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Effective Communication in Criminal Justice

Effective Communication in Criminal Justice

April 2018 | 328 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

“This text provides students and instructors with a detailed examination of communication in the criminal justice system. Specific issues confronting criminal justice practitioners in their daily activities, including interactions with the public, are explored. The text demonstrates appropriate methods of communication and provides direction for overcoming difficulties in the communication process.”
—Brooke Miller, PhD, University of North Texas

“I would certainly describe this book as a must-have as an addition to any course that has a writing component. The information contained is necessary for students of criminology . . . [and] will aid students in formal writing as well as those going into the criminal justice field.”
—Dianne Berger-Hill, MAS, Old Dominion University

Effective Communication in Criminal Justice is the perfect companion for any criminal justice course that discusses communication and writing. Authors Robert E. Grubb and K. Virginia Hemby teach students how to be both effective writers and communicators—essential skills for anyone interested in criminal justice. Going beyond report writing, this book helps readers become more confident presenters and digital communicators while encouraging students to adapt their communication styles to meet the needs of diverse populations. Students will not only improve their communication and writing skills but also gain specific strategies for succeeding in careers related to policing, courts, corrections, and private security.  


Chapter 1: Communication: Words Are Not Enough
What Is Communication?

Communication Styles

Types of Communication

Flow of Communication

Barriers to Communication

Overcoming Communication Barriers

Communication Across Generations

Definitions and Characteristics of Generations

Internal Communication Across Generations

Barriers to Successful Communication Between and Among Generations

Addressing the Barriers and Meeting Generational Communication Needs

Baby Boomers in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Generation Xers in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

The Millennial Generation in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Leaders in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Suggestions for Bridging the Communication Generation Gap With External Groups

Chapter 2: Think Before You Speak: The Verbal Component
Verbal Communication: The Oral Component


The Listening Process

Types of Ineffective Listeners

Barriers to Listening

Guidelines for Effective Listening

Criminal Justice Professionals and Verbal Communication


Verbal Communication: The Written Component

Writing Techniques: Choosing the Right Words

Developing and Writing Effective Sentences and Paragraphs

Law Enforcement Professionals and Verbal Communication Reporting


Verbal Communication: The Video Component

Media Relations and Law Enforcement: The History

Law Enforcement Professionals: Responding to the Media

Chapter 3: Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Nonverbal Communication
The Functions of Nonverbal Communication

Kinesics: The Science of Body Language

Paralinguistics: The Voice

Proxemics: Space and Objects

Haptics: Touch

Interpreting Nonverbal Body Language in Criminal Justice Professions

Body Movements

Proxemics: Space and Objects

Facial Color

Facial Expressions

Paralanguage (The Voice)

Limitations and Exceptions to Nonverbal Communication

Checklist for Improving Your Nonverbal Communication

Chapter 4: Grammar: A Lesson in the Basics
Parts of Speech




Adjectives and Adverbs



Parts of the Sentence

Sentence Errors

Sentence Fragments, Run-On Sentences, and Parallel Structure


Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Point




Frequently Confused Words Most Frequently Confused Words

Abbreviations Versus Full Words

Titles and Ranks

Degrees and Certifications

Time, Days, and Months

Acronyms and Familiar Initials

Address Abbreviations

State Abbreviations


Spelling Errors

Checklist for Improving Your Use of a Computer Spell-Checker

Fifty Most Commonly Misspelled Words

Chapter 5: Preparing to Speak: Presentations and Visual Aids
Purposes of Speeches

Impromptu Style

Extemporaneous Style

Manuscript Style

Memorized Style

Guidelines for an Effective Oral Presentation

Your Purpose

Your Audience or Listeners

Organizing Your Presentation

The Perception of the Speaker

The Speaker’s Voice

The Parts of an Oral Presentation or Speech

Using Visuals in Your Presentation

Types of Visual Aids

Designing Visual Aids

Points to Remember in Using Visual Aids Effectively

Overcoming Barriers to Effective Presentations

Checklist for Preparing and Organizing Oral Presentations

Getting Ready to Speak

Organizing the Introduction

Organizing the Body

Organizing the Conclusion

Designing Visual Aids

Developing Electronic Presentations

Prior to Your Presentation

The Presentation

Televised or Recorded Presentations (News Reports, Presentations, and Updates)

Nonverbal Messages

Chapter 6: Written Communication: An Agency’s Lifeline
Writing Principles for Report Development




Topic Sentences



Report Writing in Criminal Justice

Reports in Law Enforcement

Reports in Corrections

Reports in Private Security

Field Notes and Note Taking

Guidelines for the Note-Taking Process

Maintenance of Records: Field Notes, Reports, Interviews, and Evidence

Records Management Systems

Life Cycle of Records

Chapter 7: Interviewing and Interrogating: Witnesses and Suspects
The Interview Process



Preparing for an Interview or Interrogation

The Setting

Interview and Interrogation Questions

Legal Issues

Terminating the Interview or Interrogation

Chapter 8: The Court System: Preparing for and Testifying in Court
The Courtroom Setting

The Participants in the Criminal Courtroom Drama






The Participants in the Civil Courtroom Drama

The Grand Jury

The Criminal Trial

The Law Enforcement Officer’s Role in the Trial Process Preparing to Testify

The Corrections Officer’s Role in the Trial Process

The Private Security Officer’s Role in the Trial Process

The Officer’s Appearance in Court Testifying

Chapter 9: Technology and Communication: A New Frontier
Technology and Today’s Criminal Justice Agency

The Intranet (Organizational Network)

Mobile Data Terminals (MDTs)

Department or Bureau Computers

Electronic Mail (E-Mail)


Technology in the Courtroom and in Corrections

New Technologies in the Courtroom

New Technologies in Corrections

Mobile Device Apps

Law Enforcement Apps

Corrections Apps

Private Security Apps

Social Media: Criminal Justice’s Newest Weapon

Writing for Social Media

Bulletin Boards


Electronic Journals

Law Enforcement and the Internet

Cybercrime and Cybersecurity



Chapter 10: Conflict Resolution and Other Special Forms of Communication





Feelings and Emotions

Conflict Resolution Conflict Resolution in Criminal


The Negotiation Team

Hostage and Nonhostage Situations

Correctional Facilities and Hostage Situations

Hostage Negotiation Equipment

Communication: The Small-Group or Team Process

Small-Group Communication

Effective Small-Group Characteristics

Number of Members


Task Commitment

Group Rules

Group Consensus


Role Requirements

Leadership Functions

Group Interaction

Limitations and Strengths of Small Groups



Cultures and Groups


Individual Assertiveness


Progress and Change

Uncertainty and Risk


Chapter 11: Communication With Diverse Populations: Ethnic/Cultural Groups and Children and Youth
Characteristics of Culture

Dimensions of Culture


Time Orientation

Power Distance

Individualism Versus Collectivism

Communication Style

How We View Ourselves

Criminal Justice Agencies: Communicating With Diverse Groups

Law Enforcement and Immigrant Cultures

Law Enforcement and Minority Cultures

Enhancing Communication in Multicultural Communities

Children and Youth

Definition of Youth

Interviewing and Interrogating Juvenile Suspects

Interviewing Juvenile Victims and Witnesses


Gang Awareness


Gang Recruitment of Youth

Early Involvement Signs

Signs of Actual Gang Membership

Communicating With Gang Members

Chapter 12: Communication With Special Groups: Cognitive, Physiological, Psychological, and Emotional Disabilities
Law Enforcement and the ADA

Corrections and the ADA Juvenile Justice

Private Security and the ADA

Categories, Definitions, and Explanations

Cognitive (Intellectual/Developmental) Disabilities

Physiological or Physical Disabilities

Psychological Disabilities

Interacting With People With Disabilities

Addressing the Individual and Not the Disability

First Steps

Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities

Service Dogs and Disabilities

Checklist for Interaction With

Individuals With Disabilities

About the Authors


“Comprehensive text on the significance of all aspects of communication in the criminal justice field.”

Katherine J. Ely
Lock Haven University

“This text provides students and instructors with a detailed examination of communication in the criminal justice system. Specific issues confronting criminal justice practitioners in their daily activities, including interactions with the public, are explored. The text demonstrates appropriate methods of communication and provides direction for overcoming difficulties in the communication process.”

Brooke Miller, Ph.D.
University of North Texas

“I would certainly describe this book as a must have as an addition to any course that has a writing component. The information contained thus far is necessary for students of criminology…will aid students in formal writing as well as those going into the criminal justice field”

Dianne Berger-Hill, MAS
Old Dominion University, Sociology and Criminal Justice Department

“This text provides faculty teaching justice studies communications courses with a practical approach to both foundational issues necessary for all communications courses, as well as the sections specific to the justice studies field.”

Dr. James C. Brown, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
Utica College

“To be quite honest, I was excited about the ideas I had while previewing the text.  I would strongly encourage colleagues to consider using this in the construction of a course focused on “Writing in the Discipline”.  I think there is great potential for students (and instructors) to have fun writing while not realizing that they are actually learning valuable information.”

Lauren M. Barrow, Ph.D.
Chestnut Hill College

I have used this book 3x. I like it because it encompasses all the information needed to develop skills for the criminal justice system.

Patricia Feese
Criminal Justice, Briar Cliff University
March 9, 2023

Textbook appropriate for assisting students in bettering their communication skills, academically and with criminal justice agencies. The information on social networking tools in law enforcement is a nice addition to previous editions.

Dr Linda Keena
Legal Studies Dept, University Of Mississippi
May 20, 2020

I am using this text in conjunction with Johnston's Careers in Criminal Justice. I found it very useful and it covers most of the basic communication skills needed by my students in or entering the field.

Professor Frank Plunkett
Criminal Justice, Peirce College
August 20, 2020

Robert E. Grubb Jr.

Dr. Robert E. Grubb, Jr., retired as Sergeant, Roanoke City Police Department in 1991. He has personal experience with the information covered in the proposed text. As part of his training opportunities, Dr. Grubb engages in discussions with current agency personnel to ascertain their needs with regards to communication skills development. So, he is continually seeking and receiving data that supports the use of this type of text in both educational and training facilities. He was the criminal justice program coordinator at Cumberland University, criminal justice program director at Columbia State Community College, and an award-winning... More About Author

Kathy Virginia Hemby-Grubb

Dr. K. Virginia Hemby, is a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) and a Certified Online Instructor (COI) and has taught Business Communication at the university level for the past 22 years. She worked as a legal secretary for 10 years prior to earning her doctorate. Dr. Hemby’s areas of specialization are Business Communication; Professional Meeting, Event, Exhibition, and Convention (MEEC) Management; Training and Development; and Office/Administrative Management. She is currently a professor of marketing at Middle Tennessee State University and Director of Raiders' Closet, a nonprofit project established to provide professional attire to... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781506392134