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Criminal Justice

8001. The American Criminal Justice System   (3 s.h.)

A broad, survey course designed for students beginning graduate studies in criminal justice who lack background in the field or who seek to investigate the latest theoretical, programmatic, and policy issues. The class familiarizes students with historical milestones and shifts in criminal justice philosophy and practice. It reviews the operations of criminal justice agencies and assesses current practices in light of evidence on outcomes and other consequences. The course explores the significance of race, class, and gender in criminal justice processing, agencies and programs. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply a range of methods and theoretical perspectives in analyzing and critiquing selected justice system practices and reform measures.

8101. Decision Making in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

Core Course. Conceptualizes criminal justice as a series of interrelated decision stages. Examines organizational, legal and research issues related to each decision stage.

8102. Research Methods in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

Core course. Assumes prior familiarity with basic methodology and statistics. Prepares students to conduct criminal justice research and evaluation. Covers topics of causality, reliability, validity, and quasi-experimental methods.

8104. Law and Social Order   (3 s.h.)

Core Course.  Examines moral, practical, legal, and constitutional limitations of law as a means of securing social order. Classes and readings are designed to promote critical analysis of primary (constitutions, statutes, cases) and secondary (legal, philosophical, social science literature) sources of law, with special focus on the role of the Supreme Court in balancing state vs individual interests and on rules and standards by which the Court's discretion and decision-making can be assessed.

8105. Fundamental Statistical Issues in Analysis of Criminal Justice Data   (3 s.h.)

Core Course.  Introduces criminal justice graduate students to simple and multiple regression analyses in criminal justice research. Extended treatment of the detection of non-normal data through the use of graphical and statistical techniques, and the statistical implications of highly non-normal data that are encountered in many areas of criminal justice. Clarifies relations between statistical assumptions, results, and use of results for decision making purposes.

8106. Theories of Crime and Deviance   (3 s.h.)

Core Course. The goal of the course is to provide an appraisal of the foundations for understanding criminal behavior. Students read major current and classic works couched at different levels of analyses about the origins of criminal behavior including not only violent and property crime but also delinquency, white collar crime and regulatory violations.

8201. Court Processes and Administration   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on historical development, structure and processes of the American criminal court system. Identifies key decision points in the criminal process (pretrial, charge, plea negotiations, sentencing etc.) and examines their impact on the work of the court. Studies the role of key figures (prosecutor, judge, defense attorney, defendant and victim) in contemporary court setting. All discussions set within broad context of the inevitable conflict between personal liberty and community safety, and the contrasting goals of the ‘formal’ criminal justice system versus the ‘informal’ courtroom workgroup.

8202. Correctional Philosophy and Administration   (3 s.h.)

Analyzes the theory, practices and policies of the American correctional system, covering the nature and administration of both institutional and community sanctions and agencies. Students explore competing penal theories and review evidence on the effectiveness of correctional practices. The course investigates the historical development and evolution of imprisonment, trends in the use of confinement, and the effects of incarceration on offenders, families and communities. Students analyze the characteristics of correctional populations and debate the causes and implications of race, class and gender differences. The course identifies significant current issues and reviews the ethical, legal and practical dimensions of proposals for reform.

8203. Issues in Law Enforcement   (3 s.h.)

This course focuses on conceptual models of policing and how they affect operational priorities and resource decisions in law enforcement. Topics include community policing, problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing, among others. This is a wide-ranging course that explores policing from an international perspective and through the lens of the varying contentious issues of the day.

8204. Policy and Practice in Juvenile Justice   (3 s.h.)

This course is designed to increase the student's understanding of the purposes, structure and processes of this distinctly American invention, the juvenile justice system. Together, we explore its recent development and current policy initiatives that are reshaping its role in our society. We also look at the target of this system: delinquent kids. We examine the juvenile justice system in terms of its underlying aims, its historical foundations, and its sociopolitical contexts, explanations of delinquency, theories of child development, case law, legislation, changes now occurring with respect to its goals, and recent initiatives to increase dependency on scientific evidence of effectiveness. In doing so, we seek to understand the system's limitations, contradictions and strengths. At the same time, we examine the role that research plays in shaping the policies and programs that constitute this system.

8205. Aggression and Violence   (3 s.h.)

Students will learn about different types of violence in the United States, including homicide, assault, robbery, family violence, youth violence, drug related violence, and gun- related violence. A three-part, interdisciplinary perspective guides this inquiry: (1) examination of patterns and trends, (2) examination of correlates and causes, including biological, psychological and sociological theories, and (3) investigation of different policy responses to violence. At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to do two things: (1) critically discuss major explanations that have been offered for different kinds of violent behavior, and (2) critically evaluate policies for preventing and controlling specific types of violence.

8231. Environmental Justice   (3 s.h.)

By land, by sea, and by air, communities across America confront environmental problems, many of these arising from the commission of environmental crimes, and in response to which citizens and communities seek environmental justice. This course addresses structural issues in environmental justice and environmental crimes, environmental victimization, and the role of compliance in resolving issues of environmental justice.

8232. Geographic Perspectives on Crime   (3 s.h.)

Spatial distribution of crime and criminals is examined in relation to the geographic processes that influence this distribution. This course involves half seminar and half lab work. Seminars include the structure of geographic information and spatial analysis techniques, alongside spatial theories of crime and how these theories can explain crime patterns. Lab work instructs students in the use of GIS to map and analyze crime events, from the national level down to the city level. The GIS and crime mapping component assumes no prior knowledge of GIS, uses the latest ArcGIS software, and concentrates on crime in the City of Philadelphia.

8233. Communities and Crime   (3 s.h.)

This course addresses the connections between features of community, and crime, fear and disorder, at various levels of analysis ranging from the community to the street block. It covers varying theoretical perspectives on these connections, with the aim of educating students in the relative strengths and weakness of these various perspectives. Students learn to apply these various perspectives and tools to case studies and actual locations.

8234. Criminal Victimization and Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

This course explores the problem of victimization [general vs. criminal], the types of victims [direct vs. indirect; individual vs. collective, etc.], and the harms involved [financial vs. physical vs. mental]. It also examines the fairness and efficacy of a wide variety of preventive, remedial, extra-legal and legal [civil, criminal] responses by society and by the criminal justice system. Emphasis is upon data sets and research studies shedding light upon the levels, correlates, dynamics, and consequences of major forms of victimization, as a basis for critical analysis of victimization theory and existing and potential laws, policies, programs, practices, and technologies for reducing its incidence and impact.

8235. Criminal Justice Organizations: Structure, Process and Change   (3 s.h.)

Criminal justice organizations share many characteristics with other organizations, but they also differ in important ways. For one thing, criminal justice organizations are public bureaucracies; they aren't typically worried about a financial bottom line. Their aims have to do with public safety, controlling criminals, and managing large populations of incarcerated individuals. The criminal justice system comprises a complex network of agencies and organizations that often pursue very different goals. Consequently, one reality of these organizations that we will need to explore is how they work together to achieve common goals. We will examine both criminal justice systems and criminal justice organizations from both a structural perspective and a behavioral perspective. Our main purpose in examining criminal justice organizations is to understand how they work so that we can, when it is desirable, change them, the way the relate to each other and the way the relate to the larger society. We will emphasize the manner in which criminal justice systems and their environments are changing, and the importance of capitalizing on those changes. Leadership and entrepreneurial thinking will be emphasized as well as structural approaches that foster development.

8237. Program Planning & Evaluation in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

Program evaluation is the systematic acquisition and assessment of information to provide useful feedback about a program. In other words, program evaluation facilitates improvements in program performance and outcomes. Evaluation also enables policy makers and funding agencies make decisions about continued support of a program or program replication. Students in this course will develop the capacity to develop and produce useful feedback. They will gain a thorough knowledge of the methods of program evaluation, from the point of framing the goals of the evaluation to communicating findings. Topics will include: assessing the evaluability of the program, logic models and theories of change, formative and summative evaluations, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, data sources and data collection, analyzing and interpreting data, reporting findings, the utilization of results, and synthesizing findings across evaluation studies.

8302. Advanced Methodological Issues in Criminal Justice Research  (3 s.h.)

Course involves students in hands-on activities allowing them to learn how to conduct and evaluate different types of research approaches commonly used in criminal justice. Course assumes a solid grounding in graduate-level research methods, and strong multivariate quantitative skills. These "learning by doing" activities, ideally organized around a single topic and conducted for a specific client, are complemented by high level discussions of and readings about key ongoing philosophical, pragmatic, and policy related research issues, and how those issues apply to and play out in the fields of criminal justice and criminology.

8305. Advanced Statistical Issues in Criminal Justice Data: Survival Models and Time Series Analysis   (3 s.h.)

Focuses on multivariate statistical techniques particularly important in criminal justice research questions. Course may cover multilevel modeling, or other techniques important to the discipline such as time series, clustering, and automatic interaction detection.

8310. Special Topics Seminar   (3 s.h.)

Special topics in criminal justice research are examined.

8320. Seminar in Criminal Justice Policy   (3 s.h.)

Special topics in current criminal justice policy are explored.

8330. Seminar in Advanced Criminal Justice Research Topics   (3 s.h.)

Advanced topics in criminal justice and criminological research are explored.

9082. Independent Study   (3 s.h.)

Prerequisite: Requires prior permission of instructor.

Permits individualized study of a specific topic in consultation with a faculty member. Not intended as a substitute for any required course.

9083. Directed Readings   (Variable credit  - 1 to 9 s.h.)


9982. Research Seminar in Criminal Justice   (3 s.h.)

Fulfills part of the research requirements for the student working toward completion of the Ph.D. Involves advanced reading and research in areas agreed upon by the Ph.D. student and professor. Includes group and individual meetings. Aim is an advanced research paper by the student that may focus in an area related to the proposed doctoral research.

9991. Directed Research   (Variable credit - 1 to 9 s.h.)

9994. Preliminary Examination Preparation   (Variable credit - 1 to 6 s.h.)

9996. Thesis Research   (Variable credit - 1 to 6 s.h.)

9998. Pre-Dissertation Research  (Variable credit - 1 to 6 s.h.)

9999. Doctoral Dissertation Research   (Variable credit - 1 to 6 s.h.)