Matthew B. Robinson, PhD


Matthew Robinson at presidential inauguration, January 2009

Department of Government and Justice Studies
Office: 2054 Anne Belk Hall
Phone: (828) 262-6560
Fax: (828) 262-2947

Professor of Government & Justice Studies

Joined Appalachian State University Fall 1997

Ph.D. (1997), M.S. (1994), and B.S. (1992) from:

The Florida State University School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Areas of Specialization:
  • Theories of Crime / Integrated Theory -- Why do people commit crimes, especially harmful acts against others? I regularly teach "Theories of Crime and Justice," and "Crime, Theory and Policy" and published a book featuring my own theory of crime -- the "Integrated Systems Theory of Antisocial Behavior."  The book is: Robinson, Matthew (2004) Why Crime? An Integrated Systems Theory of Antisocial Behavior, Prentice-Hall.  A second edition, completely reorganized and updated with hundreds of new studies and with a new subtitle, is now available from Carolina Academic Press (2009). The second edition is co-authored with Kevin Beaver. I also co-authored a book with Derek Paulsen on spatial aspects of crime and crime mapping.  The book is: Paulsen, Derek, and Matthew Robinson (2004, 2009) Crime Mapping and Spatial Aspects of Crime: Theory and Practice, Allyn & Bacon. Finally, I have co-authored a book with Daniel Murphy about another new theory of crime aimed at explaining corporate crime.  The theory is called "contextual anomie/strain theory" and the book is: Robinson, Matthew, and Daniel Murphy (2008) Greed is Good: Maximization and Elite Deviance in America, Rowman and Littlefield.
  • War on Drugs -- Is the war on drugs an effective policy?  I regularly team teach "The War on Drugs" and co-authored a book that assesses the effectiveness of the war on drugs since the founding of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 1989.  The book is: Robinson, Matthew, and Renee Scherlen (2007) Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics, State University of New York Press. A second edition is coming out late in 2013. The second edition examines data from 1989 through 2012 in order to assess the (in)efficacy of US drug control policy.
  • Injustices of the Criminal Justice System -- What is wrong with American criminal justice?  I occasionally teach "Injustice in America" and have authored a book on how and why American criminal justice agencies fail to achieve their ideal goals of doing justice and reducing crime, as well as how to fix the problems. The book is: Robinson, Matthew (2002, 2005, 2009) Justice Blind?  Ideals and Realities of American Criminal Justice, Prentice-Hall. My new book, soon to be in production, is similar in nature to Justice Blind? but focuses on the arguyment that the criminal justice system fails to meet its ideal goals because politics and ideology of lawmakers. The book is titled, Criminal Injustice: How Politics and Ideology Distort American Ideals and should be out by 2014.
  • Criminal Justice Policy and Social Justice -- Does criminal justice work?  I occasionally teach "Crime Analysis and Criminal Justice Planning," and have analyzed specific criminal justice policies using empirical evidence, including the war on drugs and the death penalty. Further, I teach a course called "The American Justice System and Social Justice" that assesses the ability of criminal justice policies and programs to bring about social justice. I am currently working on projects that assess relationships between criminal justice practice and social justice theory (including the drug war and capital punishment). I am also working on a book with Cyndy Caravelis-Hughes that shows ways in which criminal justice practice both fulfills and falls short of America's social justice ideals.
  • Media and Crime -- Why do the media focus so heavily on street crime, especially random violent crime committed by strangers against "innocent" white kids? I teach a course called "Media and Crime" that examines how the media cover crime in the US. I authored a book that summarizes how the media cover crime and criminal justice and the policies we regularly pursue to reduce crime and bring about justice. The book is Robinson, Matthew (2011). Media Coverage of Crime and Criminal Justice, Carolina Academic Press. Check out the blog for the course, too, as I update it about five times a week:
  • Crime prevention -- Why does crime happen and how can we reduce it? I occasionally have taught a course called "Crime Prevention" that addresses these questions. And I was hired to write a book which summarizes all we know about preventing crime by focusing on individuals, groups, communities, and society. The book is: Robinson, Matthew (2013). Crime Prevention: The Essentials, Bridgepoint Education.

Other Areas of Interest:

  • 9/11 and the aftermath
  • Corporate crime/Big tobacco