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Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

MSCJ 501: Current Issues & Future Directions

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: Graduate standing

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Muraskin, Roslyn, and Albert R. Roberts. Visions for Change: Crime and Justice in the Twenty-First Century. 5th ed. Prentice Hall, Inc., 2009.
    • ISBN-978-0-13-613939-3

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to provide the graduate student with a view of the changing factors and conditions impacting the criminal justice system as well as a an overview of trends that will likely impact components of the system. The course will review contemporary issues as well as advanced uses of technology. Issues which are serious problems within the system will be examined with up to date research. The course will look at the future of juvenile justice, the impact of the threat of terrorism, new policing and law enforcement strategies, the death penalty, civil liberties, institutional and community corrections and diversity issues in the future of criminal justice. The course textbook provides the graduate student with a blend of information including research as well as creative ideas for the future of the criminal justice system, law and public policy. The student should demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the objectives by scoring an average of 80% or better on written examinations and classroom assignments, and demonstrating the ability to discuss and apply theoretical concepts in a practical manner.



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, 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.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
F 0-699 0-69%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 240 24%
Dropbox Assignments (8) 320 32%
Quizzes (7) 140 14%
Term Paper 300 30%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 1 40
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 2 40
Week 2 Quiz 20
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 3 40
Week 3 Quiz 20
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 4 40
Week 4 Quiz 20
Term Paper work --
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 5 40
Week 5 Quiz 20
Term Paper work --
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 6 40
Week 6 Quiz 20
Term Paper work --
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 7 40
Week 7 Quiz 20
Term Paper due 300
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 30 Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 8 40
Week 8 Quiz 20
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

General

You are expected to be involved in the course a minimum of 5 hours per week participating in discussions and other appropriate online activities, such as sending and receiving e-mail. You should also plan to spend an additional 5 hours per week reading, writing and studying. All work is due on Saturdays at 11:59pm.


Reading Assignments

Complete weekly reading assignments before participating in Discussions or Dropbox Assignments so you can apply what you have learned from the text readings.


Multimedia Content

You must view any PowerPoints, videos and/or podcasts posted in the course content. There may be quiz questions related to any of the materials as well as points of discussion during our weekly topic discussions.


Discussions

Your discussion postings must be original and intelligible; you must communicate effectively. Your initial posting for each question must be a minimum of 100 words, and you must address each additional question posed by the instructor during the discussion. In addition to posting your original answer, you must respond to at least three (3) of your classmates’ postings. You are expected to read all discussion postings each week. All discussions must take place in the Discussions area. E-mailed discussion postings will not receive credit.


Dropbox Assignments

Dropbox Assignments 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, poor sentence structure, etc. Each of the two assignments each week must be 2-3 pages in length, double spaced and written in APA or MLA format. You must include an additional page with references with each assignment. Please prepare your assignment using MS Word or a comparable word processing program 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, and you will have 1 hour to complete it. You will not need a proctor for any of the quizzes.


Term Paper

By the beginning of Week 4, start researching a component of the criminal justice system. Write a 15 – 20 page, double spaced APA or MLA format paper 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.  

“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 formatted with a current version of Word and submitted via the appropriate Dropbox folder. Make sure your full name appears on all pages. The paper will be due Week 7.



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Getting Acquainted, Getting Started
Readings
  • Browse the course environment. Review the introductions and other information in the Content area.

  • Browse the textbook, including the index.

  • Begin reading Chapters 1-4 (Parts I and II of the book)

Discussion 1

Introduce yourself in the Discussions area. 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. Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint Slides in the Week 1 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 1

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. What Criminal Justice issues should we study from the past in order to develop a vision and plan for the future and why? (Provide specific support through text, online research, such as sites you discover, and your own studies in criminal justice.)
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.

Week 2: Technology
Readings
  • Complete Chapters 2-4 (Part II)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 2 in the Content area.

Discussion 2

Should the use of video surveillance technologies be expanded in public places and on road ways for law enforcement purposes? Why or why not? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday.  Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint Slides in the Week 2 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 2

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. Based on the readings, 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.
2. Summarize how improvements in forensic science have impacted the criminal justice system.

Week 2 Quiz

Please complete the Week 2 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Week 3: Crime Challenges in the 21st Century
Readings
  • Chapters 5-16 (Part III)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 3 in the Content area.

Discussion 3

Is the war on drugs working? Why or why not? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint slides in the Week 3 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 3

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. Predict how juvenile violence and delinquent behaviors associated with gang activity could be effectively prevented or deterred.
2. Describe how trends toward more alternatives to incarceration will increase involvement of the victims of crimes.

Week 3 Quiz

Please complete the Week 3 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Week 4: The Police
Readings
  • Chapters 17-20 (Part IV)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 4 in the Content area.

Discussion 4

How can community policing and problem oriented policing impact communities in which they are employed? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint slides in the Week 4 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 4

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. Explain how police response to domestic violence has changed over the past three decades.
2. Describe how technology has revolutionized police work and predict what technology can do to improve policing in the future.

Week 4 Quiz

Please complete the Week 4 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Term Paper work

Begin working on your 15-20 page term paper, which will be due Week 7. See the Assignment Overview section and the course Content area for more detailed instruction.

Week 5: Law
Readings
  • Chapters 21-25 (Part V)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 5 in the Content area.

Discussion 5

Is the death penalty effective? Why or why not? What is the future of the death penalty? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint Slides in the Week 5 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 5

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. 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) and provide a brief analysis on how the increasing use of technology by law enforcement is being / will be regulated?
2. Describe your understanding of the purpose of the USAPATRIOT Act, and compare and contrast how the law may or may not impact civil liberties?

Week 5 Quiz

Please complete the Week 5 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Term Paper work

Continue working on your 15-20 page term paper, which will be due Week 7.

Week 6: Corrections
Readings
  • Chapters 26-30 (Part VI)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 6 in the Content area.

Discussion 6

What are the challenges in managing HIV/AIDS populations in American prisons? What can be done to mitigate those challenges? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint Slides in the Week 6 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 6

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. List and describe the most recent trends in sentencing.
2. 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.

Week 6 Quiz

Please complete the Week 6 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Term Paper work

Continue working on your 15-20 page term paper, which will be due Week 7.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Terrorism
Readings
  • Chapters 31-33 (Part VII)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 7 in the Content area.

Discussion 7

How should international terrorism be fought—through law enforcement and criminal justice tactics or through military tactics? Why? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint slides in the Week 7 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 7

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. Based on your study of trends, predict the challenges associated with domestic terrorism in coming years.
2. Discuss the forms of profiling that have been used to combat international terrorism.

Week 7 Quiz

Please complete the Week 7 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.

Term Paper due

Submit your completed Term Paper to the correct Dropbox folder.

Week 8: Gender, Diversity and the Law
Readings
  • Chapters 34-37 (Part VIII)

  • Read any articles or review any websites listed under Week 8 in the Content area.

Discussion 8

What are the biggest challenges for women in the criminal justice workforce? Please post your original answer and respond to at least three of your classmates’ postings by midnight Saturday. Also, listen to the webcast and view PowerPoint slides in the Week 8 Content link and be prepared to respond to follow up questions posted by the instructor.

Dropbox Assignment 8

Respond to the each of the following questions in two separate 2-3 page essays. Submit your essays to the Dropbox by midnight Saturday.

1. Define the term “workforce diversity” and describe benefits and management challenges associated with this.
2. Define “sentencing disparity,” provide examples of sentencing disparity and summarize the impact of sentencing disparity.

Week 8 Quiz

Please complete the Week 8 Quiz by midnight Saturday. You will have one hour to complete this 20-question multiple choice exam.



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

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

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.

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 Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. 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.


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