The first edition of this textbook appeared in print more than ten years ago. At that time, I chose what seemed to be a rather unique subtitle:An Introductory Text for the Twenty-first Century.The subtitle was unusual not only because the new century was still more than a decade away, but because other introductory criminal justice authors seemed to be writing about the past and not the future. I wanted my subtitle to speak to students and professors. I wanted it to say, "This is a book that, while it owes a legacy to the past, is not bound by it. This is a book that will prepare students of justice for the world of the future--a soon-to-be vital and real world with almost limitless possibilities in which they will live and work." Since then, of course, much has changed.Criminal Justice Todayis now in its seventh edition. The twenty-first century is here, and thinking about the future has become routine. As I write this preface to the seventh edition, I think of how the first edition of this text was a standard ink-on-paper hardcover book with sparsely placed black-and-white photographs. I reflect on how it has since evolved into a multimedia-rich, information-filled, experiential package that brings up-to-the-minute learning opportunities to today's students in printed form, on the Web, via CD-ROM, and through other digital formats. I think of how it makes extensive use of technologically enhanced learning environments, and I hope that it has contributed, at least in some small way, to the growth and continuing maturation of those environments. The seventh edition of this learning package (for it is no longer merely a book) is intimately integrated with today's "wired" world.Criminal Justice Todayhas evolved into a multifaceted learning experience that, I believe, sets the standard for a new generation of educational tools that integrate text-based information and electronic media in ways not possible only a short while ago. Although you can still hold this book in your hands, the printed pages are but a representation of the multitude of learning possibilities that accompany it. TheCriminal Justice TodayCompanion Website ( http://www.cjtoday.com ), for example, adds a wealth of constantly updated news, statistics, legal information, and diverse opinions to the core text.The Criminal Justice Todaye-mail discussion groups, message boards, and Talk Justice facility make it possible for students and professors to interact with one another and with others across the nation and around the world who share an interest in criminal justice and in crime prevention. Our criminal justice Cybrary ( http://cybrary.info ) provides a fully searchable gold mine of thousands of up-to-the-minute justice-specific websites and publications to facilitate research, writing, and learning. WebCT and Blackboard templates and fully developed content for this textbook, as well as the online teaching possibilities provided by theCriminal Justice TodayCompanion Website, allow classes to be taught entirely online, so students can study criminal justice subject matter from virtually anywhere. While much has changed over seven editions, this text remains true to its original purpose. In the preface to the first edition, I wrote that the purpose of this book is "to teach criminal justice students the fundamental tried-and-true concepts of an evolving discipline, to give them the critical-thinking skills necessary to effectively apply those concepts to the real world, and to apply those concepts and skills to today's problems and to the emerging issues of tomorrow." In Chapter 1 of that edition, I promised that this book would "describe in detail the criminal justice system, while helping students develop an appreciation for the delicacy of the balancing act nSchmalleger, Frank M. is the author of 'Criminal Justice Today An Introductory Text for the Twenty-First Century', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130450647 and ISBN 0130450642.