In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Crime Control Policy

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Data Sources
  • Crime Control and Rehabilitative Ideal
  • Critical Inquiry into Crime Control
  • Historical Studies of Crime Control
  • Crime Control Reforms
  • Get-Tough Policies of Crime Control
  • Crime Control Policy

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Criminology Crime Control Policy
Thomas G. Blomberg, Julie Brancale
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 March 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 March 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0039


The literature on crime control policy has developed from several areas of study. Included among these areas are general descriptive studies of the operations of the crime control system (police, courts, and corrections), studies of the causes of criminal behavior in relation to the rehabilitation of offenders, critical inquiry into crime control policies and practices, historical studies of crime control, studies of crime control reforms, studies of get-tough crime control policies, and studies aimed at linking crime control knowledge to public policy. A theme emerging from this literature has been a recognition of the patterned capacity of various crime control policies and reforms to have unintended consequences.

General Overviews

There are a number of criminal justice textbooks that provide introductory and largely descriptive information on the formal criminal justice system. These textbooks generally provide coverage of crime and criminal law, the police, the courts (such as prosecuting and sentencing of criminal defendants), corrections (such as prisons, parole, probation, and community corrections), and the juvenile justice system. In addition, there are edited volumes on crime control that provide more detailed assessments of the law, police, courts, and corrections. The introductory textbooks are suitable for beginning undergraduate students (see Schmalleger 2015, Cole and Gertz 2013, Peak 2011, Reid 2011, Bohm and Haley 2009, Del Carmen and Trulson 2005). The edited volumes provide more focused and detailed readings that are useful for graduate students and researchers studying particular crime control components (see Neubauer 2013, Cole 1993).

  • Bohm, Robert M., and Keith N. Haley. 2009. Introduction to criminal justice. 6th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

    Particular emphasis is on dispelling myths about the American crime problem and crime control system.

  • Cole, George F., ed. 1993. Criminal justice: law and politics. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Among the various topics included are chapters on policing, courts, corrections, and crime control policy.

  • Cole, George F., and Marc Gertz. 2013. The criminal justice system: Politics and policies. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Provides an overview of the development of criminal justice policies, with recent developments and examples from the field.

  • Del Carmen, Rolando V., and Chad R. Trulson. 2005. Juvenile justice: The system, process, and law. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    A chronological account of the steps involved in processing juvenile offenders through the juvenile justice system.

  • Neubauer, David W. 2013. America’s courts and the criminal justice system. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Provides an overview of the American judicial system and its relationship to the wider crime control system from the perspective of actors within the system.

  • Peak, Kenneth J. 2011. Justice administration: Police, courts, and corrections management. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

    Provides an examination of the administration of the American crime control system and includes more than thirty illustrative case studies.

  • Reid, Sue Titus. 2011. Crime and criminology. 13th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Describes the American criminal justice system and its components from criminological and legal perspectives.

  • Schmalleger, Frank. 2015. Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the twenty-first century. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

    Describes a number of topics, ranging from general overviews of the U.S. criminal justice system to more specific discussions of its branches.

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