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For all their interest in crime, most Americans know relatively little about the reality of crime and the criminal justice system in the United States and most of what Americans do know is a loose collection of haphazardly accumulated truths, half-truths, and outright falsehoods. The American public's perception of crime is out of line with crime reality. One consequence of such misinformation on the prevalence of violent crime is that many people are more afraid of being the victim of a violent crime than they realistically should be. Myths and Realities of Crime and Justice: What Every American Should Know provides reader with an accurate and up-to-date picture of crime and justice in America. It presents many recent findings from criminologists and criminal justice practitioners and debunks common misconceptions.
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Steven E. Barkan is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Maine, where he has taught Introduction to Sociology and many other courses since 1979. His teaching and research interests include criminology, research methods, sociology of law, and social movements. Among his professional activities, he has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the American Sociological Association's Honors Program and the Board of Directors of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. He has served as the chair of SSSP's Law and Society Division and as an advisory editor of its journal, Social Problems. His previous books include: CRIMINOLOGY: A SOCIOLOGICAL UNDERSTANDING (third edition); FUNDAMENTALS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE (with George Bryjak); COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE (with Lynne Snowden); and PROTESTORS ON TRIAL: CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN THE SOUTHERN CIVIL RIGHTS AND VIETNAM ANTIWAR MOVEMENTS. Professor Barkan has also written numerous journal articles dealing with topics such as death penalty attitudes, political trials, feminist activism, and race and political participation, which have appeared in the American Sociological Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Social Forces, Social Problems, Sociological Forum, Sociological Inquiry, Race and Society, and other journals.
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