Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice: A Research Guide

Students looking for a wide variety of criminal justice topics such as the court system, statistics about crimes, terrorism, technology and careers in criminal justice will find the resources listed below useful to start their research. Informational sources include books, journals, and online resources such as the library’s databases and Web sites. Explore general topics in the encyclopedias and once you have narrowed your topic search for journal articles for supporting information. The terms and phrases listed in the subject headings below can be used to search for more materials in the library’s catalog and research databases. If you need further assistance, please ask a librarian.

Sources of Definitions

Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed. edited by Bryan A. Garner and Henry Campbell Black. St. Paul: West Group, 1999. ISBN: 0314241302.

Definitions of the terms and phrases of American and English jurisprudence, ancient and modern. Includes multiple meanings and examples of word usages with references to cases and laws.

Dictionary of Criminal Justice by George E. Rush. Guilford, CT: Dushkin Publishing Group, 2000. ISBN: 0070307091.

Dictionary of terms on law enforcement, courts, probation, parole, corrections, and related subjects. This dictionary focuses on terms commonly used in criminal justice practice.


Prentice Hall’s dictionary of American criminal justice, criminology, and criminal law / David N. Falcone.  Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson Prentice Hall, c2005.  ISBN:  0131921320.

This dictionary includes key terms from criminal justice, criminology and criminal law—andprovide complete definitions for this all-important terminology. Many terms are defined with references to case law.  Includes a list of transdisciplinary terms, phrases, abbreviations, and acronyms (including the military justice system).

National Criminal Justice Thesaurus. U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service. ISSN: 01986546.

Contains terms used to index literature in the NCJRS database. Source for finding synonyms and broader, narrower and related terms in the criminal justice field.

Guides to the Literature

Criminal Justice Information: How to Find It, How to Use It by Dennis C. Benamati, et al. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998. ISBN: 089774957X.

Advice on how to do research, establish connections, find information in the library, locate government and international information, as well as Web sources of interest.


International government information and country information : a subject guide / Andrea M. Morrison and Barbara J. Mann. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.  ISBN: 1573564796.

Resources related to particular government organizations such as the UN, the League of Nations, the European Union, and the Organization of American States. Cross-references guide readers to full descriptions if a resource is listed in more than one place. Includes selected acronyms for international organizations and a listing of selected international organization Web sites. There is a detailed index.



Encyclopedia of the American judicial system : studies of the principal institutions and process of law / Robert J. Janosik, editor. New York : Scribner, c1987.  ISBN:  0684178079.

Covers all aspects of the American legal system.  The 88 original essays treat the history of each topic, emphasizing the social context of each period and the economic and political pressures that have shaped interpretation.


Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, 2nd ed. edited by Joshua Dressler. 4 vols. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2002. ISBN: 002865319X.

Includes information on the causes of crime, criminal behavior, crime prevention, institutions of criminal justice.

Encyclopedia of Criminology and Deviant Behavior edited by Clifton D. Bryant. 4 vols. Philadelphia: Brunner/Routledge, 2001. ISBN: 1560327723.

Covers topics related to criminology, deviant behavior, and other unusual sociological phenomena. Includes definition of each term, concise practical information, tables and diagrams, and a bibliography.

Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict edited by Lester Kurtz. 3 vols. San Diego: Academic Press, 1999. ISBN: 012227010X.

Includes studies on “violence, peace, and conflict” from various points of view including criminology, cultural studies, economic, historical, political, biomedical, psychological, sociological, and public policy.


World encyclopedia of police forces and penal systems / George Thomas Kurian.  New York : Facts on File, 1989.  ISBN:  0816010196.

Describes law enforcement and corrections systems of 183 nations.  Find police history, background, organization, and personnel practices, as well as crime statistics and summaries of penal systems. Appendixes describe Interpol and provide police agency addresses, comparative statistics, and a short bibliography.



Crime State Rankings edited by Kathleen O. Morgan and Scott Morgan edited by Kathleen O. Morgan. Lawrence, KS: Morgan Quitno, 1994– . Annual. ISSN: 10774408.

Offers tables of crime data for U.S. states. Number of crimes, crime rates, and percent change are shown.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics by Michael J. Hindelang. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1973– . Annual. ISSN: 03603431.

Tables of data on criminal justice and related topics collected from governmental and private agencies. Also available in electronic version and on the Internet at


Recent Titles


Point blank : guns and violence in America by Gary Kleck. New Brunswick, N.J.:  Aldine Transaction, 2005.  ISBN:  020230762X.

An indepth study on the use of guns in America.  A statistical examination on the issue of gun control.


Rising violent crime in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina : hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, first session, June 20, 2007.  Washington : U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 2008.  ISBN:  0160804124.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing focusing on the growing crisis of violent crime in the city of New Orleans and the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina.  PURL:


Race, class, and the death penalty : capital punishment in American history / Howard W. Allen and Jerome M. Clubb ; with the assistance of Vincent A. Lacey.  Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York Press, c2008.  ISBN:  0791474372.

Examines both the legal and illegal uses of the death penalty in American history.



USA subscribes to e-books, electronic books that can be checked out online and read on your pc.  To see various e-book resources go to  Below are e-books that may be of specific interest to the study of criminal justice.


The Costs of Crime and Justice by Cohen, Mark A.  Publication: London, New York Taylor & Francis Routledge, 2005.  E-Book ISBN:  9780203313145.

Covers the Columbine High School shooting and the consequent costs of the crime to the community and families of the victims.


The Probation and Parole Treatment Planner Practice Planners by Bogue, Brad M. Nandi, Anjali. Jongsma, Arthur E., Hoboken, N.J. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US), 2003.  E-Book ISBN:  9780471473985.

Explore the treatment planning process.  Put together a treatment plan that matches the individual’s treatment needs.


Web Sites

NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) Abstracts Database

Contains documents, citations, and abstracts for journal articles, books, reports, hearings, studies, bibliographies, and statistical reports.

United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network

Includes U.N. criminal justice country profiles, U.S. Department of Justice sources, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the “World Criminal Justice Library Network,” foreign and international law, criminological institutes, and libraries.

Uniform Crime Reports, (1998 to present available Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

National crime statistics for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management, including offenses cleared, persons arrested, homicide patterns, and law enforcement personnel. Also available on the Internet at


Other Pathfinders


Internet Public Library



Other Search Aids

Library of Congress classification scheme


Dewey Classification scheme


Librarian’s Index to the Internet


Online Databases through USA Libraries and Alabama Virtual Library

The University Library holds journals in print and electronic formats.  Many databases will link directly to the full-text article.  If only a citation is found you can check the SouthCat catalog to see if the library holds a print copy. The Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) provides all students, teachers, and citizens of the State of Alabama with online access to essential library and information resources. It is primarily a group of online databases that have magazine, journal, and newspaper articles for research.

SouthCat Online Databases


A valuable collection of legal documents and journals to include:  Law Journal Library, American Association of Law Libraries, Association of American Law Schools, Code of Federal Regulations, English Reports, Full Reprint (1220-1865), European Center for Minority Issues, Federal Register Library, Legal Classics, Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, Treaties and Agreements Library, U.S. Attorney General Opinions, U.S. Federal Legislative History Library, U.S. Presidential Library, U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Supreme Court Library.


Blackwell/Synergy (Wiley InterScience)

Provides full-text access to online books, journals, databases, reference works and protocols on criminology and law.

Cambridge Journals

Over 220 peer-reviewed academic journals for the global market, containing the latest research from a broad sweep of subject areas, including law, politics and international relations.

LexisNexis Congressional

LexisNexis Government

Find legislative information.

Index to government magazines, newsletters and news


Statistics from U.S. government agencies

GPO Access

Access to full-text of many government publications

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

contains summaries of the more than 195,000 criminal justice, juvenile justice, and substance abuse resources housed in the NCJRS Library collection.


SouthCat University Library Catalogue call numbers:


Social Sciences (general)

HA 1 – 4737




HM 251-291

Social psychology

HM 291

Deviant behavior


Social history, social problems, social reform

HT 601-1445

Social classes


Social and public welfare

HV 4997-5000

Substance Abuse

HV 5001-5720.5


HV 5800-5840

Drug habits. Drug abuse

HV 6018-7220.5


HV 6251-677.3

Crimes and offenses

HV 7231-9960

Criminal justice and administration

HV 8301-9920.5

Penology (police, prisons, punishment and reform, juvenile delinquency)


Subject Headings

•     corrections—United States—periodicals

•     crime—government policy—United States

•     crime—research—United States—statistics

•     crime—United States

•     criminal justice—administration of—United States

•     criminal justice—administration of—vocational guidance—United States

•     criminal justice—administration of—United States—periodicals

•     criminal statistics—United States—atlases

•     law enforcement—vocational guidance—United States

•     police—vocational guidance—United States

•     prisoners—United States—statistics—periodicals