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The American System of Criminal Justice 15th Edition

George F. Cole, Christopher E. Smith, Christina DeJong

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2015
  • 800 Pages
Starting At 93.00 See pricing and ISBN options


This classic best seller, commonly referred to as "The Eagle," helps students discover the challenges of pursuing justice in our society and identify the roles individuals play in the criminal justice system. Using an interdisciplinary lens, THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 15th Edition, presents elements from criminology, sociology, law, history, psychology, and political science -- challenging students to ask questions and recognize contemporary problems as the means to build an understanding of the system's components and stages as well as its human consequences and policy challenges. The text offers solid scholarship and approachable writing, and holds student attention with compelling events and cases, thereby preparing them to participate in the system as citizens and future criminal justice practitioners. What’s more, the MindTap® that accompanies this text helps students practice and master techniques and key concepts while engaging them with video cases, career scenarios, visual summaries, and more.

George F. Cole, University of Connecticut

The late George F. Cole was Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Connecticut. He was recognized for outstanding teaching and research and in 1995 was named a Fellow of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. A specialist in the administration of criminal justice, he published extensively on such topics as prosecution, courts and corrections. He developed and directed the graduate corrections program at the University of Connecticut and was a Fellow at the National Institute of Justice (1988). Among his other accomplishments, he was granted two awards under the Fulbright-Hays Program to conduct criminal justice research in England and the former Yugoslavia. He co-authored several other Cengage Learning/Wadsworth criminal justice titles, including THE AMERICAN SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AMERICAN CORRECTIONS, AMERICAN CORRECTIONS IN BRIEF and THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM: POLITICS AND POLICIES.

Christopher E. Smith, Michigan State University

Christopher E. Smith is Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University (MSU). He earned degrees at Harvard University, the University of Bristol (England), the University of Tennessee, and the University of Connecticut. Trained as a lawyer and social scientist, he is the author of 25 books and more than 120 scholarly articles on law, courts, and criminal justice policy. He has been recognized as an outstanding teacher with MSU's "Teacher-Scholar Award" and "Social Science Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award." His other books with Cengage Learning include CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA, 9th Edition, LAW AND CONTEMPORARY CORRECTIONS, CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: MYTHS AND REALITIES, and CRIMINAL PROCEDURE.

Christina DeJong, Michigan State University

Christina DeJong is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Maryland and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her scholarly research on genocide, recidivism, domestic violence, police-community interactions, and other topics has been published in such journals as Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Feminist Criminology, and The Journal of Family Violence. Her current research focuses on gender and sexuality issues in criminology and criminal justice, as well as violence against women in conflict and genocide. A member of the Michigan State University faculty since 1994, she has taught courses on research methods, statistical analysis, genocide, and women and criminal justice. She is also a co-author of Cengage Learning’s CRIMINAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA, 9th Edition.
  • Thoroughly updated, this edition includes a new "Inside Today's Controversies" feature that reflects a new emphasis on the highly visible controversies and problems that captured the public's attention in 2014 and 2015. The controversies illuminate aspects of each segment of the system. Topics include police use of force and police-community relations stemming from incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere; the human consequences of racially-skewed stop-and-frisk policies; President Obama's task force on police reform; body cameras; and solitary confinement for juvenile offenders.
  • The "Question of Ethics" feature at the end of each chapter includes all-new topics and emphasizes examples from recent news reports. Topics include police honesty in reporting crime statistics, sentencing disparities, departmental quotas imposed on officers for writing tickets or frisking pedestrians, corrections officers' use of violence to punish prisoners, and problems with privatization of prison services. These features -- each followed by a "Critical Thinking and Analysis" writing exercise -- give students an opportunity to role play and hone their ethical decision-making skills.
  • New technology topics include emerging issues such as data breaches with large retailers' customer financial information, legal issues concerning threats posted on social media, local police departments' acquisition and use of surplus military equipment, public backlash against red-light cameras, and issues with the collection and use of DNA evidence. This coverage helps to illustrate how criminal justice is affected by technological developments and the challenges facing justice system officials as they seek to keep pace with technological change in an era of limited budgets.
  • New examples of the most recent legal issues confronting the U.S. Supreme Court include the collection of DNA samples from unconvicted arrestees, police officers' use of prolonged traffic stops to hold drivers until the arrival of drug-sniffing dogs, the use of IQ scores to define eligibility for the death penalty, and anonymous tips and officers' mistaken beliefs as the justifications for traffic stops. These examples illustrate the changing mix of issues that face judges and the challenge of balancing protection of constitutional rights with the need to protect public safety.
  • The new MindTap® online learning platform for The American System of Criminal Justice, 15th Edition, offers customizable content, course analytics, an e-reader, and an applied learning experience -- all delivered within your current learning management system. With its rich array of media assets –- all tagged by learning objective and Bloom's Taxonomy level –- MindTap engages students with video cases, career scenarios, and visual summaries; guides them toward mastery of basic concepts; and advances their critical thinking abilities.
  • "Civic Engagement: Your Role in the System" expands on the civic engagement theme introduced in Chapter 1. This feature presents real-life examples, and then prompts students to apply what they are learning to a deeper exploration of the topic and compare their response to real-world results via the Internet. "Doing Your Part" inserts describe roles played by individuals who assist the police, crime victims, courts, and prisoners through voluntary activity or by promoting reforms. The authors hope to encourage students to consider how they might contribute in their own way to a just society.
  • Because public opinion plays an important role in the policy-making process in a democracy, the text features unique "What Americans Think" insets to engage students through the use of public opinion polls on controversial criminal justice issues. This feature allows students to see how their opinions compare with the national perspective.
  • "Close Up" boxes provide real-life examples that draw on newspapers, court decisions, first-person accounts, and other current sources, illustrating how theory plays out in practice as well as the human implications of policies and procedures in criminal justice.
  • Numbered learning objectives in each chapter, which guide students toward the most important topics of study, are carefully matched to end-of-chapter summary sections and linked to corresponding quiz/test items.
  • This edition updates and reemphasizes the growing importance of evidence-based practices in criminal justice. The contemporary effort to apply systematic social science research to shape criminal justice policies and practices is highlighted through numerous examples in "New Directions in Criminal Justice Policy" features. Topics include evidence-based practices concerning victims services, mentally-ill jail detainees, reentry and community supervision, police patrol emphases on "hot spots" and problem-oriented policing, and public surveillance technology.
  • Each chapter includes several "Stop and Analyze" critical thinking features. These higher-order questions check students' understanding of what they have just read; some questions challenge students to develop arguments and conclusions about their own positions. "Debating the Issue" sections within the text's boxed inserts can be used to spur classroom discussion or as writing assignments.
  • "Technology and Criminal Justice" features highlight important new technologies that affect the system today. The examples span the criminal justice system, including the challenges posed by transnational cybercrime; controversies concerning the use of drones, military equipment, and surveillance technology by police departments; and electronic monitoring of probationers, parolees, and defendants released on bail.
  • The text's primary themes -- 1) criminal justice as a social system, including multiple subsystems, and 2) criminal justice as an interdisciplinary endeavor based on criminology, sociology, law, history, psychology, and political science -- broaden your students' perspectives on criminal justice.
1. Crime and Justice in America.
2. Victimization and Criminal Behavior.
3. The Criminal Justice System.
4. Criminal Justice and the Rule of Law.
5. Police.
6. Police Officers and Law Enforcement Operations.
7. Policing: Contemporary Issues and Challenges.
8. Police and Constitutional Law.
9. Courts and Pretrial Processes.
10. Prosecution and Defense.
11. Determination of Guilt: Plea Bargaining and Trials.
12. Punishment and Sentencing.
13. Corrections.
14. Community Corrections: Probation and Intermediate Sanctions.
15. Incarceration and Prison Society.
16. Reentry Into the Community.
17. Juvenile Justice.
Each MindTap product offers the full, mobile-ready textbook combined with superior and proven learning tools at one affordable price. Students who purchase digital access can add a print option at any time when a print option is available for their course.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

Standalone Digital Access — Ultimate Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1305640772
  • ISBN-13: 9781305640771
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  • RETAIL $93.00

Digital Access + Print — Flexible Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1337150533
  • ISBN-13: 9781337150538
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  • ISBN-10: 1337189758
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Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1305976525
  • ISBN-13: 9781305976528
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  • ISBN-10: 1305633741
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Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Online PowerPoint® Slides

ISBN: 9781305640757
These vibrant Microsoft® PowerPoint® lecture slides for each chapter assist you with your lecture by providing concept coverage using images, figures, and tables directly from the textbook.

Instructor's Manual

ISBN: 9781305640733
The manual includes learning objectives, key terms, a detailed chapter outline, a chapter summary, lesson plans, discussion topics, student activities, "What If" scenarios, media tools, a sample syllabus, and an expanded test bank. The learning objectives are correlated with the discussion topics, student activities and media tools. Each chapter's test bank contains questions in multiple-choice, true false, completion, essay, and critical thinking formats, with a full answer key. The test bank is coded to the learning objectives that appear in the main text, and includes the section in the main text where the answers can be found. The manual is available for download on the password-protected website and can also be obtained via e-mail request.

Online Test Bank Microsoft Word

ISBN: 9781305881129
Organize your course and capture your students' attention with the resources found in the Test Bank, including multiple-choice, true/false, short-answer, and essay questions--most with answers and page references for each chapter of the text.

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access

ISBN: 9781305640825
Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to: import, edit, and manipulate content from the text's test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.