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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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