This book has been replaced by a newer edition:

Criminal Injustice cover

Criminal Injustice: How Politics and Ideology Distort American Ideals, Second Edition

by Matthew B. Robinson

2020, 306 pp, paper, ISBN 978-1-5310-1636-4


Teacher's Manual available

Criminal Injustice

How Politics and Ideology Distort American Ideals

by Matthew B. Robinson

Tags: Legal Issues, Media and Crime, Policy, Race and Ethnicity Issues

Table of Contents (PDF)

Teacher's Manual available

256 pp  $44.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-635-2
eISBN 978-1-5310-0022-6

Criminal Injustice examines the influence of politics and ideology on criminal justice practice. Politics refers to governing decisions about how to deal with social problems and distribute resources in society, and ideology means the beliefs and values that guide political decisions and underlie our societal institutions. The book clearly illustrates that criminal justice practice is directly and meaningfully impacted by politics and ideology, beginning with law-making. The main argument of Criminal Injustice is that politics and ideology distort America's ideal goals of crime control and due process, oftentimes resulting in ineffective and unfair criminal justice policies. That is, politics and ideology distort the ideals of Americans found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

In the book, the author demonstrates how this is true, and he argues that the main problem with criminal justice practice is that it does not target the most harmful acts in America: instead it focuses heavily on a handful of harmful acts committed by certain groups of people under certain circumstances. This occurs because of who makes the law and who pays for it; these people create laws and policies that benefit them and their financial backers rather than "the people" more generally. Further, media coverage of crime and criminal justice reinforces myths of crime (including who is dangerous and who is not), which helps maintain the focus of criminal justice agencies on street crime rather than on other forms of harmful behavior that actually cause far more damage to society.

PowerPoint slides are available upon adoption. Sample slides from the full 184-slide presentation are available to view here. Email for more information.

"...presents classic concepts in conflict criminology in a manner that is easily accessible. [The book] was easy to follow and included an ample amount of repitition, which should help students connect lessons throughout a semester...a solid contribution to the literature on the injustices embedded in the criminal justice system." — Elias Nader, Criminal Justice Review 41(2)