Major HeinOnline Database Revamp! Introducing Criminal Justice & Criminology


We’ve got some big news! Take a deep breath, make sure you’re sitting down, and set any food or drinks aside to avoid inevitable spillage. All set? Okay, here goes.

For the past few months, the HeinOnline production team has been working tirelessly to incorporate a massive update into one of our most popular databases, Criminal Justice in America: U.S. Attorney General Opinions, Reports and Publications. In doing so, HeinOnline has effectively added more than 2 million (yes, million) pages of new criminal justice and criminology content to the already-authoritative database, including more than 100 periodicals on the subject.

We didn’t want to just throw a content update of this magnitude into an existing database without warning. In fact, the unprecedented breadth of material included in this addition required a little bit of rethinking. To make this update as effective and easy-to-use as possible, we’ve completely reorganized the database, subject-coded the material, and have given the collection itself a new and improved name more reflective of its new and improved content. 

With that, HeinOnline is pleased to introduce Criminal Justice & Criminology, your must-have resource for researching criminal behavior, the criminal justice system, and the societal impact of crime. This revamped database is included in most Core and Academic subscription packages.

Criminal Justice & Criminology database on laptop

If you’re interested in forensic science, law enforcement, criminal investigations, criminal justice policy, prison reform, or even if you’re just a true-crime fan, then this database is for you. We can’t wait for you to dive in!

Follow the link below to access the database, then keep reading to learn about what’s now included in this resource.

First, a Criminal Justice and Criminology Lesson

To understand the content included, let’s discuss for just a moment what criminal justice and criminology truly are.

Thanks to popular culture, most of us in the United States have at least some superficial understanding of our criminal justice system. In fact, America reveres its outlaws almost as much as it does its lawmen. While the old adage may suggest that crime doesn’t pay, it certainly is profitable. Of the top ten longest-running scripted U.S. primetime television series of all time, five are centered around crime and the dispensing of justice. Our society is fascinated—and one might even say obsessed—with crime.

The easy narratives of television, however, do not always play out in the courtroom. While a viewer might think an episode of Cops captures the reality of the criminal justice system, it only shows a small portion of the entire apparatus.

What Is Criminal Justice?

Criminal justice refers to the system by which justice is dispensed toward those who have committed a crime. It includes the crime a defendant allegedly committed, the law enforcement officers who arrested him, the court system that prosecutes and defends him, and the system of punishment in place should the defendant be convicted. Throughout history, the basic elements of criminal justice have existed in one form or another, though the mechanisms by which they are expressed have changed over the centuries. For example, while exile and branding have fallen out as popular (or acceptable) methods of punishment for criminals, imprisonment and parole have risen up to take their place. In the same vein, the codification of laws and their respective punishments have existed back to the ancient Code of Hammurabi, but our conception of modern policing traces its origin to London’s Metropolitan Police Force, created by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.

What Is Criminology?

Criminology, on the other hand, is the study of criminal behavior on both an individual and societal level. It intersects with the criminal justice system by analyzing, for example, the effectiveness of certain types of punishment, the causation of crime, or the rehabilitation of offenders. The study of criminology first arose in the mid-18th century from the work of Enlightenment thinkers who were chiefly concerned with penology reform. These early thinkers included Cesare Beccaria, whose 1764 On Crimes and Punishments is considered a founding work of modern criminology, and Jeremy Bentham, whose panopticon model proposed a “modern” prison, whereby one guard could control an entire prison population through the illusion of constant surveillance.

The work of these and other early scholars formed the basis of the Classical school of thought in criminology. Over time, different schools of thought evolved, with criminology exploding in both popularity and disciplines in the mid-to-late 20th century. Today, criminology is a codified discipline that brings together sociology, psychology, biology, political science, philosophy, and history to understand the root cause of crime and the most optimal methods of preventing it.

HeinOnline’s Criminal Justice & Criminology Database

As the world’s scientific and moral understanding changes over time, so do the systems by which nations keep the peace. The American criminal justice system of today continues to evolve as new laws are passed, new punishments devised, and—often thanks to the work of criminologists—new ideas are introduced.

HeinOnline’s Criminal Justice & Criminology offers a historical overview of these two ever-changing disciplines and their various expressions in American and English law over time.

Overview of Notable Content

Compiling congressional hearings, U.S. Department of Justice publications, GAO reports, CRS reports, periodicals, and rare or hard-to-find pamphlets, memoirs, and books written by law enforcement officers and criminals, HeinOnline’s Criminal Justice & Criminology database explores how criminal justice has changed in America, and the effect criminology has had on those changes.

U.S. Attorney General Publications

Easily access publications from the U.S. Attorney General, including official reports, opinions, and memoranda. Highlights include:

Congressional Hearings, CRS Reports, and GAO Reports

Discover congressional hearings covering a variety of criminal justice topics, as well as numerous Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports.

Authoritative Books and Periodicals

Central to the reorganization of this database was the addition of more than 100 periodicals relating to criminal justice and criminology, as well as a large collection of Crime & Criminal books compiled by Hein over the years.

Incorporating these titles—which total nearly 1.6 million pages—allows users to jump directly from important government documents to secondary analytical sources, providing a comprehensive foundation for criminal justice research.

Check out some of our most exciting new titles:

Looking for more information about what’s included in Criminal Justice & Criminology? View the full database title list here:

Database Subject-Coding

To help users navigate the wide range of content included in this database, all titles have been subject-coded into 16 subject areas:

Attorney General

Find publications published by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, titles about the U.S. Attorney General, and titles on or about the U.S. Justice Department.

Crimes and Criminals

Access a bibliographic rogues’ gallery of criminal exploits from history, as well as publications on specific crimes not covered under their own dedicated topic.

Criminal Statistics

Track changes in U.S. crime with raw data from Bureau of Justice Statistics and other law enforcement agencies.


Explore how attitudes and trends across the discipline of criminology have changed over the years.

Drug Enforcement

Explore the policies behind drug control, a dominant focal point of the U.S. criminal justice system since Nixon’s presidency.

Government Law

Read congressional hearings and analyses on specific laws proposed to fight crime in the United States.

Investigation and Forensics

Find documents relating to the advent of fingerprinting, the evolution of DNA testing, and other advances in forensics.

Juvenile Justice

Discover titles that discuss prevention, contributing factors, and appropriate responses to juvenile delinquency.

Law and Procedure

Find titles that either deal broadly with how justice is administered or focus on a particular aspect of the criminal justice system.

Law Enforcement

Locate titles which focus on specific law enforcement agencies and policing policies, as well as those which tell some real-life detective stories.

Organized Crime

We’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse with access to titles about how law enforcement has handled organized crime. You may even discover some tales of gangsters’ exploits!


Track historical changes in methods of punishment and find works on prison, parole, capital punishment, and even forced sterilization.

Reform and Recidivism

Discover titles addressing individuals who reoffend (recidivists) and the successful reintegration of offenders into society upon completion of their sentence.


Sit down with Scotland Yard detectives, criminals, police court reporters, and lawyers as they recount their personal experiences in the justice system.

Sex Crimes

Works under this category address the criminal justice issues apparent in rape and sexual assault cases.


Locate titles focusing on the relationship both between offender and victim as well as between victim and justice system.

Ready to get started? Follow the link below to access the Criminal Justice & Criminology database,

Criminal Justice & Criminology LibGuide

Understand the layout of this newly improved database, discover search tips, and get a sneak peek at the interface with our dedicated Criminal Justice & Criminology LibGuide!

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