Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

MSCJ 501: Current Issues & Future Directions

Back to Top

  Course 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 in Criminal Justice. 

Prerequisite: MSCJ 500

Proctored Exams: None



  Textbooks

As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.

Required

  •  Ismaili, Karim. (2017). U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: A Contemporary Reader (2nd). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.  eText
  •  Maguire, M. and Okada, D. (2015). Critical Issues in Criminal Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice Volume 2 (2nd). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc..  eText

Bookstore Information

Ed Map is Columbia College’s bookstore for Online, Nationwide, and Evening students.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional loose-leaf print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the Ed Map storefront at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Returns: Students who drop a course with physical course materials will be responsible for returning those items to Ed Map within 30 days of receipt of the order.  More specific information on how to do so will be included in the package received from Ed Map.  See here for Ed Map's return policy. Failure to return physical items from a dropped course will result in a charge to the student account for all unreturned items.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials, but may do so through the Ed Map storefront. Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

  Course Overview

This course is designed to provide you with an overview of recent and current issues, challenges, and solutions within the criminal justice system, and offer you critical thinking, research, and analysis opportunities to project future directions of the system based on trends, policies, and practices. The course will look at issues associated with criminal justice technologies, each major component of the criminal justice system, movement from traditional to innovative solutions within the system, trends in research, and communications between agencies and components of the criminal justice system, and crime and justice issues for the future.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate the important current issues and trends in the American system of justice.
  2. Explain the historical, legal, practical, and political nature of issues and trends in criminal justice.
  3. Describe the impact of important issues and trends on the criminal justice system.
  4. Describe the processes used to predict and analyze trends.
  5. Articulate the possible policy solutions and interventions available to address the relevant issue or trend.

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 15 Wednesday / Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 1 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 2 20
Plagiarism Quiz --

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 3 15
Dropbox Assignment 3 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 4 20
Quiz 1 20

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 5 15
Dropbox Assignment 6 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 5 20
Quiz 2 20

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 7 15
Dropbox Assignment 7 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 8 20
Term Paper: Topic Selection 25
Quiz 3 20

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 9 15
Dropbox Assignment 10 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 9 20
Quiz 4 20

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 10 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 11 15
Dropbox Assignment 12 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 11 20
Quiz 5 20

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 13 15
Dropbox Assignment 13 20 Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 14 20
Quiz 6 20
Term Paper: Submission 275

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 15 15
Dropbox Assignment 15 20 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 16 20
Quiz 7 20
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview

Discussions

There is an introduction discussion and fifteen (15) weekly discussion posts in the course, worth 15 points each. In addition to posting your original answer, you must respond to at least three (3) of your classmates’ postings. There is no limit on the number of words for each of your responses. It is strongly suggested that you read all discussion postings each week. Your discussion postings must be original and intelligible; you must communicate effectively. Discussion posts must be in MLA or APA format.  Address each additional question posed by the instructor during the discussion. All discussions must take place in the Discussions area. E-mailed discussion postings will not receive credit. Initial discussion responses must be posted by 11:59 p.m. CT, Wednesday of each week and all responses/final discussion posts are due by 11:59 p.m. CT, Sunday (except for Week 8 when all assignments are due on Saturday, 11.59 p.m.). No late discussions will be accepted.

Dropbox Assignments

There are sixteen (16) Dropbox Assignments in the course, two (2) assignments per week, worth 20 points each.  Dropbox Assignment Papers are due each Sunday night by 11:59 p.m. CT except for Week 8 when all assignments are due on Saturday, 11.59 p.m.  Late work is not accepted with the exception of extreme circumstances which are brought to the attention of the instructor, and agreed upon, prior to the due date/time of the assignment.  Each of the two assignments each week must be 2-3 pages in length, double spaced and written in APA or MLA format.   Dropbox Assignment papers should be written as if you are communicating with a client.  The formal rules of proper English and grammar apply, and points will be deducted for misspellings, incomplete sentences and poor sentence structure etc. You must include an additional page with references with each assignment. Please prepare your assignment using MS Word or RTF and submit it to the Dropbox. E-mailed assignments will not receive credit.

Quizzes

Beginning in Week 2, you will complete Quizzes that will assess your understanding of the week’s material. Each quiz consists of 20 multiple-choice questions. You will have 30 minutes to complete it and only one (1) attempt is allowed.You will not need a proctor for any of the tests. All quizzes will be open-book. Quizzes will open on the Monday, 12.01 a.m. CT, of each class week and close on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT except for Week 8 when the Quiz closes on Saturday, 11.59 p.m. CT.  

Term Paper

There is a Term Paper in course, due by Sunday 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 7.  Late work is not accepted with the exception of extreme circumstances which are brought to the attention of the instructor, and agreed upon, prior to the due date/time of the assignment. 

By the beginning of Week 4, start researching a component of the criminal justice system.  By 11:59 p.m. CT, Saturday, post a document in the Term Paper Topic Dropbox declaring your term paper topic (which component of the criminal justice system you are going to research and write about) as well as a brief abstract and at least 2 (of the 5 required) academic references that you intend to use. 

The paper should be 15–20 pages long, double spaced, and in APA or MLA format. The term paper will highlight your research into the system component; current challenges to the component, expected future challenges, and your creative ideas on how the component can be effective in the future, based on trends and projections that you uncover during your research. Cite at least 5 references. “Wikipedia” is not an acceptable resource and should not be used as a citation. There are several websites and library resources available on criminal justice to assist you in your research for this assignment; please ensure that the Internet is not your only source of information. The paper must be prepared and formatted in MSWord or RTF and submitted via the appropriate “Term Paper” Dropbox folder. Make sure your full name appears on all pages.  

 

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Readings
  • Browse the course environment.
  • Review the introductions, details, resources, and other information in the Content area.
  • Browse the textbook,  Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice, including the index, and the textbook, U.S. Criminal Justice Policy, including the index.
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 1-5 (Part I of the book)
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapters 1 and 2
Introduction Discussion

Engage your fellow students in a discussion about your interest in criminal justice, as well as what you see as the most pressing issues confronting the criminal justice system today and why.

Your initial post is due no later than 11:59 pm CT on Wednesday.  Your responses to at least three (3) of your classmates' posts is due no later than 11:59 pm CT on Sunday.

Discussion 1

The NPR podcast, "Newark Budget Cuts Mean Less Police Presence," is about police budget cuts in Newark, NJ. As we are confronted with tough economic times, budgets in many intermediate and larger cities are at tipping points and layoffs in critical public services appear inevitable, thus forcing overhaul in the system. What are the major points of this podcast and how does this relate to our course topic?

Dropbox Assignment 1

What criminal justice issues should we study from the past in order to develop a vision and plan for the future and why?

Dropbox Assignment 2
Describe the role of the criminal justice system today and, based on current challenges, predict what the role of the system should be in the future.
Plagiarism Quiz
Review the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content section of the course. Take the “Plagiarism Tutorial quiz.” This quiz is required prior to uploading any Dropbox assignment. The quiz is ten multiple choice questions. It is not graded.
Readings
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 12
  • Read articles regarding CompStat posted in the Content section of the course.  
Discussion 2

Should the use of video surveillance technologies be expanded in public places and on roads for law enforcement purposes? Why or why not?

Discussion 3

This NPR podcast, "Police Push for More Access to E-Communications," highlights how the law enforcement community is beginning to make an effort to amend the communications law to cover their access to conversations on new technologies — like Skype, BlackBerry, and Facebook — to keep pace with the way criminal and terrorism suspects are talking to each other. The initiative, in its early stages, is sure to face strong headwinds from privacy advocates. What are the privacy right implications of this effort?

Dropbox Assignment 3

Based on the readings and your research, explain how technology can be used to effectively manage the nation’s correctional systems and describe potential positive outcomes from increased use of such technologies.

Dropbox Assignment 4
Summarize how improvements in forensic science have impacted the criminal justice system.
Quiz 1
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 1-5 (Part I of the book) and U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapters 1 and 2. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12:01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 1-3 and Chapter 11
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 5
  • Read "National Gang Threat Assessment" posted in the Content section of the course.
Discussion 4

Is the war on drugs working?  Why or why not?

Discussion 5

In recent studies, some criminologists suggest that the "Broken Windows Theory" actually does not address the crime problem.  A November 1, 2016 NPR podcast ("How a Theory of Crime and Policing was Born and Went Terribly Wrong") offers some background on the emergence of this theory in New York City in the early 1990s and the recent studies indicating the problems with the theory in practice.

The following link also offers an article in the Business Insider that suggests that this model will continue and why. The most hotly debated policing strategy of the last 20 years is far from finished.

Based on the information presented in "How a Theory of Crime and Policing was Born and Went Terribly Wrong" as well as on any other research like that you'd like to visit, outline the pros and cons of “broken windows” policing.

Dropbox Assignment 6

Describe how trends toward more alternatives to incarceration will increase involvement of the victims of crimes.

Dropbox Assignment 5
Predict how juvenile violence and delinquent behaviors associated with gang activity could be effectively prevented or deterred.
Quiz 2
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 12. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12.01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 16-19 (Part III)
  • Read articles on community-oriented policing posted in the Content section of the course.
Discussion 6

How do community policing and problem-oriented policing impact communities in which they are employed?

Discussion 7

Visit the NPR story "New Orleans Police Struggle in Post-Katrina Era." Since Hurricane Katrina, NOPD has been in transformation. What should be done to build police / community trust in New Orleans?

Dropbox Assignment 7

Explain how police response to domestic violence has changed over the past three decades.

Dropbox Assignment 8
Describe the role of special “commissions” in uncovering and reducing police corruption, and discuss why or why not such commissions should be used in the future.
Term Paper: Topic Selection

Research a component of the criminal justice system.By 11:59 p.m., Saturday, post a document in the Term Paper Topic Dropbox declaring your term paper topic. Specify which component of the criminal justice system you are going to research and write about. Also, mention at least 2 (of the 5 required) academic references that you intend to use.

Quiz 3
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 1-3 and Chapter 11 and U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 5. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12.01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 6, 20 and 21.
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 7
  • Read articles on post 9/11 surveillance case law review. The article is posted in the Content section of the course.
Discussion 8

Is the death penalty effective? Why or why not?

What is the future of the death penalty and alternatives to it?

Discussion 9

Read the article "Supreme Court Says Use of Lethal Injection Drug is Legal" and discuss the implications of the ruling as well as your thoughts on the decision.

Dropbox Assignment 10

Describe your understanding of the purpose of the USA PATRIOT Act. Compare and contrast how the law may or may not impact civil liberties.

Dropbox Assignment 9

Examine the Bill of Rights in the context of cases discussed in the text (as well as other technology related cases you may find during your research).

Provide a brief analysis on how the increasing use of technology by law enforcement is being / will be regulated.

Quiz 4
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice Chapters 16-19 (Part III). You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12:01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 23-26 (Part V)
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 8
  • Read articles on sentencing and jail operations posted in the Content section of the course.
Discussion 10

What are the challenges in managing HIV/AIDS among populations in American prisons? What can be done to mitigate those challenges?

Discussion 11

Listen to a podcast "Controlling the Spread of HIV in Prisons." What are your thoughts as they relate to this week’s discussion?

Dropbox Assignment 12

Describe recent trends in privatized corrections, predict future directions with this trend and evaluate the success of this trend in terms of cost effectiveness, population management, and liability.

Dropbox Assignment 11

List and describe the most recent trends in sentencing. Discuss how such trends may impact the criminal justice system (e.g. impact on crime rate, budget, priorities etc.).

Quiz 5
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice, Chapters 6, 20 and 21 and U.S. Criminal Justice Policy, Chapter 7. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12:01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice, Chapters 13 and 14
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy, Chapter 3 and 10
  • Read articles on terrorism posted in the Content section of the course. 
Discussion 12

How should international terrorism be fought– through law enforcement and criminal justice tactics or through military tactics? Why?

Discussion 13

Watch the YouTube video "Sovereign Citizen Training for Law Enforcement." Would you consider this group as a domestic terrorism group, or an organized crime group, or both?  Why?  How should law enforcement confront this group?

Dropbox Assignment 13

Based on your study of trends, predict the challenges associated with domestic terrorism in coming years.

Dropbox Assignment 14

Discuss the forms of profiling that have been used to combat international terrorism.

Quiz 6
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice, Chapters 23-26 (Part V) and U.S. Criminal Justice Policy, Chapter 8. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12:01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.
Term Paper: Submission

Write a paper that is 15–20 pages long, double spaced, in APA or MLA format, highlighting your research into the system component. Highlight current challenges to the component, expected future challenges, and your creative ideas on how the component can be effective in the future. References are required; you must cite at least five (5) references.  

Readings
  • Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice: Chapters 7, 8 and 10 (Part V)
  • U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: Chapter 11
  • Read article on Women in Criminal Justice posted in the Content section of the course.
Discussion 14

What are the biggest challenges for women in the criminal justice workforce?

Discussion 15

This NPR podcast, "As D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier Steps Down, A Look At Women's Role In Policing," discusses the District of Columbia’s first female police chief, Cathy Lanier, and takes a look at women's roles in policing based on her experience.  What does the presentation of this podcast say about attitudes related to women in criminal justice? What are the key points and challenges outlined and what are your thoughts as they relate to this week's discussion?

Dropbox Assignment 15

Define the phrase “workforce diversity” and describe benefits and management challenges associated with it.

Dropbox Assignment 16

Define “sentencing disparity." Provide examples and summarize its impact.

Quiz 7
This quiz includes 20 multiple-choice questions covering Critical Issues in Crime and Justice: Thought, Policy, and Practice, Chapters 13 and 14 and U.S. Criminal Justice Policy, Chapter 3 and 10. You will have one 30-minute attempt to complete this quiz. You may use your textbook. 
 
This quiz will open on Monday, 12:01 a.m. CT, and must be completed by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. CT.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Late assignments receive zero (0) credit unless the student has prior agreement with the instructor in case of an emergency. 

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance.  If you have questions about the Ed Map storefront, please contact the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center.  If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource.  Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.