This text addresses the following two questions: "What kinds of problems can the law solve?" and "What kinds of problems does the law create?" Using these questions as starting points, Meier and Geis evenhandedly explore the role and function of law relating to six major issues that often divide Americans today: prostitution, drug use, homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and gambling. Statutes and public opinion have shifted dramatically over recent decades in regard to these behaviors. The book details these developments and offers explanations of why they have occurred. Some people view all or some of these behaviors as acts that ought to be permitted, as part of individual freedom. Others find one, some, or all of them to be genuine threats to the country's social and moral fiber and believe that they ought to be criminalized. Still others maintain that action ought to be taken to limit some of the behaviors, but that using the criminal justice system is not the best way to proceed. Meier and Geis' provocative book offers sophisticated, in-depth discussions of these issues, then reviews the conflicting opinions about the proper role of criminal law in dealing with them.
It is written in straightforward, jargon-free language, providing an ideal background for exploring the facts and views regarding what are often contentious concerns. Criminal Justice and Moral Issues increases student understanding through the abundant use of relevant illustrations, examples, and case studies.