International Criminal Justice on the Internet

Mathieu Deflem
www.mathieudeflem.net

Published in Inter-Section, the newsletter of the international section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, 1998.

Cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 1998. “International Criminal Justice on the Internet.” Inter-Section, Newsletter of the International Section of the ACJS (Summer 1998):1-4.



This online version was last updated on January 10, 2001. The links in this text version are now disabled, but prior online versions can still be accessed via the Wayback Machine, additionally offering a look into cyber-history. 

Heralded as one of the most powerful communication structures of our age, the internet presents a new and unique opportunity for criminal justice scholars, both as a site of rich research potential, specifically on criminal justice issues raised by the appearance of the internet itself (e.g., so-called cyber-crimes), and as a source of information for our research and teaching interests. In this brief essay, I offer some guidelines on finding sources on the internet, particularly the World Wide Web, pertaining to topics and issues of international and comparative criminal justice. As the internet essentially crosses social and geographical borders, it would be ironic indeed if international criminal justice scholars would pass up on the many opportunities this mode of communication and information has to offer. As the internet is a new, ever expanding and changing phenomenon, it is by definition impossible to provide a definitive guide on how to do research on the internet. Yet, the information available to criminal justice scholars with an international and comparative outlook can nonetheless be somewhat formalized and streamlined.

Surfing the Web for International Criminal Justice Sources

There are generally two avenues onto the internet: either one searches for information on a specific topic or event, or one wants to retrieve materials within a broader area of investigation. To find information on a specific happening, the best way to get started is to log on to a search engine (e.g., Yahoo, Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos) and type in at the search window a short-hand description of whatever item one is interested in (e.g., "Oklahoma City bombing"). The only difficulty encountered with this kind of targeted searching is that search engines may retrieve too much or too little information relative to the specific terms typed in. The only solution is to be creative and try alternatives (e.g., "domestic terrorism," "Timothy McVeigh," "right-wing extremism").

The non-directed search mode will be more typical for most criminal justice research. There is such an incredible wealth of information available on the World Wide Web that the key difficulty is to actually find whatever relevant items are available. There are at least two ‘funnel’ strategies through which one can proceed. First, a useful way to start is to log in on the "Criminal Justice" section of a search engine. For instance, the Criminal Justice section of the search engine Yahoo is located at:

http://www.yahoo.com/Social_Science/Sociology/Criminology/Criminal_Justice/

Once the Criminal Justice section is located, the search can be narrowed down to more specific issues of criminal justice, including comparative and international aspects.
Example: log on to the Yahoo search engine (http://www.yahoo.com) and type in "Criminal Justice" at the search window. Provided is a list of nine categories of criminal justice sites, including a category under "Criminology". Accessing this site will in turn provide a list of various sections such as "Institutes" and "Organizations," which can be consulted to retrieve more specific information of an international scope.

A second way to find international criminal justice materials from a broader collection of sources is to access so-called links pages. These websites are collections of various lists of websites on a particular area of interest, mostly compiled by private individuals. These pages are indicated as "Indices" on most search engines.

Example: log on to Yahoo and type in "Law Enforcement" at the search window. Access the category "Law Enforcement" in the section "Crime" and enter the "Indices" section. Provided are a number of links pages on police, such as "Law Enforcement Online," "Police Guide," "Police Operations Page," and "Law Enforcement Sites on the Web." These links pages can then be consulted to find information on international and comparative issues of policing. Often times the pages will have a section explicitly devoted to international aspects. The links page "The Police Pages," for instance, contains an entry on "International Criminal Justice."

International Criminal Justice Websites: An Incomplete List

Much like finding a good book in the library or a decent article in a journal, searching the internet for useful sources of international criminal justice is the result of a combination of adequate search strategies, perseverance, and sheer luck. Initially, searches can be frustrating because the information provided is not always of high quality or not immediately relevant to specified research needs. The key is to continue searching. I here list some of the better and more useful websites for international criminal justice scholars, including some sources that should be of interest for criminal justice research in general. As an additional tip, instead of typing in the full website address (http://...), type in between quotation marks (") the name of the site at the search window of a search engine, a procedure which will likely, and more conveniently, take you to the requested website.

Search Engines

Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com
WebCrawler http://www.webcrawler.com
Lycos http://www.lycos.com
Alta Vista http://www.altavista.digital.com
Excite http://www.excite.com

Links Pages to Criminal Justice Websites

General

Criminal Justice Links. Very elaborate links page of a variety of criminal justice sites, including professional associations, police agencies, international criminal justice, and government sites.

NACJ Criminal Justice Page (Criminal Justice Resources on the Web). Useful list of criminal justice links, including international sources.

Criminal Justice Internet Sites. Links page from the Vera Institute of Justice, with an emphasis on government information.

Criminal Justice Education website. This is also the portal for web pages devoted to Reichel's textbooks on Corrections and on Comparative Criminal Justice.

Mitretek Systems: Criminal Justice Links. Links pages from the Criminal Justice Information Technology Institute, with a separate section on "International Agencies."

Law Enforcement

The Police Pages. A very elaborate links page on law enforcement, with an excellent design. A great place for the beginner.

Law Enforcement Sites on the Web. One of the most elaborate links pages on police. With special emphasis on police memorials and many international links.

Law Enforcement Online. Contains mostly links of U.S. law enforcement and military agencies, as well as Canadian law enforcement. Emphasis on local agencies.

Ajax. Very elaborate links page, with an emphasis on U.S. and various international law enforcement agencies.

Coplink International Agencies. Links to international law enforcement agencies.

CopNet. Includes directories to agencies and much more.

Law Enforcement Web Links. Thousands of law enforcement sites.

Corrections

The Corrections Connection. An online network for corrections professionals.

Prison Law Links. Contains resources on prisons and the death penalty debate.

Research Institutes and Professional Associations
International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy. A research center at Vancouver, Canada, in connection with the United Nations.

Office of International Criminal Justice. Research institute located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Website includes links to criminal justice sites as well as on-line publications, including "Criminal Justice International" and "Criminal Justice Europe".

International Association of Chiefs of Police. The oldest professional police association in the United States.

International Police Association. As International Secretary General of the International Police Association, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I announce the death of our esteemed Founder, Arthur Troop, at the age of 85 years".

International Union of Police Associations. At this site you will find information on who we are, some of the services we provide and what benefits you can gain by becoming a member of the IUPA.

International Association of Correctional Officers.

Police Executive Research Forum. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is a national membership organization of progressive police executives from the largest city, county and state law enforcement agencies.

American Corrections Association. The ACA is a multi-disciplinary organization of professionals representing all facets of corrections & criminal justice, including federal, state, and military correctional facilities and prisons, county jails and detention centers, probation/parole agencies, and community corrections/halfway houses.

Canadian Criminal Justice Association.

Criminal Justice Agencies

International

Interpol. The official site of the International Criminal Police Organization, ICPO-Interpol, with information on its principles, members, and activities.

Interpol - United States National Central Bureau. Website of the U.S. representation in Interpol at Washington, DC.

Interpol Ottawa. Website of Interpol’s national central bureau in Canada.

United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network. Provides criminal justice information, especially statistical data, from a large number of countries.

United Nations Drug Control Programme.

General

U.S. Department of Justice. Information on the structure and activities of the justice department of the United States of America, with various links to criminal justice agencies.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. Home page of the statistics resource branch of the U.S. Department of Justice with a wealth of statistical information on all aspects of criminal justice in the USA.

Criminal Justice Reference Service. More criminal justice sources from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Home Office Internet Service. Website of the Home Office, the government department responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales.
Law Enforcement

Federal Bureau of Investigation. The website of the famous investigative division of the United States department of Justice.

DEA - Home page. Website of the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Department of Justice, with much information on its international activities.

ATF. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms within the U.S. Treasury Department.

CIA. Official website of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Website of the famous Canadian police agency, with links pages to other agencies.


To end this brief introduction, I alert readers of this newsletter to the website of our own section. The site contains information on our section’s structure and activities and has an excellent links page of criminal justice sources: http://www.hum.port.ac.uk/ipcs/acjs/


Further Readings
  • Gerstenfeld, Phyllis B. 1997. "Net Justice: Using the Internet for teaching and Research in Criminal Justice." ACJS Today 16(1):1, 3, 24-25.
  • Greek, Cecil, and Deborah B. Henry. 1997. "Criminal Justice Resources on the Internet." Journal of Criminal Justice Education 8(1):91-99.
  • Jackson, Kevin. 1997. "JUSTNET: NIJ’s Gateway to Criminal Justice Technology Information." Corrections Today 59(August):108.
  • Journal of Criminal Justice Education. 1995. Special Issue: "Information Literacy: En Route to the Information Superhighway." Journal of Criminal Justice Education 6(2):213-358.