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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Corrections 320 - Race, Class and Gender in a Correctional Context: Spring 2018 guide

This is a short guide to resources of use to students enrolled in COR -320. Students doing research on corrections in other classes may find it helpful as well.


 this guide is on the web at  


The following library research guides link to and explain most of the information presented in this handout. You can find all of our Subject Guides from our homepage

Citing Sources: APA, MLA & Chicago Styles  :  In order to distinguish your ideas from others you MUST cite your sources properly in your paper, within the text and in the bibliography at the end.  This guide will help you. 


Specialized Encyclopedias and Reports are a great way to get some background on your topic and narrow down what you are going to write about here are some suggestions. Try searching your topic in: CQ Researcher (JJay login required) which offers these recent reports of interest:

 Try searching your topic in Encyclopedia databases such as: Gale E Books (formerly Virtual Reference Library): and Sage Knowledge Collection.   

or go to the shelves in the Reference Area, upper floor for print format encyclopedias.

  • Bosworth, M. (Ed.). (2005). Encyclopedia of prisons & correctional facilities (Vols. 1-2). Reference HV 9471 .E43 2005
  • Bryant, C.D. (Ed.). (2001). Encyclopedia of criminology and deviant behavior (Vols. 1-4). Reference HV 6017 .E53 2001
  • Dressler J. (Ed.). (2002). Encyclopedia of crime & justice (2nd ed., Vols. 1-4).. Reference HV 6017 .E52 2002
  • K. M. Evans, (2014). Crime, Prisons, and Jails, 2013 ed. Detroit: Gale. 
  • Levinson, D. (Ed.). (2002). Encyclopedia of crime and punishment (Vols. 1-4). Reference HV 6017 .E524 2002
  • Sullivan. L. (Ed.). (2005). Encyclopedia of law enforcement (Vols. 1-3). Reference HV 7921 .E53 2005
  • Wright, R.A. & Miller, J.M. (Eds.). (2005). Encyclopedia of criminology Reference HV 6017 .E5295

Part 2:  Search for books using OneSearch discovery tool: From the library home page:

You can borrow “stacks” printed books from any CUNY library, or request that they be sent here (use the request button). Don’t request JJ books – go to the shelf and pick them up yourself. Do get a barcode for your JJ id card -  at the library desk on the lower floor.  

Our books are shelved according to the Library of Congress classification system, an alphanumeric system which groups books by subject categories, or classes.

  • H                                 Social sciences
  • HV                               Criminology, social pathology, social welfare.
  • HV 6431                      Terrorism
  • HV 7431                      Crime prevention
  • HV 7551-8080             Policing
  • HV 8035-8069             Special crimes, offenses and criminals
  • HV 8073-8079.35        Criminal investigation
  • HV 8301-9920.7          Prisons. Corrections
  • HV 9051-9230.7          Juvenile offenders. Juvenile delinquency
  • HV 9261-9430.7          Reformation of adult prisoners including probation, parole, reentry


OneSearch will also discover articles, videos, etc. But the results are often not well organized. For a more targeted search use Academic Search Complete and click on "Choose Databases" and to search together with Criminal Justice Abstracts and/or SocINDEX to efficiently find peer reviewed articles published in criminal justice and sociology journals.

To efficiently discover peer-reviewed academic articles on a topic, search a library database such as Criminal Justice Abstracts

Browse the entire list under “subject = criminal justice”:   

Academic Search Complete (EBSCO platform)  Searches a broad range of magazine and journal articles.

Click on 'Choose Databases' and add these databases to your search:

Criminal Justice Abstracts  Searches articles published in (mostly)  academic criminal justice journals. (can add other EBSCO platform databases to the search, e..g Academic Search Complete)

Criminal Justice Periodical Index: Searches practitioner periodicals, e.g. The Police Chief.  

SocINDEX (EBSCO platform)  for finding peer reviewed, academic articles published in sociology journals. 

Also: Google Scholar  A tool that searches the web for journal articles.  I don’t recommend this as your search tool,  BUT if you do use it, use the link on the library select from popular databases menu – then you will avoid paywalls and get easy & free access to many more PDFs.  

How to search any database KEYWORDS - Use AND to narrow your search.  Use OR to broaden your search.  This is called Boolean searching.  You may find it easier to construct these searches using the search boxes providing the Boolean terms AND, OR, NOT in dropdown menus in many databases’ advanced search. Some examples of constructed Boolean search strings are:

  • Female Offenders AND Parole AND New York 
  • Women AND (Probation OR Parole)
  • (Juveniles OR Youth) AND Sentencing
  • Teenagers AND Murder AND (Sentencing OR Sentences)
  • Hispanics AND New York AND Parole
  • (Prison and Visitation) OR  “prison visits”
  • Reentry AND Employment
  • Recidivism AND Drugs AND Offenders
  • Reentry OR Re-Entry
  • Health Care and Prisoners

Notes: Asterisk *  truncates: prison* gets prison, prisons, prisoner, prisoners.  “Quotation marks” keeps words together:  “new york city”.

Other Keywords to consider:

  • deinstitutionalization
  • probation
  • restorative justice
  • ex-convicts
  • women ex-convicts
  • offenders
  • ex-offenders
  • parole
  • rehabilitation
  • community-based corrections
  • victim’s rights
  • public safety
  • health
  • substance abuse
  • violence
  • mental illness
  • housing employment
  • race
  • African Americans
  • Hispanics
  • gender
  • economics   


Reports written by criminal justice non profits, governmental agencies and independent groups are great sources for up to date information on corrections. Many of these are freely available but not necessarily easy to find in a web search. 

Try keyword searching in One Search"Prisons and Reports" for recent reports that the library found important enough to catalog.  There are also many reports linked to from the above CQ Researcher Reports and Library Research Guides and also the below governmental and non-governmental agency websites.


Offender Reintegration, National Institute of Corrections

National Reentry Resource Center 

Prisoner Reentry, Urban Institute 

The Re-entry Policy Council   

Reentry Resource Center: New York 

Innocence Project    


NCJRS Justice Information Center A well-organized site of the U.S. Department of Justice with direct access to full-text government documents as well as links to other sites. Provides the full text of NIJ and other OJP and Office of National Drug Control Policy publications.  

United States Department of Justice Information about the DOJ, including press releases from the Attorney General. This department is home to most federal criminal justice agencies.  Office of Justice Programs Funding and research arm of the DOJ. Includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the  National Institute of Justice - the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.  

Federal Bureau of Prisons Official website of the agency that oversees Federal corrections institutions. It is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Corrections: Reentry/Release, National Criminal Justice Reference Service   

Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act of 2007 (H.R. 623 IH)   

Reentry, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs   

Part 5.  Statistics

using Google or Criminal Justice Abstracts to search “Prison Inmates and Statistics and [state]” as well as searching the agencies’ names will usually find statistics reports. 

Bureau of Justice Statistics    (a Federal government agency site)          Many statistical reports are available from this website on all aspects of parole, probation and prisoner reentry. Especially recommended, the yearly reports Probation and Parole in the United States.

Sourcebook of (New York State) Criminal Justice Statistics –  

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services publications       See also the statistics header.  Criminal Justice Data for New York State offers Searchable statistical reports on criminal justice in NY state from the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data – NACJD  Search ‘parole’ for statistical tables and reports. Including their Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and their Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data.

[This guide by E. Belcher 2016, F2018; edited by E. Sexton 2017,Sp2018 Edited by E. Belcher F19 & F23]

What is peer review?

Image result for sociology journalsScholars formally communicate the results of their research, and establish precedence, by writing and publishing articles in academic journals.  Usually these articles go through peer review before they are accepted for publication.  The researchers’ peers, all experts in the topic being studied, anonymously judge the quality and uniqueness of the work reported in the paper, and recommend, or not, that the manuscript be published. Peer review is: “The evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by  others working in the same field.”

 “The process used by publishers and editors of academic journals to provide a chance for scholars to examine and critique a paper or monograph before it is published to help ensure its integrity and veracity.”    [from Oxford Reference Online  ]