Cjs 101 Introduction to Criminology


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CJS 101Introduction to Criminology

Cliff Donn

Fall 2017

Office R-415, ext. 4467


E-mail: donn@lemoyne.edu

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




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.


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

Research Paper

Proposal Sep 26, Final Paper Nov 21

Mid-term Exam

Oct 18, 19, or 20 at a time and place to be determined

Final Exam

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.



I- Course Introduction

A- Introductory Material

Aug 29

B- Law Abiding Behavior

Aug 31

C- Sources of Knowledge About Crime & Criminals

Sep 5

II- What is a Crime?

A- Crime as a Social Construct

Sep 7

B- History and Evolution of the Concept of Crime

Sep 12

III- Crime Waves

A- Crime Waves and the Extent of Crime

Sep 14,19

IV- Crime in the Public Arena

  1. Violent Crime

Sep 21, 26, 28, Oct 3

B- Economic and Consensual Crime

Oct 5, 12, 17

C- Victims and Victimology

Oct 19, 24

V- Controlling Crime

A- Crime and Criminal Law

Oct 26, 31

B- Theories of Criminal Behavior

Nov 2

C- Police and Police Work

Nov 7, 9

D- Courts and Trials

Nov 14, 16, 21

E- Punishment and Prisons

Nov 28

F- Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice

Nov 30

VI- Conclusions

A- Turning What We Know into Sensible Policy

Dec 5

B- Summary and Conclusions

Dec 7

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

A –Introductory Material

  • No reading

B – Law Abiding Behavior

  • No reading

C – Sources of Knowledge about Crime and Criminals

  • BB Chap. 1 – What No One is Telling You About Crime and Justice

II. What is Crime?

A – Crime as a Social Construct

  • BB Chap. 2 – The Crime Problem


  • Paul Leighton, "Fairness Matters More than Deterrence: Class Bias and the Limits of Deterrence," Criminology and Public Policy, V.9, n.3, 2010

B – History and Evolution of the Concept of Crime

  • BB Chap. 2 – The Crime Problem


  • Jenny Diski, "The Secret Shopper: The History of Shoplifting," The New Yorker, September 26, 2011

III. Crime Waves

A – Crime Waves and the Extent of Crime

  • BB Chap. 3 – How Much Crime is There and Who Commits It?

  • Ian Parker, “A Reporter at Large: The Story of a Suicide,” The New Yorker, February 6, 2012


IV. Crime in the Public Arena

A – Violent Crime

  • 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

  • William Spelman, "Crime, Cash and Limited Options: Explaining the Prison Boom," Criminology & Public Policy, V.8, n.1, 2009

  • Bruce Western, “Criminal Background Checks and Employment Among Workers with Criminal Records,” Criminology & Public Policy, V.7, n.3, 2008

  • Michael Daly, "I Committed Murder," Newsweek, October 3, 2011

  • Randi Hjalmarsson, “Juvenile Jails: Path to the Straight and Narrow or to Hardened Criminality?” The Journal of Law and Economics, V.52, n.4, November 2009

VI. Conclusions

A – Turning What We Know into Sensible Policy

  • BB Chap. 14 – Conclusion: What Every American Should Know

B – Summary

  • No Reading


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