Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice
When we began our effort to outline and organize the Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice with our distinguished Associate Editors, we set before ourselves a major task that would be different from that of most other encyclopedias that are produced today in various fields. We looked back in history to find our task. We sought to define the parameters of the discipline of criminology and criminal justice, in the spirit of the encyclopedias first developed in the 18th century. This Encyclopedia would not be a dictionary of the field, but a cutting edge statement of knowledge in the field at this time.
Crime and criminal justice are major dynamic issues in contemporary societies. Every society is confronted with variations in crime rates and has to deal with large groups of crime places, offenders, and victims. Crimes appear in changing images in everyday life and criminal justice agencies have to find solutions for these societal phenomena. This means that the science of criminology is important not just for scientists and scholars who want to develop basic knowledge and understand the causes of crime, but also to policy makers and practitioners. Criminology as a discipline spans both basic and applied research questions, and criminology has been enriched by its ability to both provide scientific knowledge to practice and to raise critical questions about the basic principles and effects of policy and practice. There is an international community of active producers of criminological knowledge in every continent at universities, research institutes, and governmental offices. The globalization of criminological knowledge has increased the dissemination of criminological research and theory to all parts of the world. This Encyclopedia seeks to summarize that broad array of knowledge.
Undergraduate and graduate students in criminology and criminal justice are taught using general text books with brief sections on relevant topics. Further information is explored on the Internet, using Wikipedia texts for additional knowledge or for writing papers. These texts have not been reviewed by scholars in the field. The print and online versions of this Encyclopedia give students, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners direct access to a reliable body of knowledge on topics that have been written by experts in the discipline. Indeed, in this Encyclopedia it is often the originators of theories, practices, or methods that are writing the entries. These entries will give students and scholars efficient and solid insights into the knowledge they need for their courses.
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