Social Justice, Criminal Justice: The Role of American Law in Effecting and Preventing Social Change, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social Justice, Criminal Justice

The Role of American Law in Effecting and Preventing Social Change, 1st Edition

By Cyndy Caravelis, Matthew Robinson


280 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-12-22
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Social Justice, Criminal Justice is a thought-provoking examination of the U.S. legal system, focusing on how criminal justice and social justice are related. The book provides a solid foundation of key philosophical and theoretical issues and goes on to examine the function of the law as it relates to social justice issues. The authors present and explain the foundational legal documents of the United States, and critically examine how those same documents, which espoused the rhetoric of equality for all, contribute toward the perpetuation and maintenance of a system of exclusion for groups with minority status, such as racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, women, and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

Succinct but comprehensive, this text offers a careful examination of possible relationships between social justice theory and criminal justice practice and illuminates the role that the legal system has played in both preventing and assisting social change and power dynamics. For each identified group, important landmark court decisions are used to demonstrate the plight of the powerless and the quest for equal rights. The book provides an important perspective and understanding of the relationships among criminal justice, social justice, and the law. Suitable for undergraduate and early graduate courses in Social Justice, Justice Studies, Critical Issues, Ethics, and American Government and Law, this text provides easily digestible content for those interested in thinking critically about the U.S. legal system.

Table of Contents

1. What Are Justice and Social Justice? 2. What Do Americans Value? 3. The Criminal Justice System 4. Social Construction of Different Groups 5. Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice 6. Latinos and Social Justice 7. Native Americans and Social Justice 8. Social Class and the Law 9. Women and Social Justice 10. Sexuality and Social Justice 11. Summary and Prospects for the Future

About the Authors

Cyndy Caravelis is an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University. Her current research interests include the relationship between social threat and social control, the effect of inequality on crime, theoretical criminology, and the death penalty. Her research on sentencing inequality has been published in journals such as Justice Quarterly and the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. In addition to her academic endeavors, she has extensive field experience in the criminal justice system, including work as a legislative analyst, as a crime intelligence analyst, and as an academic instructor in both male and female correctional institutions.

Matthew Robinson is a Professor of Government & Justice Studies at Appalachian State University. Robinson is the author of more than a dozen books on varied topics, including criminological theory, crime prevention, corporate crime, criminal justice, capital punishment, and the drug war. He is Past President of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Association and Past President of the Southern Criminal Justice Association.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Procedure
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology


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