COURSE POLICIES: All polices for this course are contained on this syllabus and/or on the course home page and its links. Students are required to be familiar with those policies and to comply with them.
TOPICS: The CJS 101 course is designed to introduce the student to the study of crime and the criminal justice system. Particular emphasis will be placed on examining commonly held beliefs about crime, criminals and law enforcement practices in the United States and examining data and research to determine which of those beliefs are accurate and which are myths.
STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to help the student meet all three of the program goals of the Criminology program, learning theory, learning research methodology, and learning professional standards. Upon successful completion of the course the CJS 101 student will:
Be able to explain which commonly held ideas about crime are myths and why they are myths
Be able to retrieve data about criminal activity in the United States
Be able to subject fictional portrayals of crime and criminals to critical analysis
Be able to analyze the efficacy of crime control policies as practiced and proposed in the United States
SOURCES: The principal text in this course is Steven E. Barkan and George J. Bryjak, Myths and Realities of Crime and Justice: What Every American Should Know, Second edition, 2014. Students should expect to read this entire book over the semester. Other readings from a variety of sources will be assigned and those will be available from library reserve.
REQUIREMENTS: Course requirements are discussed in detail on the course home page which is the official source for all such requirements and notification of any changes in assignments or requirements. Course requirements will be discussed during the first two weeks of class. Those requirements include quizzes, journal assignments, a research assignment, an optional mid-term examination and a final examination. Students will be required to keep a journal reporting on and analyzing various fictional presentations of crime. Journal assignments are discussed in greater detail on the course home page. You must complete all assigned work and submit it when due in order to receive a passing grade in the course. Late assignments will not receive credit under any circumstances but they must still be submitted. Unless otherwise indicated, assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date indicated. Assignments submitted even a few moments after that time are late and will not be accepted for credit.
Regular class attendance and participation in class discussion are expected. Students who attend class and are prepared for discussion on a daily basis can expect these facts to be reflected in their grades. The inverse is also true. You should only take this course if you expect to be able to attend all class sessions. You should expect that missing more than one class, whatever the reasons, will have a negative impact on your grade and that the more classes you miss, the greater the impact. Accordingly, you should not make non-emergency appointments of any kind that require you to miss all or part of a class period. In particular, students are not permitted to leave early for or return late from the Spring break or the Easter break.
Cell phones must be turned off during class (not set to vibrate). Students are not allowed to leave class to receive or make phone calls or to receive or send text messages. If you anticipate an emergency telephone call on some particular day that necessitates leaving your phone on, tell the instructor before class begins.
If you have a documented disability and wish to seek accommodation, please contact the instructor about that matter during the first two weeks of the semester.
GRADING: The grading scale used for all assignments in this class will be as indicated in the table below. “Plus” grades are used but “minus” grades are not normally assigned in this class. Grades are not curved and therefore there is no fixed percentage of students who will achieve any particular grade on any specific assignment or for the course as a whole.
Percentage of Total Available Points
Letter Grade Equivalent Range
80 and above
54.5 and below
WHAT I EXPECT FROM YOU
I expect that you will come to all class sessions on time and stay the entire class, having done the reading assignment and being prepared to participate by asking and answering questions and by expressing your opinions. I expect that you will ask questions about anything you don't understand. I expect that assignments will be done and turned in on time and that they will reflect the best work you can do. I expect that you will contact me if you are having any problems in the course or if you are having personal problems which may affect your performance in the course. Overall, I expect you to work hard at getting the most out of this course that you possibly can. In accordance with the policies of the New York State Department of Education which accredits Le Moyne College, you can expect to be assigned two to three hours of outside work for each hour of class time in the course.
Regular attendance and class discussion are an integral part of this course. If you unavoidably have to miss a class, you should make sure that you get the class material from your classmates.
You can expect that I shall come to class on time each day having thought about and prepared the material. You can expect that I shall answer your questions to the best of my ability and that your opinions will be heard with respect. You can expect that your assignments and exams will be graded carefully and returned in a timely manner and that you will be given an explanation of why you receive the grades you receive. You can expect that I shall make time to see you if you need to see me and that I shall keep regular office hours.
WHAT WE SHOULD EXPECT FROM EACH OTHER
A serious commitment to learning and a serious effort toward that end.
Sep 5, 14, 21, Oct 5, 19, Nov 2, 7, 14, 28, 30
Sep 28, Oct 24, Nov 16
Proposal Sep 26, Final Paper Nov 21
Oct 18, 19, or 20 at a time and place to be determined
Friday, Dec 15, noon -2:30 p.m.
CLASS SCHEDULE: Please use this schedule to plan your reading which should be done before the relevant class.
READING LIST: Reading assignments must be read by the first date on which the reading has been assigned. Quizzes on the reading will be held on that day or earlier in some cases. See the quiz schedule on the course home page.
I. Course Introduction
BB Chap 4 – Robbers, Rapists and Serial Killers: Violent Crime in America
Patrick Radden Keefe, “A Loaded Gun: A Mass Shooter’s Tragic Past,” The New Yorker, February 11 & 18, 2013
Margaret Talbot, “A Reporter at Large: The Story of a Hate Crime – What Led to the Murder of Three Muslim Students in Chapel Hill?” The New Yorker, June 22, 2015
B – Economic and Consensual Crime
BB Chap. 5 – Hookers, Dopers and Corporate Crooks: Economic, Exploitive and Consensual Crime
John Seabrook, “Network Insecurity: Are We Losing the Battle Against Cyber Crime?” The New Yorker, May 20, 2013
Eve Conant, "Pot and the GOP: Is the Party of 'Just Say No' Morphing into the Party of 'Just Say Grow?'" Newsweek, November 1, 2010
Shauhin A. Talesh, “The Privatization of Public Legal Rights: How Manufacturers Construct the Meaning of Consumer Law,” Law & Society Review, V.43, n.3, September 2009
Neal Shover and Peter Grabosky, "White Collar Crime and the Great Recession," Criminology & Public Policy, V.9, n.3, 2010
C – Victims and Victimology
BB Chap. 6 – Victims and Victimization: Will You Be Next?
Margaret Talbot, "American Chronicles - Gone Girl: The Extraordinary Resilience of Elizabeth Smart," The New Yorker, October 21, 2013.
V. Controlling Crime
A – Crime and Criminal Law
BB Chap. 7 – Crime and Criminal Law: Order, Liberty and Justice for All?
B – Theories of Criminal Behavior
BB Chap. 8 – Why They Break the Law
Nadya Labi, “The Hit Man’s Tale: How an Honors Student Became a Hired Killer,” The New Yorker, October 15, 2012
C – Police and Police Work
BB Chap. 9 – Taking It to the Streets: Cops on the Job
Brian J. Stults and Eric P. Baumer, “Racial Context and Police Force Size: Evaluating the Empirical Validity of the Minority Threat Perspective,” American Journal of Sociology, V.113, n.2, September 2007
David Weisburd, et al., "Is Problem-Oriented Policing Effective in Reducing Crime and Disorder?" Criminology & Public Policy, V.9, n.1, 2010
Robert J. Kane and Michael D. White, "Bad Cops: A Study of Career-ending Misconduct among New York City Police Officers," Criminology & Public Policy, V.8, n.4, 2009
D – Courts and Trials
BB Chap. 10 – Pretrial Procedures and Plea Bargaining: From Arrest to “Let’s Make a Deal”
BB Chap 11 – Criminal Trials and Courtroom Issues: Convicting the Innocent, Exonerating the Guilty
Nicholas Schmidle, "A Reporter at Large: Three Trials for Murder," The New Yorker, November 14, 2011
Andrew Martin, "The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA," The New York Times Magazine, November 27, 2012
Mark Cooney and Callie Harbin Burt, “Less Crime, More Punishment,” American Journal of Sociology, V.114, n.2, September 2008
Dena M. Gromet and John M. Darley, "Punishment and Beyond: Achieving Justice Through the Satisfaction of Multiple Goals," Law & Society Review, V. 43, n.1, 2009
E – Prisons and Punishment
BB Chap. 12 – Prisons and Jails: Punishment at Any Cost?
Eyal Press, “A Reporter at Large: Madness – In Florida Prisons, Mentally Ill Inmates Have Been Tortured, Driven to Suicide, and Killed by Guards,” The New Yorker, May 2, 2016
Rachel Aviv, “The Science of Sex Abuse: Is It Right to Imprison People for Heinous Crimes They Have Not Yet Committed?” The New Yorker, January 14, 2013
Jeffrey Toobin, "Annals of Law: The Mitigator - A New Way of Looking at the Death Penalty," The New Yorker, May 9, 2011
F- Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice
BB Chap 13 – Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice
Jessica Bennett, "From Lockers to Lockup: School Bullying in the Digital Age Can Have Tragic Consequences. But Should It Be a Crime?" Newsweek, October 4, 2010
Stephen Raphael, “Explaining the Rise in US Incarceration Rates,” Criminology & Public Policy, V.8, n.1, February 2009