This course covers principles of criminology and
penology, with emphasis on historical and contemporary theory and
practice. Throughout the term, we will also address controversies related
to public policies on crime control. There is great debate about these
topics. In contrast to the sensationalism often found in popular
treatments, we will rely more upon the findings and reflections of
criminological and legal research
OF THE COURSE:
To become familiar with the evolution of criminological theory and
practice, and the state of criminology in contemporary America and beyond.
To develop skills in critical thinking and conceptualizing ideas
about crime causation, crime control and criminal justice.
To become informed about major policy debates regarding crime
control and criminal justice.
Schmalleger, Frank. Criminology Today: An
Other readings made available in class.
Attendance: Class time will be used in a variety of ways, including
lecture, discussion and films. Lecture and discussions will presume and
build upon the readings, so you should read and be prepared to discuss
assigned reading. STAY CURRENT IN YOUR READING EACH WEEK. Lecture and
discussion will also often focus on material not in the reading. Regular
attendance and good note taking will be necessary. Contribution to class
discussions on a regular basis may influence grading (i.e. you may receive
additional points if you are on the border of receiving a higher grade).
Exams, course project, and grading: There
will be three exams and a course project. The format of the exams may
vary and will be discussed in class. Exams will cover both lecture and
reading material. Your grade will be weighted as follows:
Course project 20%
OUTLINE AND SCHEDULE
corresponding textbook chapters are indicated.
readings will be made available as needed.
Introduction:What is Criminology
Schmalleger, Chapter 1
Patterns of Crime
Schmalleger, Chapter 2
Issue: Sentencing and prison policies in
The Classical Thinkers
Schmalleger, Chapter 4
Issue: On Capital Punishment
Sociological Theories I: Social Structure
Schmalleger, Chapter 7
Sociological Theories II: Social Process
and Development Schmalleger,
Sociological Theories III: Social Conflict
Schmalleger, Chapter 9
Issue: Civil Liberties and the War on
White Collar Crime
Schmalleger, Chapter 12
Schmalleger, Chapter 12
Drug Abuse and Crime
Schmalleger, Chapter 13
Issues: The War on Drugs and Legalization
assignments are designed to provide you with an opportunity to develop
more in-depth knowledge about some aspect of criminology and the justice
system. You will complete one of the following options. Any policy
issue relevant to crime and criminal justice can be the subject of either
option (with approval). A list of suggested topics is provided.
Option 1 – Crime
Few subjects are more
controversial than crime control. Each step in the criminal justice
system raises a number of difficult issues about which the public,
criminologists and criminal justice professionals often disagree. In this
assignment, you can either (1) argue in favor of a specific change in
criminal justice policy, or (2) defend and support current policy in
relation to specifically proposed alternatives. The paper should include
these main parts:
Give a clear definition of the issue.
Describe the various sides of the controversy.
Show how your policy change or the current policy meets the need.
Justify your position in light of relevant criminological theory
and social scientific evidence.
Consider advantages and possible disadvantages of your position.
End with a strong conclusion that will convince the reader that the
change you propose should be adopted, or that the current policy you
support should be maintained.
The paper should
integrate material from several different sources. Most of these should
be from social science and criminological works. References must be
properly cited and included in a bibliography.
should take approximately 5 double-spaced typed pages (no larger than 12
pt. Font size, Times New Roman preferred).
are due Last Week of Class.
They will be graded for thoroughness, depth of research, effectiveness of
arguments, proper use of supporting theoretical and empirical material,
grammar, spelling and syntax (clarity of exposition). Clear, well-written
presentation is a must.
is not tolerated and easy to detect. All sources must be properly quoted
Option 2 – Panel or
You select a
controversial issue or policy in the area of crime and criminal justice.
You then prepare an in-class presentation. Two, four, or six students
(no odd numbers) work together and organize the presentation as either a
panel or a debate. Materials and instructions for organizing a debate can
be obtained from me. Each person will be required to hand in their TYPED
notes and a bibliography at the end of the presentation.
All those wishing to
do this option must get approval from me by seventh week. The
presentations will be scheduled near the end of the quarter. Performance
will be evaluated on grasp of the issue and important related points,
proper use of supporting evidence, ability to anticipate and counter
opposing viewpoints, structure, organization and strength of
presentation. The written parts handed in should reflect a strong outline
structure and depth of research.
EXAMPLES FOR THE POLICY PAPER OR DEBATE
your own topic, but these are possibilities.
Are our civil liberties threatened by government
initiatives to counter terrorism?
What rights do terrorist suspects and "persons of
Do policies of the U.S. government increase the
likelihood of terrorism in the US?
Will increasing government surveillance violate our
rights to privacy?
Is increased security at airports effective?
Is racial profiling justified?
The Drug War: Good Policy or Bad?
Should drug use be decriminalized?
Will decriminalization of drugs, prostitution and
pornography decrease organized crime?
Should sex offenses carry stiffer penalties?
Should prostitution be decriminalized?
Should mandatory sentences be used more or less
Should community service sentences be used more
Should more alternatives to prison be developed?
Is the operation of prisons by private-sector
corporations a good idea?
Should the prison population be reduced?
Are violent criminals and delinquents treated too
Is capital punishment bad policy.
Should the death penalty be abolished?
Will gun control reduce crime?
Should euthanasia be a crime?
Does rap music contribute to violent crime?
Are the dangers of internet child pornography
Should there be greater or lessor penalties for
Does stress on victim's rights and assistance enhance
or hinder the justice system?