Monday, December 12, 2011

New Spring 2012 CCJS Courses

The CCJS Department is offering a number of new, small, upper level special topics courses.  Below are descriptions of the courses.  If you are interested in a course and would like permission, please submit a course stamp request through  Please keep in mind students are limited to permission for 3 CCJS courses prior to the first day of class.

CCJS418A Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Deterrence
What can we do prevent people from committing crime? Hire more police? Put more people in prison? Spend more money and expand punishments? The popular concept of ‘getting tough’ on crime by increasing the severity of punishments is often championed by policy makers, elected officials and the public at large as a way to reduce crime. In some places, the driver of the getaway car in a robbery that results in a fatality can get the death penalty even if this individual had nothing to do with the actual killing. In other cases, 14-year-old kids can receive a sentence of life without parole. The United States incarcerates more people than anywhere in the world. But is there compelling support suggesting that any of this actually deters individuals and reduces crime? For example, 36 states have expanded laws to now penalize texting while driving with a heavy fine, yet current statistics show an increase of 150% of texting while driving in the past year.

This course will focus on two key avenues to understanding how deterrence works. First, it will explore the historical development of the deterrence doctrine and the current state of evidence supporting it, including effectiveness of current forms of punishment and policies. Second, there will be a concentration on individual human behavioral tendencies and capacities to understand, operationalize sanction threats, respond to them, and ultimately be deterred by them.   

CCJS418B Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Cyber Crime
Cybercrime research has grown in visibility and importance during the last two decades. Nevertheless, despite the growing public interest in cybercrime and its consequences for businesses and individuals, only scant attention has been given in the criminological discipline to investigation and understanding of this new type of crime. The purpose of this course is to introduce students with the technical, social and legal aspects of cybercrime as well as expose students to theories and tools that enable scientific exploration of this phenomenon. In the first few weeks of the semester we will learn about the computer and the internet, and discuss several definitions and typologies of cybercrime. Then we will discuss the hacker, the victim and the IT manger, review various theories of crime causation, and assess the relevance of these theories in the context of cyber space. We will then describe several technical tools that allow the collection of data from the Internet. We will conclude with a discussion on the legal issues affected and created by online crime.

CCJS418F Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Serial Offending
CCJS 418F is a systematic examination of predatory serial crime. Multiple categories of serial offenses are explored, including arson, bombings, sexual assault and homicide.  The course examines theories of serial offending, investigation and linkages of serial crimes by law enforcement, treatment of serial offenders in the courts, and correctional approaches to serial offenders.  Special topics in serial offending, including female offenders, are also discussed.