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Criminal Justice

Resources and help for topics relating to criminal justice.


International Criminal Justice (ICJ) is a relatively new field of study and despite the fact that it is closely related to the field of comparative criminal justice, it also includes components from such academic disciplines as politics and economics, sociology and anthropology, computer and information science, law and public administration, gender studies and linguistics, and many others.  The multidisciplinary nature of the field makes it practically impossible to provide the researcher with a definite list of resources.

ICJ research encompasses criminal justice issues going beyond the local or national level.  It looks at various crimes and criminal justice responses to them from a global perspective.

Depending on your topic, you may be able to locate reliable information sources right away; however, some topics will require more time to dig for information. 

Where to look for information will depend on the nature of the research question and most of all on the currency of the topic and its interest to the public.

In our times, the internet is the first source of information. But don’t forget that books still have value if you are looking for an in-depth treatment of a subject. Generally, some time will have passed before a new issue is widely treated in a published book. Sometimes an issue is so narrow that it will only be mentioned in a chapter of a book or in a journal article. Information on developing issues will be available in the form of newspaper articles, and current affairs on the TV or radio, over newswires, and on the web. Articles in popular magazines start to appear earlier than publications in scholarly journals. Proceedings of conferences and documents produced by international organizations are very good sources of information but are increasingly released on the web at the time of the conference and published proceedings might appear with some delay or not produced at all. Early developments and overviews of a topic can be presented in general and specialized encyclopedias, handbooks, and even textbooks in related fields and will serve as good introductory sources for your research.

If you find an article or a book that is perfect for your topic, check their reference or additional readings lists – it will contain other useful sources of information related to your research. Then run a search in the library discovery tool GALILEO or one of our Subject Databases to see where and how these materials can be accessed.*

*Adapted from John Jay College International Criminal Justice Libguide

Getting Started

There is nothing wrong with going to the internet first, especially when choosing search tools that are aimed at research such as Google Scholar, for example. To get the most of using Google Scholar,  be sure to set Google Scholar as one of your preset in your MyCSU Google Account Settings. This will provide you with an option to link the search results to databases and full-text resources available in our library. If you are affiliated with any other academic or public library you can connect the Google Scholar on your computer to all of them by going to the Settings and then Library Links to customize your options.  But still many search engines won’t have this link option and will only give you partial information and request a fee for full-text content. A good idea is to get citations and then recheck their availability in our library by performing a search in GALILEO, our multi-database discovery tool.

Note of caution: follow HTML links from one web page to another by opening documents in a new tab or window; this way you can always trace your search back for verification and clarification purposes.

The major drawback of the popular internet search engines is that they will only ‘scratch the surface’ and will not go into the deep content of many specialized databases, i.e. invisible web. 

You can use search engines to bring content from the websites of your interest. Here is an example of how to use Google to search for organ trafficking information from the Human Rights Watch website:

               organ trafficking AND

You can specify what sites affiliations (non-for-profit, for example) you want to search: 

               border security AND                cybersecurity AND Europe and

Web Sources

"The World Prison Brief (WPB) is a unique database that provides free access to information about prison systems throughout the world. Country information is updated on a monthly basis, using data largely derived from governmental or other official sources. Each country page gives information on:

- total prison populations, and prison population rates per 100,000 of the national population
- the use of imprisonment for women, juveniles, and foreign nationals
- the extent of pre-trial/remand imprisonment
- prison overcrowding, as indicated by occupancy levels
- news and official reports on prison conditions
- details of local organizations and other resources
- department or ministry responsible for prisons, with contact information" -- From Website

  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

    "UNODC research constitutes the key global authority in the fields of drugs and crime, providing high-quality, essential evidence to inform policy-making and valuable sources of knowledge in drugs and crime domains, including in the framework of the Sustainable Development Agenda." -- From Website

    Includes World Drug Report, Global Study on Homicide, Crime, and Criminal Justice information, etc.

International Law Enforcement Agencies

United Nations

The UN was founded in 1945 after World War II to replace the League of Nations, to stop wars in various regions of the world, and to provide a platform for dialogue between member nations. The UN contains multiple subsidiary organizations to carry out its missions. It is an international organization that strives to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace.

UN is not a law enforcement agency but it formulates and promulgates international standards and norms in criminal law and criminal justice that are adopted by many countries.

UN has a complex system. The Official Website locator for the United Nations system of organizations has an alphabetical listing of various organizations associated with the United Nations, their websites, and further links to the specific organization’s publications.

One of the library legal databases Hein Online has many collections that are international in scope: International LawInternational Treaties and AgreementsInternational and Non-U.S.Law Journals just to name a few.

United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Library has created a useful guide on researching UN Documentation.

NYU Law Library has also created a very detailed guide on UN.*

*From John Jay College of Criminal Justice Libguide

UN and International Bodies of Criminal Justice

The list of all International Courts and Tribunals and UN bodies pertaining to international law can be found here.

International Court of Justice (ICJ) - the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The ICJ settles disputes between the States (not individuals). Background information on the court and its difference from other international judicial bodies can be found in the FAQ section.

International Criminal Court (ICC) - governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The ICC is an independent international organization and is not part of the United Nations system. The Court cooperates with the UN in many different areas, including the exchange of information and logistical support, and provides an annual report to the UN.

HEUNI – the official website for the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, a United Nations-affiliated institution. 

UNICRI  (United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute) - assists intergovernmental, governmental, and non-governmental organizations in formulating and implementing improved policies in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) - this site has a list of Topics of activity ranging from corruption and drug-related crimes to maritime and wildlife crimes. Each topic area will have a link to either Resources and/or Publications and Statistics.

UNICRI and UNODC are part of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI).  Other members of PNI are either UN-affiliated or leading national criminal justice institutions from all over the world. The network has been developed to assist the international community in strengthening co-operation in the crucial area of crime prevention and criminal justice. Its components provide a variety of services, including the exchange of information, research, training, and public education.

United Nations Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (CTS) is a tool to collect data on the incidence of reported crime and the operations of criminal justice systems with a view to improving the analysis and dissemination of that information globally. Using the menus is sometimes more efficient than using the search option of the screen.

UNdata is official statistics produced by countries and compiled by the United Nations data system, as well as estimates and projections. The domains covered are agriculture, crime, education, energy, industry, labor, national accounts, population, and tourism. Click on More on the menu to read about UN Data and get to the Advanced Search for guided search options.*

*From the International Justice Libguide from John Jay College of Criminal Justice

International Terrorism

Professional Associations