Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals  book cover
6th Edition

Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals

ISBN 9781138288935
Published September 21, 2017 by Routledge
440 Pages 73 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $64.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The criminal justice process is dependent on accurate documentation. Criminal justice professionals can spend 50–75 percent of their time writing administrative and research reports. The information provided in these reports is crucial to the functioning of our system of justice. Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals, Sixth Edition, provides practical guidance—with specific writing samples and guidelines—for providing strong reports. Most law enforcement, security, corrections, and probation and parole officers have not had adequate training in how to provide well-written, accurate, brief, and complete reports. Report Writing for Criminal Justice Professionals covers everything officers need to learn—from basic English grammar to the difficult but often-ignored problem of creating documentation that will hold up in court. This new edition includes updates to reference materials and citations, as well as further supporting examples and new procedures in digital and electronic report writing.

Table of Contents




CHAPTER 1 The Why and How of Report Writing

Why Do You Write Reports?

Law Enforcement Reports

Security Reports

Corrections Reports

Probation and Parole Officer Reports

Forensic and Scientific Reports

How Do You Write Reports?

Writing the Log

Do Not Copy Randomly Chosen Models

How Do You Get Started?

What Kind of Notebook Should You Use?

How Much Should You Record in a Notebook?

Investigate, Do Not Just Record

Do Not Use Legalese or Old-fashioned Terminology

Should You Use Abbreviations?

Add Sketches, Photographs, and Diagrams

Evidence for Law Enforcement

Types of Evidence

Evidence Collected for Security

Evidence Collected for Probation and Parole

Need for Documentation

What Should Be Documented?

The ABCs of Report Writing (Whatever Your Field)


Chapter 1—Test

CHAPTER 2 Starting to Write

Planning Your Writing

Completing the Face Page

Review Your Notes

Make a "Shopping List"

Place Information in Groups

Label the Groups

Place Groups in Order

Writing the Report


Proofreading and Revisions

Sample Writing Exercise Using the Shopping List Method

Creating a Shopping List from Notes

Grouping the Shopping List

Labeling the Shopping List

Placing the Labeled Shopping List in Order

Final Report

Basic Recommendations for Writing Reports

Spelling, Jargon, and Abbreviation

Verb Tense

Active versus Passive Voice

Pronoun Agreement

Third Person versus First Person

Gender-Neutral Language

Superfluous Words or Legalese

Accurate and Factual Reporting




Chapter 2—Test

CHAPTER 3 The Face Page

UCR Crime Definitions

Part I Offenses

Part II Offenses

Methods of Gathering Information

Correct Abbreviation and Capitalization

Dealing with Names

Writing a Good Synopsis

Keeping Up with Trends


Chapter 3—Test

CHAPTER 4 The Narrative—The Continuation Page and Follow-Up Report

Continuation Page, Follow-Up Report, and Supplementary Report or

What is Your Purpose?

Who are Your Readers?

Chronological Organization

Using Military Time

Headings and Subheadings as a Way of Organizing

Creating Visual Impact and Ease of Reading

Avoiding Repetition and Meaningless Material

Getting Rid of Stereotyped Fillers


Chapter 4—Test

CHAPTER 5 Habits that Make for Speedy Writing

Writing about People

You and Your Fellow Employees

Describing Other People

Writing about Property

Writing about Places

Specific Parts of a Location

Describing MOs and Trademarks

Definitions of MO and Trademark

Avoid Being called on Your Time Off


Chapter 5—Test

CHAPTER 6 Other Types of Writing

Learning from the Short Memo

Writing a Letter

Faxes, Emails, and Other Electronic Media

Recording Minutes of a Meeting

The Presentence Investigation Report

Research and Other Reports


Learning from the Short Memo

Writing the Letter

Recording the Meeting

Presentence Investigation Report

Research and Other Reports

Chapter 6—Test

CHAPTER 7 Reading and Correcting Reports

Common Problem Areas

Use of Word Processors

Improving the Agency by Helping the Individual


Chapter 7—Test


CHAPTER 8 Simplified Study of Grammar

Identifying Parts of Speech

Using One Word in Several Ways

Using Verbs in the Past Tense

The Sentence

Direct Objects Versus Indirect Objects: Learning the Patterns

Identifying Active and Passive Verbs

Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses

Recognizing Prepositional, Participial, and Infinitive Phrases

Using Phrases as Adverbs, Adjectives, and Nouns

Prepositional Phrases

Participial Phrases

Infinitive Phrases

Using Prepositions in Your Report

Prepositions Commonly Used with Certain Verbs

Prepositions Commonly Used After Certain Expressions


Chapter 8—Test

CHAPTER 9 Avoiding Errors in Sentence Structure

The Run-on Sentence—Source of Many Errors

Block Method of Visualizing Sentence Structure

Punctuation Problems

Subject–Verb Agreement

Noun–Pronoun Agreement

Dangling Participles

Sentence Fragments


Chapter 9—Test

CHAPTER 10 Making Punctuation Work

The Comma

The Semicolon

The Colon

The Apostrophe

The Ellipsis


Quotation Marks

The Dash



Chapter 10—Test

CHAPTER 11 Breaking the Spelling Jinx

Take Special Care with Names

Learn Words Commonly used in Report Writing

Commonly Misspelled Words

Study Common Problem Areas

Clearing Up the "-ing" Confusion

Learning Words with Tricky Letter Combinations

Forming Plurals

Dealing with Other Complexities of the English Language

Strengthen Your Overall Writing Ability

Developing Proofreading Techniques


Chapter 11—Test

CHAPTER 12 Using or Abusing Words


Slang and Dialects

Do not Use Legalese

Avoid using Words or Phrases that Draw Conclusions

Improve Your Vocabulary

Synonyms, Antonyms, and Homonyms


Avoiding Sexism

Avoiding Racism

Considering Ageism


Nonverbal Communication

Developing Your Vocabulary


Chapter 12—Test

CHAPTER 13 Abbreviating and Capitalizing

Abbreviating to Save Time and Space

Numbers and Codes used for Abbreviation

Clarify Abbreviations

Abbreviations of Latin Terms

Changing Rules

Be Consistent

Postal Abbreviations for States and Territories


Do not Overcapitalize

General Rules for Capitalization

Capitalizing and Indenting for Brevity and Impact


Chapter 13—Test


CHAPTER 14 Innovations in Criminal Justice Report Writing

Identifying Criminals

Identifying Trends

Improving Ways of Sharing Information


Translated Forms

Report Writing Software

The Crime Lab

Automatic Fingerprint Identification System

Use of Computers and Television

Looking Toward the Future

Summary and Conclusion


Chapter 14—Test

Appendix A: Model Reports

Appendix B: Examples of Agency Instructions for Completing Report Forms

Appendix C: Selected Readings



View More



Larry S. Miller is a Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University. A former law enforcement officer and crime laboratory director, Miller has authored or co-authored seven textbooks, including Police Photography, Crime Scene Investigation, and Effective Police Supervision. His research interests and journal publications are in the areas of policing and forensic science.

John T. Whitehead is a Professor and former Chair in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at East Tennessee State University. He completed his M.A. at the University of Notre Dame and earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from SUNY-Albany. He teaches courses in corrections, criminal justice ethics, and the death penalty.