Crime and Criminal Justice

Michael Tonry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article provides an overview of the American criminal justice system. Section I discusses patterns of crime and victimization rates and trends since the 1960s and 1970s. The most noteworthy trend is that crime has been declining-for most offenses substantially-since 1991. Section II describes the organization of the justice system. Section III discusses punishment patterns and trends. The most noteworthy are the extraordinary increase in imprisonment since 1973 and the overrepresentation of black people among prisoners. Section IV looks back on the earlier sections and tries to tie them together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Crime and Criminal Justice
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940257
ISBN (Print)9780195395082
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • American criminal justice system
  • Crime rates
  • Crime trends
  • Imprisonment
  • Punishment


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