Criminology and Public Policy

Putting Theory to Work
Second Edition

Edited by Scott H. Decker and Kevin A. Wright
Book Cover

PB: $37.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1658-2
Publication: Jul 18

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1657-5
Publication: Jul 18

Ebook: $37.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1659-9
Publication: Jul 18

384 pages
6 x 9
5 tables, 3 line drawings

Leading scholars of crime policy address the most critical problems facing the justice system in America

Read the Introduction (pdf).


In the field of criminal justice, public policy is designed to address the problems brought on by criminal behavior and the response to that behavior. However, too often, the theories carefully developed in the academy fail to make their way into programs and policy. The editors and contributors to this second edition of Criminology and Public Policy highlight the recent development of “translational criminology” to address the growing movement in criminology to use the results of criminological research and theory to better inform policy and practice.

The essays in Criminology and Public Policy propose an in-depth look at both theory and practice and how they are integrated across a number of key criminal justice problems—from racial and environmental concerns to gun control and recidivism rates as well as police use of force and mass incarceration. The end result is an essential volume that blends both theory and practice in an effort to address the critical problems in explaining, preventing, responding to, and correcting criminal behavior.

Contributors include: Robert K. Ax, Michelle N. Block, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K. Brunson, Jennifer Carlson, Ronald V. Clarke, Shea Cronin, Megan Denver, Kevin M. Drakulich, Grant Duwe, Amy Farrell, Cheryl Jonson, Charis E. Kubrin, Justin Kurland, Megan Kurlychek, Shannon Magnuson, Daniel P. Mears, Robert D. Morgan, Kathleen Powell, Danielle Rudes, Cassia Spohn, Cody Telep, Natalie Todak, Glenn Trager, Jillian J. Turanovic, Sara Wakefield, Patricia Warren, David Weisburd, Michael D. White, Rob White, Lauren Wilson and the editors


There once was a time in criminology when scholars pursued either theory (criminology) or public policy (criminal justice), but never theory and policy. Thankfully, those days are long gone. These days, we cannot and should not do one without consideration of the other. Decker and Wright have amassed a team of scholars akin to the 1927 New York Yankees: a “who’s who” at the intersection of what this line of work should look like. The editors’ essays, too, are illustrative, for they tell the individual stories of how each got to where they are in their careers and where they’re heading. This collection is a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. Read. It. Now.
Alex R. Piquero, Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology, the University of Texas at Dallas, and author of Key Issues in Criminal Career Research: New Analyses of the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development

"(T)his edition is not merely the reiteration of previously presented ideas but instead offers fresh insight into both traditional criminological canons and topics often found at the periphery of the field.... One particular strength of this edition is the often-complementary nature of the chapters.... While this edition continues to make big and important strides in bridging research and practice, the nature of the solutions or answers sections are frequently written in a way that will likely make them most accessible."
Journal of Criminal Justice Education

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Theory Matters for Policy and Why Policy Matters for Theory • Kevin A. Wright

Part I Theories of Offender Behavior
Introduction to Part I
1. Race Differences in Crime • Anthony A. Braga and Kevin M.
2. Critical Race Theory and the Limits of Liberal Legal Remedies to Address Racial Disparities in Police Violence • Amy Farrell, Patricia Warren, and Shea Cronin
3. Situational Prevention of Wildlife Crimes: The Policy Challenges • Ronald V. Clarke, Justin Kurland, and Lauren Wilson
4. Global Warming and Criminological Theory and Practice • Rob White
5. Toward a Life-Course Theory of Victimization • Jillian J. Turanovic
6. Translating Theories of Desistance to Policy • Megan Kurlychek and Megan Denver
7. From Hot Spots to a Theory of Place • Cody Telep and David Weisburd
8. Aligning Public Policy, Criminological Theory, and Empirical Findings on the Immigration-Crime Relationship • Glenn Trager and Charis E. Kubrin
9. Mass Shootings: A New Name for a Familiar Problem • Grant Duwe

Part II Theories of the Criminal Justice System
Introduction to Part II
10. A Theory of Offender Recidivism • Daniel P. Mears and Jillian J. Turanovic
11. An Integrated, Reflexive Theory of Police Misconduct • Natalie Todak and Michael D. White
12. Sentencing Disparity: A Focus on Race and Ethnicity • Cassia Spohn
13. Intergenerational Effects of Crime and Punishment • Kathleen Powell and Sara Wakefield
14. R-e-s-p-e-c-t: Communities of Color and the Criminal Justice System • Rod K. Brunson and Michelle N. Block
15. Organizational Change and Criminal Justice: Working within the Iron Cage • Danielle Rudes and Shannon Magnuson
16. Gun Policy • Jennifer Carlson
17. Thinking Outside the Prison Walls: The Value of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to Solve Old Problems • Kevin A. Wright and Cheryl Lero Jonson
18. Toward a Theory of Mental Illness and Crime • Robert D. Morgan and Robert K. Ax

Conclusion: When Theory Fails • Scott H. Decker

About the Author(s)

Scott H. Decker is Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. He is co-author (with Marie Provine, Monica Varsanyi, and Paul Lewis) of Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines.

Kevin A. Wright is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for Correctional Solutions at Arizona State University.