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Criminal Justice

The Essentials

Fifth Edition

Steven P. Lab, Marian R. Williams, Jefferson E. Holcomb, Melissa W. Burek, William R. King, and Michael E. Buerger

Publication Date - July 2018

ISBN: 9780190855871

288 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $49.99

The most concise, flexible, and affordable Introduction to Criminal Justice text


A flexible and cost-effective alternative to larger texts, Criminal Justice: The Essentials, Fifth Edition, covers all the fundamental issues faced by law enforcement, the courts, corrections, and juvenile justice, leaving detailed specifics and tangential topics to the discretion of instructors to cover in class. With abundant examples--and just the right amount of sidebars and "highlights"--Criminal Justice, Fifth Edition, is the ideal resource for introducing students to the essential issues in the field.

New to this Edition

  • All material has been updated to reflect the most recent data available
  • Critical thinking exercises have been revised and new exercises added throughout
  • Chapter 1 offers updated material on victims, social media, and the police use of force
  • Chapter 2 includes a streamlined discussion of categories and degrees of offenses and additional material on excuses for criminal behavior
  • Chapter 3 continues new discussions of the role of the police in society, deadly force, GPS technology, and the opioid problem
  • Chapter 5 provides new material on the incarceration of women and on prisoner classification


  • Flexible and cost-effective yet comprehensive, this is an excellent alternative to larger, often overwhelming texts
  • Provides context and covers current issues and problems and operational challenges for each chapter's subject area
  • Incorporates engaging pedagogical features including web activities, critical-thinking exercises, sidebars, and abundant examples

About the Author(s)

Steven P. Lab is Professor of Criminal Justice at Bowling Green Green State University.

Marian R. Williams is Professor of Criminal Justice at Appalachian State University.

Jefferson E. Holcomb is Professor of Criminal Justice at Appalachian State University.

Melissa W. Burek is Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Criminal Justice at Bowling Green State University.

William R. King is Professor of Criminal Justice and Associate Dean of Research and Program Development in the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University.

Michael E. Buerger is Professor of Criminal Justice at Bowling Green State University.


"Criminal Justice: The Essentials is a competitively priced and abbreviated book that offers students a well-rounded understanding of the U.S. justice system. It is structured well, reads very easily, covers the essential points of discussion, and offers supplemental reading material resources. Students will benefit greatly from the material this book covers and the quality of its writing."--Frank Ferdik, University of West Florida

"This is the ideal book for an introduction to criminal justice course. It delivers exactly what the title promises: the essentials of criminal justice. I would give the writing style an 'A.' Criminal Justice: The Essentials is a great value for the price, and the length is such that students will actually read the book."--Dennis McCarty, University at Albany, State University of New York

"Criminal Justice: The Essentials cuts through the massive amount of information usually presented in criminal justice texts and helps students think critically. It is the simple yet concise text that professors have been looking for!"--Michelle L. Foster, Kent State University

Table of Contents

    1. Crime, Criminal Justice, and Policy
    2. Issues of Law
    3. Policing and Law Enforcement
    4. The Court System
    5. Institutional Corrections
    6. Community Corrections
    7. The Juvenile Justice System
    8. Conclusion

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