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Criminology (1st edn)

Steve Case, Phil Johnson, David Manlow, Roger Smith, and Kate Williams
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date: 30 June 2022

p. 804. What is justice?locked

p. 804. What is justice?locked

  • Steve Case, Steve CaseProfessor of Criminology, University of Loughborough
  • Phil Johnson, Phil JohnsonCriminology Lecturer and Academic Subject Leader, University Centre at Blackburn College
  • David Manlow, David ManlowPrincipal Lecturer in Criminology
  • Roger SmithRoger SmithProfessor of Social Work, Durham University
  •  and Kate WilliamsKate WilliamsSenior Lecturer in Criminology, Aberystwyth University


This chapter discusses both the theoretical notions and practical applications of justice. It considers some definitions of justice and examines criminal justice models, the philosophical underpinnings of justice as a concept, and the systems of criminal justice. It shows why justice is so important and the fact that justice may be approached form differing standpoints. After providing an overview of preliminary issues regarding justice, the chapter looks at justice issues within criminal justice and justice as a social construct. It then outlines the reasons why it is important to study justice and why justice matters to criminology. It also evaluates the four philosophical approaches to justice that take a broad view of the concept and allow us to see how justice and injustice can impact on society, crime, security, and well-being. Finally, it compares the two main systems of criminal justice: adversarial and inquisitorial.

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