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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: MSCJ 501
Course Title: Current Issues and Future Directions in Criminal Justice
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: An examination of the salient, current critical issues in the justice system affecting law enforcement, criminal justice personnel, public policy, and recent social developments. Must be taken as a foundational course for the Master of Science of Criminal Justice.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Graduate standing.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Use of a textbook in this course is left to the discretion of the instructor as many trends and issues are current and may not be available for study in textbook form.

Special Topics in Policing
By More, Harry W. (Anderson Publishing Co.)
Visions for Change
By Muraskin, R. and A.R. Roberts (Prentice Hall)
Course Objectives
  • To understand current issues in the American system of justice.
  • To understand the legal, practical, political nature of issues and trends in criminal justice.
  • To understand the law and public policy and how they interface with crime and public safety.
  • To critically analyze trends and issues in the criminal justice system.
    Measurable Learning
  • Identify specific problems, trends and issues in the criminal justice system.
  • Distinguish between problems, trends and issues of the past, present and the future.
  • Master at least one trend or issue and become sufficiently knowledgeable so information can be imparted to the class in a formalized manner.
  • Demonstrate a practical and working knowledge of how the issue or trend developed.
  • Predict, explain, and support likely future developments regarding the trend or issue and justify what interventions would be appropriate.
    Topical Outline:
  • Issues in management and organization
  • Minorities in criminal justice
  • Working with the ADA
  • Police deviance and corruption
  • Criminal justice ethics
  • Stress in criminal justice agencies
  • Community-based policing
  • Use of force
  • Treatment of offenders
  • Legal issues in the justice system
  • Probation, parole and the community
  • Youthful offenders
  • Criminal justice programs
  • Programs for youth
  • Terrorism

    These topics are recommended but not required as trends and issues are dynamic and will change from time to time.

    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Michael Lyman Date: September 21, 2005
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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