20 Critical Moments That Changed the Way We Think About Crime

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries many advancements have been made in law enforcement. Many of these turning points have had positive effects on law enforcement, while some have not performed as advertised and have contributed to problems or created entirely new problems. This is a list of 20 turning points in the history of law enforcement from the 20th and 21st centuries. The list examines the impact of these major moments in law enforcement, and seeks to determine which have had a positive effect, and which have been inadequate or destructive and need to be revisited.

20. Measures Against Insider Trading and White Collar Crime

White collar crime has always been difficult for law enforcement to deal with due to its basis in esoteric practices rather than tangible violence. White collar crime is a label that covers everything from fraud to insider trading. In the early 1990s penalties for insider trading were bumped from 8-10 years to 20+ years. One of the most famous white collar criminals of modern times is Bernie Madoff whose ponzi scheme defrauded investors of billions of dollars. His 150 year sentence is historic in length. ENRON was an entire energy corporation built on fraud and insider trading. Employees manipulated energy, causing the infamous California brownouts and used the manipulation of prices based on their fraud to make money. The fraud of ENRON caused the government to institute new regulations governing the leniency and transparency of accounting procedures used by public corporations.

Bernie Madoff Wikipedia Entry
ENRON Scandal Wikipedia Entry

19. Rise in Cyber Crime and the Development of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Since the 1980s and the advent of the internet law enforcement agencies have been faced with the unenviable task of keeping up the the rate of developing technologies. One major law driven by emerging technologies is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which was designed to curtail widespread pirating of music, movies, and software. Technology pioneers continue to raise questions about the effectiveness of modern law enforcement tools and procedures regarding the internet, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation continues to push for the Constitutional understanding of privacy regarding papers and persons to be updated to include emerging technologies in an official way, instead of the very ambiguous treatment of such technologies that is the norm in the modern era. With the popularization of hobbyist home computing in the 1980s which eventually lead to home computers becoming commonplace, many individuals interested in the workings of networks, both the telephone networks and the networking of computers began exploring this world. This led in some cases to widespread network intrusions, some harmless, others not harmless, which eventually gave rise to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The CFAA still governs the modern internet in much the same way as it did in the 1980s. The act was a major leap forward for law enforcement at the time, but has become outdated and its punishments for what are now considered relatively minor offenses have come to be seen as draconian.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act Wikipedia Entry
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Wikipedia Entry

18. Fight Against Human Trafficking

Recently the issue of human trafficking has been gaining more traction due to a greater understanding of the pervasiveness of the practice in modern times. The realization that slavery is still a very real thing and that many kidnapped boys, girls, women, and men are sold into lives of sexual slavery against their will has created a worldwide outcry for law enforcement agencies to be more pro-active in the fight against human trafficking. Many states are putting together comprehensive plans to target human trafficking rings and the increased concern over this issue is resulting in greater awareness and action.

17. Advent of Social Media

The advent of social media over the past seven years has dramatically changed law enforcement by giving law enforcement personnel another tool to use in investigations. One prominent case involving social media was the rape of a high school aged girl in Steubenville, Ohio. Scenes of the act were captured on camera and ended up providing police with the evidence necessary to arrest and charge the perpetrators. Social Media has also been used both to organize demonstrations, and prosecute individuals that have been involved in riots around the world. Multiple times in Canada and England rioters have been arrested after pictures and video of them were posted to social network websites.

Social Media’s Role in the Steubenville Rape Case
The Multifaceted Role of Social Media in the UK Riots

16. Whistleblower Protection Act

The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 was intended to protect government employees that report agency misconduct. The act has been immensely important to making people of integrity feel secure in coming forward with abuses within government agencies. It is important to note that this act only protects those that come forward and report the misconduct to the “proper” authorities, and does not serve as much protection for employees that go straight to the media as Eric Snowden did. The one true flaw of the act is that it provides the government with many opportunities to shut down allegations in secret without them ever seeing the light of day. However this act has been instrumental in allowing law enforcement agencies to protect potential whistle blowers, making it so that they do not have to fear personal retaliation from those above them in the bureaucracy.

Whistleblower Protection Act

15. The Rise of Private Prisons and the Question of Incentives

This specific turning point is generally regarded as a net negative to the entire criminal justice system. The incentive of a for-profit corporation is profit. For-profit prisons are not incentivised to reform prisoners as prisoners that offend again represent future income. Private prisons have been mired in scandal, including bribing members of the criminal justice field like Judges, to hand down heavy sentences for minor crimes so that their prisons might better be filled. For-profit prisons also look to cut costs by operating with minimal staff, sometimes increasing escapes and violence within the prison due to inadequate supervision. These issues indicate that for profit prisons result in a more dangerous world at worst, and at best, a world where first time offenders are given harsh sentences for minor offenses such as trespassing and shoplifting. Many countries (such as Israel) and some states (Illinois and Louisiana) have banned private prisons due to their negative effects.

14. Megan’s Law, Jessica’s Law, and the Sex Offender Registry

These laws, and the Sex Offender Registry were designed to limit the ability of pedophiles to locate themselves near unsuspecting families with young children. Nearly all 50 states have adopted some form of this law and the Sex Offender Registry, though there are slight differences in each state. This law allows police to have easy access to a database of sex offenders, all of whom may be investigated in the case of a local child being kidnapped. It is difficult to gauge a law’s effectiveness at preventing crimes however, because prevented crimes cannot realistically be quantified. One of the major issues people have raised with sweeping laws such as Megan’s or Jessica’s laws however, are that not all sex offenders are created equal. There is a perception that the lists consist entirely of pedophiles when in reality, most sex related offenses are for the solicitation of prostitutes. People have even been placed on such registries for public urination. Because the information on the sex offender’s registry does not specify which sex offense the individual is guilty of, but instead often simply accords the offender a number from 1-4 based on the severity of the offense, it can lead to people that have been convicted of the solicitation of a prostitute being branded as a pedophile. While these laws do have their problems and should continue to be honed so as to provide the public with more accurate information, support for these laws is overwhelming and with good reason.

13. Fight Against School Shootings

This crime takes many different forms and policies intended to stymie school shootings have been fragmented and largely ineffective in their goals. The fragmented approach to the prevention of school shootings has lead to many awkward situations including children being suspended for offenses such as playing cops and robbers in the schoolyard, or eating a poptart into the shape of a gun, due to unclear and strict zero tolerance policies. Recently an eighteen year old boy was arrested and has been charged with making terroristic threats, for making a tasteless joke (but joke none-the-less) on facebook. The real tragedy is that despite all of these misguided policies, school shootings still abound and it is clear that the measures that have been taken against them are ineffective. Perhaps intensive research and study of the underlying problems that lead to such tragedies is what is needed, instead of knee jerk policy created more for the appearance of accomplishing something than actually solving the problem.

Poptart Suspension
Justin Carter Arrested for Terroristic Threats

12. The War on Drugs

In 1970 congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act and a new era of prohibition began. Like the previous era of prohibition which targeted alcohol, this prohibition gave rise to a new kind of gangster, the drug cartel. Cartels emerged in a big way after the prohibition of narcotics and other controlled substances in the United States, and between these cartels and the existence of organized crime networks already established but starving since the repeal of prohibition, new life was breathed into these gangs. Drug related crimes are the most common crimes in the United States today, between violence, and incarceration for simple possession of controlled substances, the war on drugs is one of the most costly endeavors in law enforcement history. Despite the billions of dollars spent to curtail drug manufacture and use, the use of controlled substances has only grown since 1970. This is another area of law enforcement that needs to be carefully examined and reformed at the very least.

11. MIRANDA Warning

This protection for individuals placed under arrest and suspect of a crime was codified in law in 1966. The reading of the Miranda warning has become one of the most important aspects of police procedure, intended to make the suspect fully aware of their rights, and their position of being innocent until proven guilty, their right to a lawyer, and their right to remain silent, as well as the implications for their situation if they decide not to remain silent. In 2010 a landmark decision was reached by the Supreme Court in the case Berghuis vs. Thompkins which clarified that a suspect must state that they wish to invoke their Miranda rights and that the protection from self incrimination does not apply if they speak to police before or after invoking the Miranda rights before an attorney is present to advise them.

10. Targeting the Mafia Through Tax Evasion Prosecution

During the prohibition era organized crime became a force to be reckoned with. The Italian Mafia epitomized the ultimate criminal organization. With paramilitary structure and a way of working around and corrupting the law and law enforcement dating back to the early 1800s, traditional law enforcement tactics were ineffective. The mafia left little to no evidence, intimidated witnesses, and bribed judges, law enforcement agents, and politicians. They were untouchable using established law enforcement tactics. The big change came when the Supreme Court ruled that even illegal income must be claimed as income for the Federal Income Tax. All of a sudden they had a way to target major mafia leaders. The most prominent figure convicted of tax evasion was notorious mobster Al Capone. With no witnesses to intimidate, standing before a federal instead of local judge, and arrested by federal instead of local authorities, Capone’s usual methods of intimidation, murder, and extortion were useless, and the tactics for dealing with organized crime changed.

9. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

The ever enterprising organized crime organizations were not permanently stymied by the threat of tax evasion charges. They quickly adapted, buying and creating apparently legitimate businesses through which they were able to launder money. With this adaptation, organized crime became harder to hit than ever. One of the most unique situations in history, everybody knew who the big mobsters were, but nobody could prove anything. The rigid structure of the organization, the loyalty of the soldiers to the Capos and Bosses, were unparallelled. Enter RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The purpose of RICO wasn’t ever ambiguous. “Racketeering Activity” was defined in the act as pretty much every single crime for which the Mafia was and is notorious. Just being tied loosely to any racketeering activity more than once would end in a stiff sentence, the ability to indict large numbers of suspected mobsters under the suspicion that they had conspired on racketeering activities with each other allowed prosecutors and investigators to find weaknesses in the organization and exploit them. While RICO hasn’t been the death blow to organized crime criminal justice professionals were hoping for, it has seriously curtailed the ability of criminal organizations to do their business.

8. Witness Protection Program

In 1970 witness protection was included in the Organized Crime Control Act. Witness protection, often combined with immunity deals, allowed lower level members of organized crime to be witnesses against the organization’s leaders, in exchange for a new identity in a new location, protected by the U.S. Marshals. Between the witness protection program and RICO, a strong incentive was created for members of organized crime to avoid long sentences in exchange for a new life.

7. The Failure of Alcohol Prohibition

In 1920 the production and sale of alcoholic beverages containing more than 2.75% alcohol was banned. Motivations of this ban have been attributed to anything from early feminist movements, to religious movements tied to protestant organizations and churches. The pietistic movements supporting prohibition supplied law enforcement and policy makers of the future a 13 year period of study concerning the effectiveness of prohibition. During this time organized crime flourished, and while the amount of alcohol consumed did go down, the alcohol that was being consumed was more highly concentrated, and more dangerous. Every impact of alcohol prohibition was negative. This period in American History has been used to inform lawmakers and law enforcement of the Law of Unintended Consequences ever since.

6. Allegations of NSA Passive Data Collection

In 2006 Americans were made aware that AT&T was routing internet traffic information to the NSA unbeknownst to their customers. The lawsuit was mired in court until the ruling went against AT&T at which point the Attorney General gave retroactive immunity to the Telecom firm. While this case was not highly publicized, it has been given new life due to the recent leaks from NSA contractor Eric Snowden who revealed that the NSA, in addition to monitoring internet traffic, also passively monitors the calls made by customers of every major telecommunications company. Allegations have also been made of email monitoring. The NSA maintains that it was not monitoring all calls for content but simply tracking who was calling whom. The implications for American law enforcement are huge because the NSA was always thought to be included under the laws that prevented intelligence agencies from operating on American soil. If that is no longer the case then the face of law enforcement will change forever in the United States as the NSA becomes more involved with tracking and monitoring the communications of United States citizens.

5. Development of the Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the U.S. Federal Government. The primary goal of the department is protecting the States and Territories of the United States from terrorist attacks, man made accidents, and natural disasters. The formation of the Department of Homeland Security changed the face of law enforcement in the United States by consolidating numerous separate agencies into one entity, these agencies include: The U.S. Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, The Transportation and Security Administration, The U.S. Coast Guard, The Secret Service, and more than a dozen other agencies. The goal of the DHS is to streamline inter-agency communications, and provide a centralized basis through which information on threats can be exchanged and evaluated by harnessing the resources of all departments working in unison to address major threats on domestic soil.

4. Use of Drones for Domestic Law Enforcement

One very new development in domestic law enforcement is the use of remote controlled drones. The FBI recently confirmed that it does use drones to conduct surveillance on a very limited basis. Students of law enforcement however, will recognize that what tends to be used on a very limited basis at first in law enforcement, becomes standard procedure over time. It is important to know that as of now, the drones being used for surveillance purposes are unarmed and used only to monitor very specific situations which were not revealed by the FBI. The director of the FBI has advocated vigorous debate on the topic of domestic drone use and has recommended that drones should for now have their use limited by the restrictions placed on helicopter surveillance.

Wall Street Journal Article on Domestic Use of Drones

3. The National Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 and the Controversy of Indefinite Detention

The National Defense Appropriations Act of 2012, a bill that is normally passed to affirm the budget of the armed forces and other agencies, is infamous for provisions that codified into law the ability of law enforcement and the military to indefinitely detain any person U.S. citizen or not, indefinitely if they are suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda or other terrorist organization. This controversial bill has the potential to change the face of the legal system in the United States. The bill has been challenged by a few groups, challenges that met with some initial success which was later undone on appeal. The bill has been vigorously opposed by the ACLU, Amnesty International, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, The Center for Constitutional Rights, the Cato Institute, Reason Magazine, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The controversial indefinite detention provision is in section 1021 of the bill.

NDAA 2012 Wikipedia Entry
NDAA 2012 Full Text on Open Congress


This law, passed soon after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 vastly expanded the power of domestic law enforcement with the purpose of combating terrorist threats. The law bypassed the need for a warrant for searches and arrests on terrorism related matters, replacing the warrant with the National Security Letter. NSLs are granted by judges, and unlike warrants, the purpose behind the granting of these letters is sealed. Judges granting the letters, law enforcement officers executing the searches, and those being searched are all gagged, unable to talk about the letter having been granted, having searched or arrested somebody using a NSL, or having been searched or detained by officers executing an NSL. The Patriot has been challenged with limited success by the ACLU, but there are built in protections in the act itself that place gag orders on anybody filing suit against the act, preventing them from discussing the case, or even the act itself in public during the time of the lawsuit. In the years since the passing of the USA PATRIOT Act fears have been realized as the act is used increasingly to provide shortcuts to the investigation of garden variety crimes not linked to terrorism.


1. 9/11 and the Impact of the War on Terror

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were the most deadly, and destructive terrorist attacks of all time. They killed over 3,000 civilians. The impact of these attacks ranks up there with the sinking of the Lusitania and Pearl Harbor, the attacks that pulled the United States into World Wars I and II respectively. The impact of the event that has been commonly referred to since as 9/11 is still impacting both foreign and domestic policy in the United States nearly 12 years after the event itself took place. Since 9/11 the United States has fought two wars, and has performed military operations in many other countries in the name of combating terrorism. The domestic policy impact has ranged from the expansion of the power of domestic law enforcement under the Patriot Act, to the provision for the indefinite detention of non-citizens and American citizens suspected of terrorist ties under the 2012 National Defense Appropriations Act. The September 11, 2001 attacks also directly lead to the formation of the Homeland Security Agency.

War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Drone Strikes in Pakistan
Drone Strikes in Yemen

Researchers Propose Math Models of Gaming Strategies to Aid in Combating Terrorism

communication-modelsIn a paper in the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics, researchers suggest that terror networks have a hierarchical structure similar to companies and some social networks, where information tends to flow in one direction among members.

By mapping the pathways of information flow, they say, it’s possible to pinpoint key nodes in the communication structure of a terrorism network where the flow could be disrupted most efficiently. The model is based on the two-player outdoor game “Seepage” in which an agent attempts to block the movement of an intruder.

While the model seems reasonable in theory, the actual process of collecting, databasing, and analyzing the communication among members in a terrorism network is a challenging one. At the same time, however, terrorists are increasingly moving their communications to the Internet – meaning opportunity for counter-efforts to employ new methods of surveillance, and the potential for more data points overall.

The Internet is an ideal platform for terrorist activity, given its easy access, lack of regulation, and potential for huge audiences.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, terrorists use the Internet to recruit and train members as well as raise funds and incite followers to commit acts of terrorism.

In the case of the Boston bombers, for example, investigators speculate that at least in part, the “outlook they developed likely was crystallized for them via online wanderings through radical websites.”

In fact, investigators were able to piece together information from public social networks including YouTube and Twitter, where it seems both the brothers were active in posting information about themselves and those whose beliefs they followed.

Hat tip to Science Daily.

Criminal Justice Resource Guide

Criminal Justice is an extremely broad field that encompasses professions such as forensics, police, security, private investigators, lawyers, judges, psychology and even more. This is a general resource guide intended to provide students interested in the criminal justice field with the resources they need for success in their chosen profession. The resources listed here fill various roles from education and professional development, to advocacy.

Professional Associations

Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences exists to promote research in the field of criminal justice sciences. The Academy not only promotes, but also strives to disseminate research useful to professionals across a wide variety of criminal justice professions.

American Society of Criminology is, despite its name, an international organization of leading  scholars who have joined together in order to explore some of the more difficult facets of crime such as etiology, prevention, consequences and treatment of crime.

American Correctional Association is the primary worldwide resource for individuals who work in the field of corrections. The ACA is responsible for developing and implementing certification and accreditation standards, and offers many strong development programs to corrections professionals around the world.

American Probation and Parole Association membership consists primarily of U.S. and Canadian members. The goal of the organization is to facilitate communication, training, professional development and education. The APPA also takes on the role of advocate for its members.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences consists of over 6,200 members from a wide range of forensic science fields such as medical doctors, lawyers, toxicologists, physical anthropologists, digital evidence experts, engineers, physicists, educators and many more. AAFS provides professional development resources and opportunities to every type of member.

American Society for Industrial Security is a global organization with over 38,000 members consisting of private security practitioners specializing in the protection of various types of assets. ASIS brings people from multiple corporate roles together, creating a great diversity from which much can be learned.

Justice Research and Statistics Association is a national organization consisting of a varied membership dedicated to criminal justice policy oriented research and analysis. The membership includes Statistical Analysis Center directors, government practitioners, researchers, scholars, and other criminal justice organizations.

National Sheriffs’ Association represents thousands of sheriffs, deputies, and public safety professionals. This organization is devoted to serving the office of Sheriff by providing members with general law enforcement information services.

Southern Criminal Justice Association is a regional organization that is also an affiliate of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The SCJA is a professional organization devoted to supporting educators, researchers, students, and practitioners in their efforts to improve the criminal justice field.

National Criminal Justice Association is the primary lobbyist organization for criminal justice professionals from across the nation. The NCJA strives to make the voices of its members heard in the nation’s capital.

American Criminal Justice Association is an organization that seeks to enhance the effectiveness of its members through the pursuit of professional development and education. The organization promotes strong ethical values and provides members with a unified voice.

North Carolina Criminal Justice Association is included in this list as an example of the type of organization you can find in almost every state. Such organizations often address specific needs on a local level when the national organizations will often do nothing.


Police Quarterly is a peer reviewed scholarly journal that publishes theoretical essays, empirical research, comparative analyses, debates and book reviews having to do primarily with policing and the execution of police responsibilities.

International Criminal Justice Review is a peer reviewed quarterly journal devoted to exploring and presenting system wide criminal justice issues with a global perspective. The goal of the journal is to present findings that will have a significant impact on policy making.

American Journal of Criminal Justice is the official journal of the Southern Criminal Justice Association and is a peer reviewed research journal that covers the interplay between various criminal justice systems, innovative practices, and policy development and implementation.

Criminal Law and Philosophy approaches criminal justice issues from a philosophical perspective. The journal approaches a wide variety of issues within the criminal justice field and includes content derived from every major philosophical perspective.

Critical Criminology addresses criminal justice issues through an exploration of the field as it relates to social, economic, and political justice. The journal approaches the major issues with a spirit of cooperation and the belief that these problems can be solved through understanding a variety of perspectives.

The British Journal of Criminology is a journal with an international perspective, seeking to publish works from only the most highly qualified professionals worldwide. The journal is designed to serve as a valuable resource for professionals that are either directly or indirectly interested in the field of criminal justice, from sociologists to psychologists and social workers.

Criminal Justice and Behavior is a peer reviewed monthly journal that promotes scholarly evaluations of assessment, intervention, prevention, and treatment programs. The journal is aimed primarily at corrections professionals and is designed to aid them in developing quality programs for the rehabilitation of criminals.

Criminal Justice Ethics is published three times per year and is designed to take an ethical view of the criminal justice system. The journal seeks to appeal to a broader base than just criminal justice professionals such as attorneys, judges, and political philosophers. The journal tackles the big ethical issues faced by criminal justice professionals such as the use of deadly force, the imposition of punishment, various plea bargaining and interrogation methodologies, and more.

Criminal Justice Studies publishes research, both qualitative and quantitative, by academics in a wide variety of fields, the only restriction being that the work must relate in some way to the field of criminal justice.

Criminal Justice Matters is the quarterly journal of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. The goal of the journal is to provide a forum for the discussion of major issues within the criminal justice field. The journal seeks work that is concerned with honesty, quality, and justice.

Journal of Criminal Justice Education is the official publication of the Academy for Criminal Justice Sciences and is primarily concerned with enhancing the education of criminal justice professionals, both directly and indirectly.

Women and Criminal Justice is the only journal completely devoted to understanding the position of women within the criminal justice system through scholarly research. The journal covers everything from female professionals in the criminal justice field, to the perception of women as victims or perpetrators of crimes.

Criminal Justice Policy Review is a peer reviewed journal that takes a multidisciplinary approach when dealing with major criminal justice issues in order to create a perspective informed by professionals and scholars from across a wide array of criminal justice related fields for the purpose of aiding in the development of better policy.

Criminology is a journal devoted to the study of crime and deviant behavior from the perspectives of psychology, sociology, design, systems analysis, and decision theory. The journal explores these topics through empirical research and scientific methodology.

Journal of Criminal Justice is an international journal that seeks to disseminate much of the highly relevant new information being discovered every day through research in the criminal justice field.

International Journal of Law, Crime, and Justice is a high quality refereed journal featuring research and analysis from top practitioners and scholars in the field.

Criminal Justice Magazine is a publication of the American Bar Association geared toward helping criminal justice professionals understand the intricacies of systemic interplay, policy and practice.

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice features issues themed after specific topics and guest editors with expertise in the topic’s field. The goal is to present new topics for discussion and give each one thorough treatment.


National Institute of Justice Conference gathers criminal justice scholars, practitioners, and policy makers for a period of discussion on major issues in the criminal justice field. The conference emphasizes collaboration and focuses primarily on the benefits of cooperation between researchers and practitioners.

American Criminal Justice Association is the primary academic honors in criminal justice organization and holds a national conference every year in which research from top academics in the field is presented in addition to professional development events and competitive events like crime scene evaluation competitions.

SCJA Conference is the annual conference of the Southern Criminal Justice Association. The conference focuses on regional issues and also provides professionals with networking opportunities designed to enhance their ability to accomplish the unified goal of improving criminal justice across the board.

National Criminal Justice Training Center holds a yearly multi-jurisdictional conference that is focused on bringing together professionals from across the profession, from local police to federal authorities and corrections professionals.

Edge Hill, the Prison and the Public Conference is a one day conference held by Edge Hill University in the UK that studies the impact of prisons on the public through the study of the influence of prison life on the incarcerated and the local communities surrounding those prisons.

International Conference on Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism is a conference series held in a variety of locations through the world every year, focusing on transnational organized crime and terrorism and how both effect the region in which the conference is being held.

Gang College is a comprehensive conference focused on bringing together anybody affected by gang related crime. From the average person living in a gang plagued location, to law enforcement professionals. The conference is devoted to helping people understand gangs, how to keep themselves safe, and how anybody can help fight against gangs.

34th Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice is a national Canadian conference devoted to exploring various criminal justice issues faced within the country of Canada. From dealing with civil unrest, to the growing influence of gangs.

Regulatory Bodies

The Department of Justice is the primary regulating body for all things criminal justice related in the United States. In addition to the federal entity, each state also has a justice department tasked with enforcing state specific regulations and dealing with state specific issues.

Top 30 Criminal Justice Blogs of 2012

criminaljusticebadgeCriminal Justice is a wide ranging field that involves many different kinds of professionals, from lawyers and judges, to law enforcement officers, support staff, and private investigators. This is a list of the thirty top criminal justice themed blogs from a wide ranging sample of professionals within the industry.

The blogs offer readers insight into the various aspects of the criminal justice field, providing them with perspective especially valuable to those within specific areas of the field, or those still deciding which aspects of the field interest them.

Best Criminal Justice Blogs

1. Cop in the Hood is the blog of Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer, now an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Peter’s blog covers the challenges that face police officers with a sympathetic and informative eye.
Highlight: Bang Bang, My Baby Shot Me Down

2. Cops Alive is a blog devoted to helping law enforcement professionals plan for a happy, healthy, well adjusted life both while on the force and after they leave the force. The blog provides readers with information and strategies to help them cope with the unique stresses of the job.
Highlight: Searching for Best Practices in Mitigating Occupational Stress

3. Bad Luck Detective is the blog of Suzie Ivy, who became a police officer at the age of 45, and a detective two years later. The blog chronicles her experiences as a female law enforcement officer, and as an officer that came to the career late, in addition to her primary subject: life as a small town detective.
Highlight: End of Watch 2012

4. Sgt. Says is the blog of an army veteran with over thirty five years of experience in both public and private law enforcement. Sgt. Says offers perspective on everything from the enforce-ability of new laws, to law enforcement practices across the country.
Highlight: People Control

5. Law Enforcement and Security Consulting is a hybrid law enforcement blog and consulting company. The blog focuses on publishing articles devoted to helping law enforcement professionals achieve their full potential in their field.
Highlight: To Be a Positive Cop…

6. Blue Sheepdog is an online training resource for law enforcement officers. The site provides readers with training tips and updates and up-to-date news on best practices. The site also reviews firearms and gear. While all content on the site is free, the blog also offers officers a subscription service that makes subscribers eligible for discounts with some of the biggest brands in the business.
Highlight: Ankle Holsters, Convenient but Deadly

7. The Crime Analyst’s Blog is written by 20 year law enforcement veteran Scott Dickson and is devoted to casting a critical eye on law enforcement policies and deficiencies within the legal system.
Highlight: Is Prison Cost Effective for Criminals?

8. Criminal Convictions is the crime blog of the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. The blog shares details and insights on major cases past and present, as well as law enforcement history and the stories of how some of the highest profile criminals in history have been brought to justice.
Highlight: Advancements in Forensic Science

9. Take All Prisoners is a blog of Psychology Today and primarily features content addressing the mental health needs and issues of criminals, from serial murderers to child criminals.
Highlight: What is Forensic Psychology?

10. Positive LEO is focused on positive news regarding law enforcement officers. The site is primarily focused on showing the good that is being done on a day-to-day basis, and providing the public with a look at the humanity of police officers nationwide.
Highlight: Trenton Native Earns State Police Trooper of the Year Award

11. Officer Smith is a blog featuring the personal views of a California Peace Officer. While many blogs take a broader look at the field, this one provides an up close and personal look at the beliefs and feelings of a law enforcement professional.
Highlight: I Think Imma Faint

12. Connected Cops is a blog designed to help law enforcement professionals become more effective when using social media, whether as a tool for investigation, or a way to get out there, network and relate to people on a different level.
Highlight: What LEOs Must Know About New Facebook Privacy Settings

13. Chris Uggen is a sociology and criminology professor at the University of Minnesota. His blog provides analysis and commentary on various current events relevant to the criminal justice field.
Highlight: A Broader Based Response to Shootings

14. Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice has a blog focusing exclusively on issues in juvenile justice and juvenile perpetrators. The blog advocates for reforms it deems necessary to the successful integration of juvenile offenders back into society as healthy, productive individuals.
Highlight: District Attorneys and Criminal Justice Reform: A Necessary Partnership

15. Matt Mangino is a defense attorney and former prosecutor. Matt has provided legal commentary for numerous media sources and he shares thoughts on various laws and the execution of them on his blog.
Highlight: PA State Police Suspend Use of Breath ‘Intoxilyzer’

16. Johnathan Turley is a legal scholar who has written extensively on a variety of legal matters. His blog focuses on the criminal justice field from the perspective of a professional of the legal system.
Highlight: Texas Judge Under Investigation for Alleged Prosecutorial Misconduct

17. Vera Institute of Justice is an organization devoted to helping improve the systems through which our government protects its citizens. The institute accomplishes this goal by combining the skills of its members in research, public speaking, and technology to provide civil servants with the information they need to accomplish the task of effectively protecting citizens.
Highlight: Quantity Isn’t Quality: A Look at the Complex Costs and Benefits of Policing

18. Ask a Forensic Artist is the blog of Lisa Bailey, a professional forensic artist. The blog explains the role of forensic art in solving crimes and provides tutorials and advice for those new to or considering the field.
Highlight: Forensic Artist Q&A: Michelle Hinojosa

19. Removed by Editor.

20. Crime Prof is a member blog of the Law Professor Blogs Network and is one of few criminal justice oriented collaborative blogs featuring contributors with a wide range of experience.
Highlight: Koenig on Cruel Conditions of Confinement

21. Schneier on Security is the blog of internationally acclaimed security technologist and author Bruce Schneier. Bruce primarily covers public and private sector computer security and technologies. Such technical concerns are not typically linked to Criminal Justice, but Bruce recognizes that with our society’s rapid technological advancements comes the potential for criminal abuse and fraud.
Highlight: New York Times Hacked by China

22. The Justice Department blog features criminal justice news, analysis, and relevent statistics. The site also focuses on in-depth coverage of Justice Department actions from within.
Highlight: Sex Trafficking – Closer to Your Neighborhood Thank You Think

23. The Crime Report is a collaborative blog devoted to providing criminal justice professionals with the information they need to optimally execute their jobs.
Highlight: Court Approves Consent Decree to Desegregate Tucson Public Schools

24. Brian Cain Online is a law enforcement leadership blog devoted to helping leaders in the industry better understand their position and responsibilities.
Highlight: Cop vs Debt: Week 1

25. Police Mental Health covers a wide range of the mental health issues facing police officers. The blog deals with ways to mitigate some of the effects that come with the job, and to improve police mental health care through advancing understanding and debunking stigmas.
Highlight: Interview With Former Cop About PTSD

26. Duke’s Daily Blotter covers many issues facing criminal justice professionals, from effectively taking advantage of union resources and protecting your retirement, to honoring fallen law enforcement officers and calling attention to abuses and flaws in the system.
Highlight: Convicted Murderer Mistakenly Released in Chicago

27. Cold Case Squad is the blog of a team of experienced cold case investigators. The blog advocates for change in policies regarding cold case investigation, and also chronicles the inherent challenges faced by cold case teams.
Highlight: The Trifecta of Evil: Mass Murderers, Spree and Serial Killers

28. Criminal Justice Online features analysis of a wide range of criminal justice news items. The blog follows high profile trials and convictions while providing the reader an in-depth perspective on the inner workings of the system.
Highlight: Former Maryland Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

29. Crime and Consequences is a blog sponsored by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. The blog consists of coverage and analysis of news pertaining to the criminal justice field.
Highlight: DOJ Goes Stark Raving Mad

30. The ACLU is a civil rights watchdog group, the blog of which is devoted to covering the most pressing civil rights concerns of today.
Highlight: Worried About Police Accountability in New York? There’s an App for That

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Criminal Justice Majors or Professionals

From police officers to attorneys to private investigators, criminal justice professionals are increasingly turning to technology to assist them in being more productive in their jobs. Whether you are a professional in the field of criminal justice, or a student working on your degree, you’re sure to find something interesting in this list of the top ten criminal justice related apps we have compiled here.

law stack for iphone

1. LawStack

This app is a large collection of legal documents conveniently on your phone! It features documents including The U.S. Constitution, state codes, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and many more. LawStack also has a few helpful features such as offline access, bookmarking, saved search terms, and the ability to search the full text for keywords.


5 0 radio scanner for iphone

2. 5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite

5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite is an app that allows you to listen in on live police, aircraft, emergency, firefighter, railroad, and marine radios. This is helpful because it can inform you about current major crimes in your area, as well as any important news or events. This app is able to run in the background, so you can do other things with your phone while listening to the feeds.


blacks law dict for iphone

3.Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition

Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th Edition is the most frequently cited law book in the world; it is the standard legal dictionary. It holds over 45,000 terms and offers alternate spellings or expressions that mean the same thing. If you don’t know how to pronounce something, you can use the audio pronunciation feature for thousands of terms.


fafa for iphone

4. Field Agent Fingerprint App

This app is purely for fun, but it’s entertaining to trick your friends into believing that you can check on their fingerprints, especially for criminal justice students fond of practical jokes. Field Agent Fingerprint App says that it can check if a person’s fingerprints are in the FBI database. All you have to do is place a finger on the screen, and then enter your “FBI badge number”. This number actually lets you control the match result.


timewerks for iphone

5. Timewerks: Mobile Billing with PDF Invoice

Timewerks: Mobile Billing with PDF Invoice is an app for anybody who needs to track time, send invoices, and keep track of materials. Perfect for the professional who works by billable hours, this app can track several clients and projects, email or print invoices, customize different rates, calculate sales tax, create and view information without a network connection, and much more.


dui warning for iphone

6. DUI Warning and Test Instructions

This app has detailed instructions for giving a Field Sobriety Test, as well as a .08 chart. It features a nighttime display of the instructions. These instructions include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. The .08 chart allows you to see how each drink affects a person’s blood alcohol level.


readdledocs for iphone

7. ReaddleDocs

ReaddleDocs is a document reading app. You are able to collect documents from any source, including web sites, iDisk, email attachments, Dropbox, and many more. It supports Microsoft Office documents, so that you can view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. The app also lets you share files through email.


crime reports for iphone

8. CrimeReports

CrimeReports give you real-time information on neighborhood crime as well as sex offenders. It lets you search by location and date. It also lets you search by the type of incident. You can view information either on a map or in list view. It is completely free to sign up, and you have the option to receive email alerts about crimes.


court days for iphone

9. Court Days – Date Calculator for Lawyers

Court Days allows you to compute the amount of court days, calendar days, and weekdays between two dates. You are also able to enter your own custom court holidays in, which is very useful if you cannot find your jurisdiction in the default database. With this app, you can also easily send the results of your date calculations through email.


police codes for iphone

10. Police Codes

Police Codes is an app that allows you to easily reference codes such as medical and fire codes, police 10 codes, police 11 codes, police penal codes, and scanner color codes. It can be useful if you would like to know what is actually happening when listening to a police scanner. It can also be quite entertaining to understand what is going on during a crime show on Television.

10 Great iPad Apps for Criminal Justice Majors and Professionals

Investigations, records, tracking, apprehension, data access, court and law – these are all attributes of today’s far-reaching criminal justice system. Here are ten of the most useful, criminal justice related iPad apps available for the student and professional alike.

criminal justice terminology for ipad

Criminal Justice Terminology – HD

This all-inclusive terminology app assures users of an extensive vocabulary of today’s industry terms and phrases. 750+ quizzes and flash cards help with learning, while the dictionary provides a go-to reference for anyone involved with criminal justice.


the law guide for ipad

The Law Guide

TheLaw.com’s Law Guide is very helpful for those needing to reference specific laws and legislative decisions–a common need for criminal justice students and professionals. Users can learn about countless individual laws as well as gain access to the 8,500+ legal definition law dictionary. Professional and user reviews of The Law Guide yield consistent praise.


field contact for ipad

Field Contact

Field Contact is a remarkable policing and security related app. Get rid of the old pen and notepad because Field Contact serves as this and more. Contacts and notes can be created for any person or situation. Attach pictures, DOB info, locations, dates, times, descriptions, aliases, and much more. There are also multiple, convenient ways to search, browse, and locate contacts and notes taken.


Police Scanner 2 for ipad

Police Scanner 2

There have been a number of scanner app releases in recent years, but Police Scanner 2 stands above the competition, being the first truly interactive scanner app. Alert friends to emergency broadcasts and alerts or record them in real-time to playback or share later.


arcgis for ipad


ArcGIS is more likely going to find its way into the criminal justice professional’s app list than those still in school. Users enjoy a sophisticated mapping program with typical map program features being complimented by some very atypical ones: draw lines – calculate distances, create contact – location records, interact with the map and stored data held on it, and more.


advanced english dictionary for ipad

Advanced English Dictionary And Thesaurus

Possibly the most self-explanatory named app on our list, this one provides a great dictionary and thesaurus, all in one program. Use this one for reading, writing, studying, report writing, working with court documents, and anything else criminal justice-related. Don’t be stumped on a word again.


fbi most wanted for ipad

FBI Most Wanted

Grateware provides a great FBI most wanted criminals app. Search and browse wanted offenders and even missing children posts nationwide. Get real-time, highly detailed information, specs, and photos on these and more.


fafa for ipad

Field Agent Fingerprint App

The Field Agent Fingerprint App looks to be state-of-the-art, seemingly allowing users to take fingerprint samples in the field and instantly run them against the current FBI database. A perfect app for criminal justice students to entertain their friends by checking to see if they are among the FBI’s most wanted, this just-for-fun app is sure to appeal to students and fun-loving professionals alike.


vin inventory for ipad

VIN Inventory

VIN Inventory provides users access to the national VIN-check system. Authenticate, identify, store, see pictures, and check reporting on any VIN number. This is a great investigative field tool for police, security, and private investigations work.


police codes for ipad

Police Codes

Whether you are current law enforcement trying to understand external code or a criminal justice student, the Police Codes app provides nationwide code translations for all of today’s types of emergency personnel communications. Learn different color codes, penal codes, police 10 and 11 codes, and fire and medical.

Top 10 TED Talks on Law and the Criminal Justice System

The American Justice system is a considerably complex institution and symbol of society as a whole. Figureheads and professionals from all areas of the justice system converge to consider its many attributes and overall modern functionality.

Heather Brooke: My Battle To Expose Government Corruption

Heather Brooke expresses her passionate views on government accountability. Having already worked to uncover the epic government scandal of 2009, Brooke addresses government corruption, transparency, and a public push towards them.

Damon Horowitz: Philosophy In Prison

Damon Horowitz provides correctional system inmates a valuable educational opportunity. At San Quentin State Prison, Horowitz works with inmates achieving college degrees. Horowitz discusses the implications of such programs.

Bryan Stevenson: We Need To Talk About An Injustice

Bryan Stevenson, a human rights attorney, delves into a wide array of justice system injustices. Elements of race, incarceration rates, judicial practice, society, and the law are all brought into the discussion. This is a deeper look at the justice system and its flaws.

Alan Siegel: Let’s Simplify Legal Jargon!

Alan Siegel presents a vision of a world in which legal paperwork is more simplified and easy to understand. Siegel is a respected authority on business communications and puts forth his propositions here, in a convincing and logical presentation.

Karen Tse: How To Stop Torture

Karen Tse devotes her efforts to today’s figurative and literal tortures applied by government to citizens. Social injustices are cited as a form of judicial torture while certain captivity and interrogation techniques are cited as current correctional system torture practices.

Marc Goodman: A Vision Of Crimes In The Future

Marc Goodman is an industry expert on crime. His specific efforts to address future crime trends can be seen here. Technology, trends, statistics, and other facts about modern society are promoted as crucial areas of growing vulnerability and concern.

Jim Fallon: Exploring The Mind Of A Killer

Jim Fallon, a respected neuroscientist, explores the inner-workings of the psychopathic mind. Factors including genetics, environmental factors, and others influence the psychopathic mind. Fallon also shares an intense personal story relating to the subject.

Scott Fraser: Why Eyewitnesses Get It Wrong

Scott Fraser discusses eyewitness accountability and accuracy. Brain recollection and psychological matters often dictate witness accuracy. Fraser is an esteemed forensic psychologist specializing in witness psychology and relation to trial evidence.

Nalini Nadkarni: Life Science In Prison

Nalini Nadkarni mixes ecology, environmental awareness, and the correction system. Her partnership with the State of Washington allows her to bring environmental education and propositions to inmates and facilities. The “Queen Of Canopy Research” explores these applications across society.

Leslie Morgan Steiner: Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave

Leslie Morgan Steiner provides a moving, personal experience of domestic violence and ongoing abuse. The victim advocate also explores the psychological happenings behind abuse and those who do not leave it.

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