skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 220753 Find in a Library
Title: Build a Criminal Justice Policy for Terrorism
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:781-790
Author(s): Gary LaFree; James Hendrickson
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay identifies and discusses the advantages of using a criminal justice (criminology) approach to fighting terrorism, in contrast to giving counterterrorism the status of a war between nations based on a military response.
Abstract: There are four ways that criminology and criminal justice can directly assist in the fight against terrorism. First, criminology can contribute to understanding the best practices for processing those who commit terrorist acts. Second, criminology can have a major role in researching the etiology of terrorist behavior. Third, criminological research methods can be significant in developing an understanding of both the etiology of terrorist behavior and the legal processing of those accused of terrorist behavior. Fourth, criminal justice approaches have contributed significantly to the identification, capture, and incapacitation of those who use terrorist methods. In addition to these four ways in which criminology and criminal justice directly assist in the response to criminal terrorist acts, there are four indirect advantages. First, a criminal justice approach targets individual criminals responsible for specific criminal acts. This contrasts with war, which focuses on controlling territories or countries, resulting in large-scale destruction and the suffering and death of innocent persons. Second, criminal justice approaches are more specific than war in defining the criminal nature of the acts committed and the individuals responsible. Third, criminal justice approaches view crime as an ongoing aspect of human behavior that requires continued vigilance and targeted responses; whereas, war seeks the relatively rapid termination of an enemy that ends at some point, an unrealistic expectation regarding terrorism. Fourth, compared with military approaches, criminal justice approaches have more built-in limitations and safeguards that prevent encroachments on civil liberties for those accused of crimes as well as the public in general. 32 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Counter-terrorism tactics; Criminal justice system effectiveness; Criminal justice system policy
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.