Over the past century, we have witnessed repeated, egregious examples of injustice in our legal system: criminal acts by law enforcement officers, judicial proceedings stacked against the poor and disadvantaged, and correctional programs that do little more than warehouse those convicted of crimes. This program is dedicated to developing a foundation of knowledge about policing and varieties of police behavior, criminal court proceedings and the working relationships between prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys, and the evolution of the American correctional system. Practicing professionals will be invited to the class to discuss the nature of and contradictions in their work.
Students will read and write on primary research covering issues in the administration of criminal justice from a sociological perspective. Over the quarter, students will develop and demonstrate their working knowing of:
Students will also demonstrate an understanding of competing theories and ideologies of criminal justice in the U.S. Finally, students will successfully complete a proposal to reform some aspect of the criminal justice system based upon knowledge of research and policies developed in the course.
- Each major area of the justice system: police, prosecution, courts, and corrections.
- How social and political forces influence the justice system and its operation.
- How and why injustices occur.
- Changes needed in the administration of criminal justice