• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A History of Modern Criminal Justice focuses on the modern aspects of the subject, from 1900 to the present. A unique thematic rather than a chronological approach sets this book apart from the competition, with chapters organized around themes such as policing, courts, due process, and prison and punishment. Making connections between history and contemporary criminal justice systems, structures and processes, A History of Modern Criminal Justice offers students the latest in historical scholarship, made relevant to their needs as future practitioners in the field.

The Expanding Federal State, 1920s–1990s
The expanding federal state, 1920s–1990s

One of the most significant changes in twentieth-century criminal justice has been the expanding role of the federal government. For most of United States history, criminal justice has been primarily local. This pattern emerged from the American colonies, where individuals could only rely on assistance from nearby authorities. Even after the creation of the United States, states and localities created most criminal laws, and local officials enforced them. In the twentieth century, however, the federal government assumed new law enforcement functions, and the criminal justice system itself assumed a much more national character.

In many ways, this shift parallels the changing nature of federal government in the United States. Under a federal system, individual states are understood ...

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