African Americans and Criminal Justice
An Encyclopedia
by Delores D. Jones-Brown, Beverly D. Frazier, and Marvie Brooks, Editors
July 2014, 631pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35716-9
$100, £75, 84€, A143
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35717-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

African Americans are often believed to be the racial group that commits the most crime in the United States, but according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, 70% of people arrested for crime across the nation each year are Caucasian and only 30% are Black. Blacks currently make up roughly 12% of the general population in America, yet in many places they comprise nearly half of the prison population.

Does justice exist for Blacks in America? This comprehensive compilation of essays documents the historical and contemporary impact of the law and criminal justice system on people of African ancestry in the United States.

African Americans and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia comprises descriptive essays documenting the ways in which people of African descent have been victimized by oppressive laws enacted by local, state, and federal authorities in the United States. The entries also describe how Blacks became disproportionately represented in national crime statistics, largely through their efforts to resist legalized oppression in early American history, and present biographies of famous and infamous Black criminal suspects and victims throughout early American history and in contemporary times.

Providing coverage of law and criminal justice practices from the precolonial period, including the introduction of African slaves, up to practices in modern-day America, this encyclopedia presents a frank and comprehensive view of how Americans of African descent have come to be viewed as synonymous with criminality. This book represents an essential learning resource for all American citizens, regardless of race or age.


  • 120 A–Z entries on race and criminal justice and famous or infamous African American crime perpetrators or victims
  • Contributions from more than 50 distinguished scholars from many criminal justice/criminology academic programs across the country
  • An index of key persons, events, and legislation
Delores D. Jones-Brown is professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. She directs the Center on Race, Crime, and Justice and is the author of Race, Crime, and Punishment, winner of a New York Public Library award in 2001.

Beverly D. Frazier is assistant professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Her research interests include faith-based initiatives in criminal justice administration.

Marvie Brooks is retired from the City University of New York library system after 50 years of service. Her most recent research explores the rise of African American women within the ranks of criminal justice agencies.


"A cultural analysis approach offers insightful observations and explanations. . . . The entry list is noteworthy and makes a significant contribution to the complex topic. The format of African Americans and Criminal Justice is outstanding. . . . The work represents a significant academic discourse. . . . This volume would make a substantial contribution to comprehensive library reference collections. University, community college, and high school libraries would recognize it as an essential resource encyclopedia volume. Criminal justice undergraduate and graduate students would find this text and expert commentary of value in their pursuit of knowledge and a related historical perspective. After careful consideration, the editors disclose their aspiration to make the content accessible and understandable to a wide audience. The book sets the foundation for further dialogue in the academic community and enhances opportunities for others to focus their efforts on future contributions. Selected topics offer a significant journey into the study of African Americans and criminal justice in the United States."—ARBA, November 12, 2014

"Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers."—Choice, February 1, 2015
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