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Criminal (In)Justice

Criminal (In)Justice
A Critical Introduction

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August 2019 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Criminal (In)Justice: A Critical Introduction takes an unflinching look at the American criminal justice system and the social forces that affect the implementation of justice. Author Aaron Fichtelberg uses a unique, critical perspective to introduce students to criminal justice and encourages them to look closer at the intersection of race, class, gender, and inequality in the criminal justice system. Covering each of the foundational areas of the criminal justice system—policing, courts, and corrections—this book takes an in-depth look at the influence of inequality, making it ideal for instructors who want students to critically assess and understand the American criminal justice system.

About the Author
To Professors Using This Book
Digital Resources  
General Introduction
Why a “Critical” Introduction?  
Themes of the Book  
The Structure of This Book  
A Comment About Terminology  
CHAPTER 1 • Defining, Classifying, and Measuring Crime
Defining Crime  
Classifying Crime  
Measuring Crime  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 2 • Criminal Law
The Rule of Law  
The “Ingredients” (Elements) of Crime  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Exercise: Actus Reus and Mens Reas  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 3 • Criminology
Religious Approaches to Crime  
Classical Criminology  
Biological Criminology  
Psychological Criminology  
Sociological Criminology  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 4 • Crime and Inequality
Economic Inequality and Crime  
Racial Inequality and Crime  
Gender Inequality and Crime  
Green Criminology, Queer Criminology, and Postmodernism  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
The Police and American Government  
Policing as a Verb Versus Police as a Noun  
Active Versus Passive Policing  
Formal Versus Informal Policing  
Policing From a Critical Perspective  
CHAPTER 5 • The History of Policing
The Rise of the London Metropolitan Police  
Policing in America: The Early Years  
The Era of Cronyism and Patronage  
Federal Policing  
Troubles of the 1960s and 1970s  
The Drug War  
Community Policing and Broken Windows  
The Homeland Security Era  
After Homeland Security?  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 6 • Modern Policing
The Organization of Policing  
The Use of Force  
The Constitution and the Police: The Fourth Amendment  
Police Discretion  
Civil Forfeiture  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 7 • Police Deviance
Police Deviance in Context  
Overenthusiastic Policing  
The Causes of Police Deviance  
Handling Police Deviance  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 8 • Courts
Adversarial Justice  
Plea Bargains and the Courtroom Workgroup  
Other Courtroom Staff  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 9 • Criminal Trials
The Trial  
Presenting Evidence  
Other Motions at Trial  
Jury Instructions, Deliberation, and Verdict  
Appeals and Appellate Courts  
Appellate Court Systems  
The Supreme Court  
The Politics of Appellate Jurisprudence  
Theories of Constitutional Interpretation  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 10 • The History of Punishment
Premodern Forms of Punishment  
The Rise of the Prison  
Prison Labor and Indeterminate Sentencing  
Mass Incarceration  
The Prison-Industrial Complex  
After Incarceration?  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 11 • Prison Life
Going to Prison  
The Prison Population  
Types of Prisons  
Life in Prison, the Inmate Code  
Women in Prison  
Prisoner Rights  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 12 • Alternatives to Prison
The Collateral Effects of Incarceration  
Community Corrections  
Sex Offenders  
Alternative Incarcerations  
Restorative Justice  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 13 • The Death Penalty
The History of the Death Penalty  
The Death Penalty and the Constitution  
Other Developments in the Death Penalty  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  
CHAPTER 14 • Juvenile Justice
The History of Childhood Crime  
Juvenile Justice  
Juvenile Corrections  
Special Cases  
Chapter Summary  
Review/Discussion Questions  
Key Terms  


Instrutor Resource Site

SAGE edge for instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students with:
  • a password-protected site for complete and protected access to all text-specific instructor resources;  
  • test banks that provide a diverse range of ready-to-use options that save you time. You can also easily edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions;
  • section introduction quizzes that provide comprehensive questions based on the author's introductions to all five sections in the book; 
  • carefully selected video and multimedia links which enhance classroom-based exploration of key topics;
  • sample course syllabus for semester courses that provide suggested models for structuring your course;
  • editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course;
  • lecture notes that summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions; and
  • a course cartridge for easy LMS integration. 
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for students enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:
  • an open-access site that makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime;
  • eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts;
  • eQuizzes that allow students to practice and assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus their attention; and
  • carefully selected video and multimedia links which enhance classroom-based exploration of key topics. 

Criminal (In)Justice: A Critical Introduction is a critical, introductory discussion and analysis of the criminal justice system. The text situates components of the criminal justice system within their relevant historical, political, and social contexts. It is the ideal textbook for professors who want students to critically assess and understand the American criminal justice system.”

Jennifer M. Ortiz
Indiana University Southeast

Criminal (In)Justice presents an overview of the criminal justice system from the angle of critical criminology instead of the traditional ‘this is who we are and this is what we do’ approach. This book makes students ask why the system is what it is and why it does what it does—and what are the results of those actions.”

Carol L. S. Trent
Saint Francis University

“This is an excellent introductory criminal justice text that presents criminal justice material in an accessible format for freshman while addressing the complexities of race, gender, class, and inequality.”

Melinda Roberts
University of Southern Indiana

“A critical perspective on criminal justice that examines not only the basics we need our students to have but exposes them to it from a more sociological perspective, with ideas about inequality, discrimination, flaws in the CJ system, etc.”

Martha Sherman
The Pennsylvania State University

“This is a very readable, critical introduction to the criminal justice system. It’s unique in how it discusses inequalities, politics, and power relationships in the system as integral to how the system works.”

Monica Williams
Weber State University

Criminal (In)Justice uses a critical approach based on the sociological perspective to examine core topics in criminal justice on law enforcement, courts, and punishment as well as other important special topics and the role and intersectionality of race, gender, class, and inequality within the CJ system. It includes recent, real world examples to illustrate these issues and challenges students to think critically."

Scott M. Walfield
East Carolina University

"An excellent new text with a more robust and timely examination of criminology."

Dominic D. Yin
City College of San Francisco
Key features
  • A conversational writing style speaks directly to students to make the material more approachable.
  • Reality Check boxes address common myths and misconceptions about the criminal justice system. 
  • Criminal (In)Justice boxes highlight examples of inequality in criminal justice and potential remedies for the issues facing the system. 
  • What Would You Do? boxes engage students with critical thinking scenarios aimed at applying chapter material to real-life situations. 
  • Where Do I Fit In? boxes feature practical advice to give students more insight into how to interact with the criminal justice system, from career opportunities to tips on what to do when pulled over by a police officer. 
  • Some Statistics boxes reinforce learning about the issues facing the criminal justice system from an evidence-based perspective with up-to-date data and statistics. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4: Crime and Inequality

Chapter 6: Modern Policing

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