7 Books to Study on Criminology in 2021 and 2022

Criminology is the study of crime and criminals. It’s one interesting field where criminologists study crime in detail. Everything’s a part of this study from how people commit crimes to what triggers them and what happens afterward. To understand the field of criminology better, one must read about criminology to get the gist of it. Today, we will jot down some of the best books on criminology if you are interested in this career. 

Here are the top 7 books which you need to read to learn about criminology.

1 – “The Sociological Imagination” by C. Wright Mills

The first book that you need to read is C. Wright Mills’ “The Sociological Imagination.” This classic work of sociology offers an introduction to the subject. It also covers how it views society as a whole by looking at individual behaviors with social structures. The author takes on urban poverty, race relations, class conflict, and modern life dynamics. His main focus is on the women working outside their homes. The book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand criminology better.

2 – “Crime as Social Control” by Stanley Cohen

The second book that you need to read is Stanley Cohen’s “Crime as Social Control.” This work focuses on crime from a sociological perspective. It examines the control process of certain types of criminal behavior within society. It also focuses on what this means for law enforcement, social control agents, those who break the law, and their punishment. Crime as Social Control is a perfect introduction to criminology for those interested in the subject.

3 – “Why Do We Punish?” By Robert Martinson

The third book that you need to study on criminology is Robert Martinson’s “Why Do We Punish?”. This work focuses on the social justifications for punishment. It examines what happens when people break society’s rules. Moreover it covers how punishing them can be seen as protecting others in society or maintaining order. The book is a practical introduction to criminology and can help answer questions on why people are punished.

4 – “Punishment in America” by David Garland

The fourth book that you need to read is David Garland’s “Punishment in America.” This work examines the history and function of punishment in American society. Garland analyzes how the current punitive system is structured and what are its key components. The book explores the possible alternatives to punishment and how these might function. It also offers an introduction to criminology. If you are interested in learning about criminology, this could be a great start! It can help you to get down the basics and follow a better path.

5 – “Punishment: A Sociological Interpretation” by Ernest Van Den Haag

The fifth book you need to read is Ernest Van Den Haag’s “Punishment: A Sociological Interpretation”. This work focuses on the sociological theories of punishment. It examines how different punishments affect those who commit crimes and society as a whole. It also emphasizes why we punish people in the first place, what unintended consequences may result, and the long-term implications of punishment. The author has done a wonderful job explaining how punishment controls people in society.

6 – Ruthlessness in Law Making by Douglas Wicker

The sixth book you need to read is “Ruthlessness in Law Making” by Douglas Wicker. This work examines how the law becomes ruthless and its consequences and explores democracy concerning crime and punishment. It also covers the history of criminal justice institutions. When you as a criminology student are aware of how criminal justice institutions have shaped over time, you will better understand its implications. Furthermore, author explores the relationship between democracy and crime, which helps the reader better understand how the two interact.

7 – The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

The seventh book you should study on criminology is “The New Jim Crow.” Michelle Alexander illustrates how our country’s prison system has become a racial caste structure in this work. The author shows that people of color are still the primary targets of racist policies. However , they make up many prisoners because they’re so heavily involved with drugs. The author compares prisons and jails to a new Jim Crow. The book also examines how our country has created a system of mass incarceration. This has resulted in a system that looks very similar to slavery.

In our opinion, each of these is a must-read for those who want to pursue a career in criminology. Or just better understand how to deal with criminal behavior.

A Quick Overview

In “The Sociological Imagination” by C. Wright Mills, the author provides a clear introduction to sociological theory. At the same time, in Stanley Cohen’s “Crime as Social Control,” you will study on criminology from this perspective. Moreover, He talks about what that means for law enforcement, social control agents and those who break the law. 

In “Punishment in America”, David Garland analyzes the structure of punishment in the American society and its key components. Whereas ,In Ernest Van Den Haag’s “Punishment: A Sociological Interpretation,” you will learn about sociological theories of punishment. From why we punish people in the first place, what unintended consequences may result from it, and implications for society as a whole.

In “Why Do We Punish?” Robert Martinson examines social justifications for punishing those who break the rules or laws. In Ruthlessness in Law Making by Douglas Wicker, you will learn about how law becomes ruthless and how this has consequences for democracy.

Finally, in “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, you will learn about the US penal system and what it has become now. Basically ,It’s about a racial caste that targets people of color and their punishment due to their involvement with drugs.

Do you find any of the books interesting? Are you seeking a career path in criminology? Here is a place where you need to begin. 

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