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Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Thomas Hickey
Date Published
510 pages
Using a debate-style format, this book introduces students to controversies in criminal justice, with opposing arguments on each topic presented by leading criminologists, sociologists, and social commentators.
Part 1 presents arguments on four “Systemic Issues” whether America’s crime problems result from a failure to “get tough on crime” whether the United States has a right to torture suspected terrorists; whether habitual sex offenders should be castrated; and whether strict gun control laws reduce homicides. Part 2 presents arguments on four “Legal Issues” whether the exclusionary rule for evidence admissibility in criminal cases should be abolished; whether “Black rage” is a legitimate defense in criminal proceedings; whether U.S. Courts should abolish the “Miranda” rule; and whether a judge should be permitted to admit evidence about an alleged rape victim’s history as a prostitute. Part 3 presents opposing arguments on four “Processional Issues.” They address whether the United States should abolish plea bargaining in criminal cases; whether juvenile court systems should be abolished; whether cameras should be allowed inside courtrooms; and whether “three-strikes” sentencing has helped to reduce serious crime. Part 4 presents opposing arguments on four issues related to “Punishment.” They address whether the U.S. Constitution is violated by confining sex offenders indefinitely in mental hospitals after they have completed prison sentences; whether homosexual inmates have a right to share the same cell; whether supermax prisons are an appropriate way to punish hardened criminals; and whether “for profit” corporations should be allowed to operate U.S. prisons. Part 5 contains arguments on four “Social Justice Issues.” The issues are whether juveniles should be eligible for the death penalty; whether “affirmative action” programs increase the number of minority police officers; whether female police officers are as effective as male officers; and whether crack-cocaine laws discriminate against African-Americans and other minority groups. A subject index