1st Edition

Understanding Hate Crimes
Acts, Motives, Offenders, Victims, and Justice

ISBN 9780415484015
Published March 31, 2015 by Routledge
242 Pages - 6 B/W Illustrations

USD $73.95

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Book Description

Hate crimes and lesser acts of bigotry and intolerance are seen to be constants in today’s world. Since 1990, the federal government has published annual reports on hate crime incidents in the United States. While the reported numbers are disturbing, even more devastating is the impact of these crimes on individuals, communities, and society.

This comprehensive textbook can serve as a stand-alone source for instructors and students who study hate crimes and/or other related acts. It invites the reader to consider relevant social mores and practices as well as criminal justice policies as they relate to hate crimes by presenting this subject within a broad context.

Table of Contents

Foreword & Preface  1. Introduction - An overview  2. A History of Hate in America  3. The Evolution toward Modern Hate Crime Laws  4. The Criminology of Hate Crime  5. Perpetrators – What do we know about them?  6. Victims – Who are they?  7. Criminal Justice System Responses  8. International Perspectives  9. The Future of Hate Crimes

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Carolyn Petrosino is Professor of Criminal Justice in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Bridgewater State University. She served on the Massachusetts Juvenile Justice Advisory Council during the Romney Administration. As a result of her research and writings on hate crime, she was invited to Capitol Hill in 2002 to participate in a Congressional Briefing on the state of hate crime research and public policy in the United States. She recently co-authored American Corrections, now in its second edition. In addition, she has published several articles and book chapters on hate crimes in the areas of the history of hate crime in the United States, affiliation dynamics and recruitment practices of hate groups, and the nature and scope of anti-Black hate crimes. Her next project focuses on communities, collective efficacy, and community response to hate crimes.


Petrosino challenges us to engage with some of the fundamental questions associated with hate crimes, and to think more critically about their nature, causation and implications. Written accessibly and authoritatively throughout, this text underlines the importance of seeing hate crime as a human problem which requires interventions beyond simply the immediate or the obvious.

Dr Neil Chakraborti, Director of the Leicester Centre for Hate Studies, University of Leicester, UK

In the last two decades or so hate crime has become a significant global cause for concern. Drawing upon her own vast experience and expertise in the area, Carolyn Petrosino has written a fascinating and accessible book that offers a comprehensive and wide-ranging overview of the complex field of hate crime. She offers insightful analysis of not just the harmful effects of hate, but also of the motivations and profiles of offenders, both from a US and international perspective. I’ve no doubt Understanding Hate Crimes will become a key texts for academics, students and practitioners.

Jon Garland, Reader in Criminology, University of Surrey, UK

Thoughtful, well-written, and broad in scope, this book provides a strong overview of hate crime. Researchers and students in a variety of disciplines will find this text enlightening and accessible. Professor Petrosino brings a fresh perspective to a topic still badly in need of more study.Phyllis B. Gerstenfeld, J.D., Ph.D., California State University, Stanislaus, USA

In 1994, after teaching a course in hate crimes, the author, a professor of criminal justice at Bridgewater University, began to collect materials for an introductory text for students and instructors. This well-written and accessible book is the result of that endeavor. ...Understanding Hate Cimres: Acts, Motives, Offenders, Victims, and Justice is an excellent interdisciplinary reference and textbook covering many areas of the field.

Mary W. Lindahl, PsyCRITIQUES, September 2015