Profiling and Criminal Justice in America
A Reference Handbook, 2nd Edition
by Jeff Bumgarner
December 2014, 377pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-851-1
$64, £48, 54€, A92
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-852-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

When is profiling justified in the interest of public safety and fighting crime?

An unbiased examination of profiling in the criminal justice system—one of the most hotly contested public policy issues—on the streets, in the courts, and in the jails and prisons of America.

In the post-9/11 world, profiling by law enforcement has become “standard operating procedure.” Profiling by prosecutors, judges, and corrections officers is pervasive in other criminal justice contexts as well. Is profiling actually effective in preventing crime or identifying likely offenders and therefore justifiable? This accessible, single-volume reference book examines profiling as it pertains to the criminal justice system in the United States, providing non-partisan information that illuminates the full scope of the profiling issue and discusses the possible impact of profiling on all American citizens.

Addressing this highly controversial topic holistically, the book considers questions such as whether the criminal justice system in the United States unfairly targets minorities, how the rights of minorities can be protected while enabling law enforcement to use every resource available, and whether justification for profiling techniques exists. This work will serve students at the high school and college level as well as general readers who are interested in criminal justice issues and issues relating to equality and fairness before the bar of justice.


  • Presents essays from scholars in the field on both sides of the debate to provide fair and objective information that allow readers to consider the interests of equality and fairness on one side versus public safety and crime fighting on the other
  • Examines profiling along a wide range of variables—race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation—rather than addressing only racial profiling
  • Covers more recent events in profiling such as Arizona SB 1070, the "Stop and Frisk" policy in New York City, and the TSA's profiling of Muslims as well as older cases such as Whren vs. United States
  • Provides summaries and analyses of key court cases relating to the permissibility and impermissibility of profiling
Jeff Bumgarner, PhD, is a professor in and department head of the Criminal Justice and Political Science department at North Dakota State University. In addition to his many years of college teaching, he has several years of law enforcement experience as a deputy sheriff, federal agent, and police chief. Bumgarner is the author or coauthor of five books and several articles and book chapters about criminal justice and public administration.


"Profiling and Criminal Justice in America: A Reference Handbook is a seminal and invaluable contribution that should be a part of every academic and governmental library's Judicial Studies and Police Procedural Studies reference collection and supplemental studies reading list."—Midwest Book Review, February 1, 2015

"This book is ideal for public library collections or academic library collections with a focus on criminal justice."—Booklist, April 7, 2015

"Profiling and Criminal Justice in America makes a significant contribution to the ABC-CLIO series entitled Contemporary World Issues. Universities, community colleges, and high schools will likely consider the addition of Profiling and Criminal Justice in America to their research collection. In addition, this excellent resource would benefit lawyers, law enforcement officers, and government agencies on the local, state, and federal level."—ARBA, August 22, 2016

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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