Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Descriptions of CCJS 418 Courses Offered Fall 2012

Below are descriptions of CCJS 418 courses that will be offered in the fall 2012 semester.  Please consider enrolling in one of the courses...

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.   

CCJS418G Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: The Craft of Criminological Research and Writing
418G is a new course specifically designed for students interested in sharpening their critical skills and being better prepared for graduate and law school.  During this course, students will learn how to critically analyze empirical articles that test criminological theory and evaluate criminal justice policy.  In doing so, students will improve their knowledge of theory, research methods, and data analysis - they will also learn how to write effectively for research purposes.  This is a unique chance to be part of a small, challenging class, taught by the prior Director of the CCJS Honors Program.  

CCJS418I Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Causes and Consequences of Mass Incarceration
By many measures the United States, with over 1.6 million persons in state and federal prisons, leads the world in rates of incarceration.  Today, facing substantial budget pressures, states are seeking to reduce prison populations without related increases in crime.  This course explores how our society became what many have called a “prison state”; what we know about the costs and benefits of these levels of incarceration; and the prospects for substantial reductions in the use of prisons.  Through a combination of assigned readings, discussion, and completion of a major paper students will demonstrate their ability to address a major crime policy issue with the tools of criminology.

CCJS 418J Seminar in Criminology and Criminal Justice: Foreign Nationals and Crime 
This course is designed to provide students with a general understanding of the foreign nationalcrime nexus in the United States. Students will become well versed in the typologies of foreign nationals, including: immigrants, non-immigrants, illegal immigrants, illegal non-immigrants, and undocumented migrants. This class will survey major theoretical perspectives within the contemporary criminology field to provide a framework for understanding the relationship or lack thereof between these foreign nationals and crime. In addition, this class will examine the available research and statistics on foreign nationals and crime, and the policy implications of this research. At the conclusion of this course, students will possess a working knowledge of; 1) types of foreign nationals, and the criminality of these foreign nationals in America, 2) the theories used to explain the criminality of foreign nationals, 3) the limitations of the available research on foreign nationals and crime, and 4) the policies that have been implemented in attempt to address the foreign nationalcrime nexus. The course will include special topics lectures on the following: (1) Specific Policies: S.B. 1070 and 287(g), (2) Smuggling and Human Trafficking, (3) Foreign National Gangs, and (4) Border Crime. When applicable, the course will apply lectures to current events in the news, and will offer specialized guest speakers.