Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 4th Edition

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9780132350068: Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 4th Edition

Completely updated and revised throughout, and featuring a new full-color design, this book provides a sociological perspective on crime and criminal justice by treating social structure and social inequality as central themes in the study of crime–and major factors in society's treatment of criminals. It gives explicit attention to key sociological concepts such as poverty, gender, race, and ethnicity, and demonstrates their influence on crime. Covers hot topics such as the death penalty, terrorism, evolutionary biology, stalking, identity theft, computer crime, white collar crime and more. Also features unique coverage of topics not found in other introductory criminology booksincluding “Public Opinion, the News Media and the Crime Problem,” “Political Crime,” and “How Can We Reduce Crime?” For those with current or future criminology careers.

  

 

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From the Publisher:

This book is written to help students develop a sociological understanding of crime and criminal justice by treating social structure and social inequality as central themes in the study of crime. It gives explicit attention to key sociological concepts such as poverty, gender, race, and ethnicity and demonstrates their influence on crime.

From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE

Welcome to this sociological introduction to the field of criminology! The successful first edition of this book emphasized the need to understand the social causes of crime in order to be able to significantly reduce crime. I liken this approach to that followed by the field of public health. If crime were a disease like cancer, we would naturally try to determine what was causing it so that we could prevent people from getting it. Although it's important to treat people who already have cancer, there will always be more cancer patients unless we discover its causes and then do something about these causes. The analogy to crime is clear: Unless we discover the causes of crime and do something about them, there will always be more criminals.

Unfortunately, this is not the approach the United States has taken during the past few decades. Instead it has relied on a "get tough" approach to the crime problem that relies on more intensive policing, longer and more certain prison terms, and the building of more and more prisons. The nation's prison and jail population soared and reached 2 million as the new century began. Although crime did decline during the 1990s, criminologists dispute whether this decline stemmed from this "get tough" approach or, instead, from an improved economy, a decline in illegal drug trafficking, and other factors. As the 1990s ended, many criminologists even began to warn that the surge in prisoners could be setting the stage for a crime increase down the line, as almost all of these prisoners, penniless and without jobs and embittered by their incarceration, will one day be returned to their communities.

In offering a sociological understanding of crime, this book suggests that the "get tough" approach is short-sighted since it ignores the roots of crime in the social structure and social inequality of society. To reduce crime, we must address these structural conditions and appreciate the role that factors such as race and ethnicity, gender, and social class play in criminal behavior. For criminology courses like my own, housed in sociology departments, it is especially important that criminology students acquire the sociological understanding that this book offers. But this understanding is also important for criminology students in courses housed in criminal justice departments. If crime cannot be fully understood without appreciating its structural context, then students in both sociology and criminal justice departments who do not develop this appreciation have only an incomplete understanding of the reasons for crime and of the most effective strategies to reduce it.

In presenting a sociological perspective on crime and criminal justice, this book highlights issues of race and ethnicity, gender, and social class in every chapter and emphasizes the criminogenic effects of the social and physical features of urban neighborhoods. This second edition continues to include certain chapters that remain uncommon in other criminology texts, including Chapter 2 on "Public Opinion, the News Media, and the Crime Problem," Chapter 13 on "Political Crime," and Chapter 17 on "How Can We Reduce Crime?" In addition, the book's criminal justice chapters, Chapter 15 on "Policing: Dilemmas of Law Enforcement in Democratic Society" and Chapter 16 on "Prosecution and Punishment," continue to address two central themes in the sociological understanding of crime and criminal justice: (1) the degree to which race and ethnicity, gender, and social class affect the operation of the criminal justice system, and (2) the extent to which reliance on the criminal justice system can reduce the amount of crime. These two themes in turn reflect two more general sociological issues: the degree to which inequality affects the dynamics of social institutions, and the extent to which formal sanctions affect human behavior.

The second edition of this book has been thoroughly revised. It includes the latest crime and criminal justice statistics available in early 2000 and discusses the latest research on crime and criminal justice issues that had appeared by that time. To improve readability, many in-text references have been deleted; at the same time, dozens of references appearing since the first edition have been added. This second edition also discusses several new crime topics, including computer crime, harm reduction and illegal drug use, workplace violence, police crime-reporting scandals, restorative justice, and control balance theory. In addition, every chapter now includes three new features: (1) chapter-opening "Crime in the News" vignettes that will engage students' attention and demonstrate the text's relevance to real-life events and issues; (2) end-of-chapter "Internet Exercises" that show how the Internet can be used to explore issues raised in each chapter; and (3) end-of-chapter "Study Questions" that help students understand and learn the key points of each chapter. This edition continues to include the "Crime and Controversy" and "International Focus" boxes that highlighted the first edition, with several new boxes added. SUPPLEMENTS Instructor's Manual with Tests

This carefully prepared manual includes chapter outlines, chapter objectives, chapter overviews, teaching suggestions, discussion questions, and class exercises, along with over 800 test questions keyed to the text. Prentice Hall Custom Test

Prentice Hall's testing software program permits instructors to edit any or all items in the Test Item File and add their own questions. Other special features of this program, which is available for Windows and Macintosh, include random generation of an item set, creation of alternative versions of the same test, scrambling question sequence, and test preview before printing. Companion Website

In tandem with the text, students can now take full advantage of the World Wide Web to enrich their study of criminology through the Barkan Website. This resource correlates the text with related material available on the Internet. Features of the Website include chapter objectives, study questions, and links to interesting material and information from other sites on the Web that can reinforce and enhance the content of each chapter. Address: prenhall/barkan Sociology on the Internet: A Critical Thinking Guide, 2001

This guide focuses on developing the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate and use online sources effectively. The guide also provides a brief introduction to navigating the Internet, along with complete references related specifically to the Sociology discipline and how to use the companion websites available for many Prentice Hall textbooks. This brief supplementary book is free to students when shrinkwrapped as a package with any Prentice Hall Sociology title.

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