Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia of Trends and Controversies in the Justice System

2 vols. ABC-CLIO. Dec. 2016. 743p. ed. by . photos. index. ISBN 9781610699273. $189; ebk. ISBN 9781610699280. REF
With 185 entries spread over two volumes, this set, edited by Finley (sociology & criminology, Barry Univ., FL), is a quick beginning reference on the scope and extent of crime in the United States. Famous court cases, hot-button topics in the news, and different types of crimes are included. Contributors include professors, activists, social workers, and students with backgrounds in criminology, philosophy, and peace and justice studies. The introduction offers a comprehensive overview of problems with collecting crime reporting statistics, inaccuracy in public ideas about crime, and the effects of drug laws. Appended to the second volume are ten personal reflections from those who have had experience with the justice system or are working to reform it. While Graeme R. Newman's Crime and Punishment Around the World contains a section on the United States, it is not as in-depth. Louis J. Palmer Jr.'s Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment in the United States focuses only on part of the issues covered by Finley. Students in upper grades of secondary education and postsecondary schools will find this provides helpful material for papers. Public library patrons and fans of crime shows who want more information will also find this beneficial.
VERDICT A solid option for those in need of a basic resource that answers questions from both students and the general public.
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