?
What Is the Process for Parole Revocation?
How Many Offenders Recidivate and Who Is Most Likely to Recidivate?
Focus On Data: What is The "Justice Reinvestment Initiative" and "Justice Realignment"? Have These Approaches Increased Crime?
Critical Thinking Exercises

13 Juvenile Justice and Corrections
How Is the Juvenile Justice System Different from the Adult System?
What Have Been the Trends in Juvenile Crime?
What Is the Profile of the Juvenile Offender?
Focus On Data: Are Girls Becoming More Violent?
What Rights Do Juvenile Offenders Have?
Can Juveniles End Up in Adult Courts? How?
What Are People Referring to by the Terms "Zero Tolerance" and "School-To-Prison Pipeline"?
How Many Juveniles Are On Probation?
How Many Youths Are Sent to Secure Detention Facilities?
Are Juveniles as Recidivistic as Adults?
Critical Thinking Exercises 

Section 5 Concluding Our Critical Thinking Approach to Criminal Justice

14 A Critical Thinking Approach to Criminal Justice
What Are the Major Issues in Studying Crime Today?
What Are the Major Issues in Policing Today?
What Are the Major Issues in Courts Today?
What Are the Major Issues in Corrections Today?
What Is the Role of Criminal Justice Actors in the War On Terror?
Focus On Data: Last Thoughts
Critical Thinking Exercises 


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Joycelyn Pollock started her career in criminal justice as a probation and parole officer in the state of Washington. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and was nominated to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a Master’s and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany. She also obtained a J.D. at the University of Houston, and passed the Texas Bar in 1991.

Her books include Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice, Ninth Edition (2016), Criminal Law , Eleventh Edition (2016), Case Studies in Criminal Justice Ethics (with Michael Braswell and Larry Miller, 2006), Prisons and Prison Life (2004), Second Edition (2012), Women’s Crimes, Criminology, and Corrections (2014), and many others.

She served as Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Texas State University (1993–1996) and graduate director (2002–2006).

In 2006 she received the Outstanding Texas State Woman Faculty Award and also the Bruce Smith Award from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences for "outstanding contributions to criminal justice." In 2008 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from The University of Albany, School of Criminal Justice.

She was formerly a member of the Crime and Justice Research Alliance (CJRA), a shared project of the American Society of Criminology and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. CJRA is a clearinghouse and source for objective criminal justice research. It refers policy members to authoritative experts to inform public debate on criminal justice issues.


This edition of Crime and Criminal Justice in America is even better than the last, and the last edition was fantastic. Pollock describes complex concepts so clearly and concisely that students grasp them on the first reading. Her examples are up to date, relevant, and instructive. Many texts talk about race and gender in general terms, but Pollock brings these crucial issues to life in a way that motivates students to reflect upon the basic fairness of our system of justice. My students love this text. Yours will, too.—Richard R. Bennett, Professor of Justice, American University

A very thorough and readable treatment of the criminal justice system in our nation. Pollock does an admirable job bringing together the latest scholarship relating to all of the stages of the justice system and relating the problems that exist in the practice and functioning from arrest to reentry. Pollock covers the field in a concise, understandable and sound manner—one that is thought-provoking and will most definitely keep students interested throughout the course. –Mark Pogrebin, Professor, University of Colorado Denver