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Criminology: A Contemporary Handbook

NCJ Number
J F Sheley
Date Published
566 pages
Chapters by criminologists who are experts in their fields consider how crime is defined, perceived, explained, and controlled.
Part One confronts readers with a more complex view of crime than that typically held by the general public. It reviews the content and sources of public notions of contemporary crime and punishment. Also examined is the role of major interest groups in determining who and what are labeled "criminal" in American society and in shaping the content of the public's perceptions of crime as a social problem. Part Two explores various dimensions of criminal activity including a critical examination of the statistics used to profile crime in America. Other chapters in this section provide detailed analyses of four correlates of criminal activity: gender, age, race, and class. Crime victims are also profiled. Part Three explores five types of crime: violent crime, property crime, organized crime, and white-collar crime. Part Four addresses explanations of criminal behavior. The discussion critiques contemporary notions of biological links to offense behavior; considers strain, subcultural, control, and deterrence theories of crime; and explores two relatively recent challenges to mainstream causal theorizing: the labeling and critical perspectives. The remaining two parts of the book focus on crime control, including the nature of the criminal justice system and four contemporary controversial crime-control issues: drugs and crime, gun control, selective incapacitation, and capital punishment. 1,930 references and name and subject indexes