Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

MSCJ 524: Cj Policy Development & Evaluation

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  Course Description

Examination of the development, implementation, and analysis of public policy. Students identify and evaluate public policies as they relate to the criminal justice system.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing

Proctored Exams: None



  • Welsh, Wayne N., and Philip W. Harris. Criminal Justice Policy and Planning: Planned Change. 5th ed. New York: Routledge, 2016.  
    • ISBN-978-1-1381-9501-1
  • Stolz, Barbara Ann. Criminal Justice Policy Making: Federal Roles and Processes. Praeger Publishing, 2002.  
    • ISBN-978-0-275-97324-7

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

Welcome to Criminal Justice Policy Development and Evaluation (MSCJ 524) online. In this course you will learn about the issues, process and dynamics involved in developing and implementing crime policy. We will explore the dynamics that exist between competing stakeholders in the crime policy process, and will discuss the roles served by various governmental entities in assisting to develop, implement and interpret crime policy. Once you have a clear understanding of these methods and theories, we will apply them to evaluate real and hypothetical policy issues in our criminal justice system. In this manner we will enhance your critical thinking, and research and written communication skills as they relate to crime policy issues.

  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. Describe the process through which domestic crime policy is developed and the constraints existing at the development and implementation stage.
  2. Describe the characteristics of crime policy formulated at the federal, state and local levels of government.
  3. Articulate and apply available methods, theories, and procedures in developing, analyzing and evaluating crime policies.
  4. Articulate examples of crime policy successes and failures.
  5. Explain and apply existing and proposed crime policy to real and hypothetical fact situations.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 1800-2000 90-100%
B 1600-1799 80-89%
C 1400-1599 70-79%
F 0-1399 0-69%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 240 12%
Weekly Papers 1060 53%
Assignments 250 12%
Final Paper 450 22%
Total 2000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 2 15
Thesis Statement and Abstract Paper 60 Sunday

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 15
Assignment 1 50 Friday
Stage 1 Paper 160 Sunday

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 15
Assignment 2 75 Friday
Stage 2 Paper 160 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 15
Stage 3 Paper 200 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 15
Assignment 3 50 Friday
Stage 4 Paper 160 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 15
Stage 5 Paper 160 Sunday

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 15 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 15
Assignment 4 75 Friday
Stage 6 Paper 160 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 15 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 16 15
Final Paper 450 Saturday
Total Points: 2000

  Assignment Overview

Readings and Class Activities

It is suggested that you carefully complete all reading assignments and complete the class activities as soon as possible each week.


There will be two Discussion topics each week, worth 15 points each. Each student is required to make an initial post commenting directly on the question or issue that is the topic of discussion, and then to address any questions posed in response to your initial post during the week.  In addition, you are required to respond to at least three initial posts made by your classmates in each forum. Three responses per discussion topic is the minimum requirement. Initial posts must be made no later than Wednesday at midnight. Responses to classmates are due by Sunday at midnight each week (except in Week 8 which is Saturday at midnight). In your responsive posts, challenge, discuss and debate. Our discussions are intended to include thought-provoking and actionable content; please refrain from posts such as “good post, I agree” without further comment or discussion. Discussions should be posted to the appropriate topic in the Discussions area of the course.

Weekly Papers

There will be 7 Weekly Papers in this course. The first Paper is your Thesis Statement and Abstract for your proposed new criminal justice program or policy. This process will require the identification of a criminal justice problem currently faced either nationally or on a state or local level. The following six Papers will be rough drafts of each of the seven stages that will be the building blocks for your Final Paper. Using the techniques and procedures covered in our texts and discussed throughout the course, you will write 6 Weekly Papers that will each address one stage of development for your new Criminal Justice program or policy. You are expected to closely follow the Stages listed in the Appendix to the Welsh/Harris text, and to use the lettered sections therein as headings within your Papers. The Thesis Statement and Abstract identifying your proposed new program or policy is worth 60 points. Papers covering Stages 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6 are each worth 160 points. Your Stage 3 Paper is worth 200 points. All Weekly Papers are due by midnight on the assigned due dates. Papers should be prepared using MS Word, APA citation style, and submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


There will be 4 Assignments based on issues in criminal justice, or case studies in the textbook. These Assignments are due by midnight on Friday of Weeks 2, 3, 5 and 7. Assignments 1 and 3 are worth 50 points. Assignments 2 and 4 are worth 75 points. They should be should be prepared using MS Word and submitted to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course, by midnight on the assigned due dates. Full assignment details will be available in the Content area of the course. Below are topics for each Assignment:

Assignment 1: Identify a criminal justice problem from the past 10 years that has or had a responsive criminal justice policy or program instituted to address the problem. What are/ were some possible causes of the initial criminal justice problem? Identify and discuss the intervention attempted as a response to this problem. Was it successful? Why or why not?

Assignment 2: Read Case Study 1.3 beginning on page 68 in the Welsh/Harris text. Prepare a paper addressing the questions following the Case Study, on pages 80 and 81 of Welsh/Harris.

Assignment 3: Read Case Study 4.2 beginning on page 158 in the Welsh/Harris text. Answer question 2 on page 160.

Assignment 4: Read either Case Study 6.2 on page 227 or 6.3 on page 232 in the Welsh/Harris text. Prepare a paper addressing the issues raised in the question following the case study. The highest point values will go to those papers which provide a thorough analysis and utilize the concepts and evaluation techniques discussed in Chapter 6. A suitable length for this paper is 1-3 pages.

Final Paper

For your Final Paper you will draw together the stages developed in your Weekly Papers (described above) and present a cogent, well structured, well written and researched paper covering all components of your proposed criminal justice program. You will present a completed paper that identifies your chosen criminal justice problem; analyzes the problem; lists your proposed goals and specific outcome objectives; explains the design of your program or policy; provides an action plan; discusses monitoring implementation of your program or policy; and provides a scheme for analyzing the success, failure and general outcome of your program or policy. This is more than just marrying the 7 Weekly Papers together. You will need to refine and finalize, making sure that you have covered all of the steps to create a criminal justice program and have eliminated any redundancies within the sections of the draft papers. Tighten your language and make your points succinctly. Absent special arrangement with me, your papers should not exceed 35 pages exclusive of attachments. The Final Paper should be should be prepared using MS Word and submitted to the Dropbox area of the course by midnight on Saturday of Week 8.

Note: Submitting another student’s work, or submitting work completed by you previously for another course (“recycled work”) is considered to be a form of plagiarism and is not acceptable.

  Course Outline

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


Introduction, Welsh/Harris; Chapter 1 Stolz

Class Activities

Review the syllabus and welcome letter, and become familiar with learning online. Identify a criminal justice problem that you seek to address, and begin thinking about what type of a criminal justice program you will design to address that problem. This will be the thesis for your Final Paper.

Discussion 1

Introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Some examples: Why are you pursuing your MSCJ? What are your career goals? What things are important to you in your life? What hobbies do you enjoy?

Discussion 2

Provide an example of a criminal justice policy, structure or system and state whether it is implemented at a federal, state, or local level, or a combination of the three. What are the pros and cons of the policy you identified? Do not choose a topic already discussed by a fellow classmate!

Thesis Statement and Abstract Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


Chapter 1 Welsh/Harris; Chapter 2 Stolz and Stolz pp. 48-66.

Discussion 3

Listen to the audios in the course content area regarding President Obama’s stance on enforcement of marijuana laws.  His policy created a conflict between state and federal policies on marijuana possession and use. What role should the Chief Executive play in formulating and enforcing crime policies?  Should his role differ depending on whether the policy at issue is a state or federal one?

Discussion 4

Refer to the Marion article on p. 48 of the Stolz text. Do you agree with Marion’s conclusion that President Clinton’s crime policies were mere symbolic gestures that did not produce tangible results? Why or why not? Provide at least one example of a Clinton crime policy to support your position.

Assignment 1

Submit your assignment to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

Stage 1 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


Chapter 2 Welsh/Harris; Chapter 4 Stolz.

Discussion 5

This discussion forum relates to the Arizona immigration law. Read the text of the law via the links provided in this week’s Overview and Readings Content page. Provide a concise analysis of the legality of this law. Are there any Constitutional concerns with the law as written? Immigration is a Federal issue, but the Federal government doesn’t seem to be getting the job done in our Southern border states. Should the local government be able to step into the abyss created by apathetic or ineffective Federal policy? Provide some authority to support your position.

Discussion 6

What role do special interest groups play in Congressional criminal justice policy making? How do such groups seek to influence policy making at the legislative level? Is the existence of these groups and the role that they play an enhancement or a hindrance to the creation of effective, responsive criminal justice programs?

Assignment 2

Submit your assignment to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

Stage 2 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


Chapter 3, Welsh/Harris; Stolz p. 129-141.

Discussion 7

Locate a jurisdiction that uses Drug Courts. Provide some information on this initiative, either the "nuts and bolts" of its workings, or an example of a case where the Drug Court was utilized. Do you feel that the drug Court initiative has been an effective criminal justice program? Why or why not? What changes might be proposed to increase the efficacy and responsiveness of this program?

Discussion 8

In the 90's, there was a strong push across the nation to try violent juvenile offenders as adults. In the resulting years, what once was the exception has become more and more frequent. However, we are now seeing some states pulling away from this policy, in light of recent research and information. Do some research on this topic and find a case where a juvenile was tried as an adult. Provide a link to the article. What goal(s) and/or objective(s) were sought to be accomplished by this trend? Were those goals and objectives accomplished in the case you identified? Should we continue to try juveniles as adults? If so, in what circumstances? Let's discuss the pros and cons of this criminal justice policy.

Stage 3 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


Chapter 4, Welsh/Harris; Chapter 7, Stolz.

Discussion 9

Should the judicial branch have the ability to develop and implement criminal justice policy, or should that power belong solely to the executive and legislative branches? Read both the majority opinion and Justice Scalia's dissent in the US Supreme Court case of Ferguson v. City of Charleston, 532 U.S. 67 (2001), and review the material provided in the course content area for this week. In this case, did the Justices engage in judicial policy making? Did the Court overstep its bounds in essentially striking down the policy at issue?

Discussion 10

Read the articles in the course content area about California Judge Peter Espinoza, and do some of your own research on him. Judge Espinoza seems to be an "activist judge.” Is it acceptable for a member of the judiciary to de facto create policy by choosing which laws he will enforce? Should we applaud or condemn this type of judicial policy making?

Assignment 3

Submit your assignment to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

Stage 4 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.


Chapter 5, Welsh/Harris; Chapter 6, Stolz.

Discussion 11

Read the published article located at https://www.bja.gov/Publications/CJCCWhitePaperExecSummary.pdf. What was your impression of the executive summary? Do you think it offers practical suggestions, or is it more academic? Are CJCCs an effective local response to the CJ issues noted in the paper? What else would you have liked to have seen addressed in the paper?

Discussion 12

Read the articles provided in the course content area. They address a very clear state/local criminal justice gap, relating to the treatment of released sex offenders. What suggestions can you offer to redesign or adjust the sex offender policy to address the problems identified in the articles, yet continue to ensure that the policy objectives are met?

Stage 5 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

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.

Chapter 6, Welsh/Harris.

Discussion 13

Research and identify a policy outcome or program outcome that you feel was not evaluated properly by a government body. This can be a law, policy or program at any level related to criminal justice. What confounding factors impacted the evaluation? What changes would you suggest to account for these factors? If you were the decision maker, what would you have done differently with respect to evaluation?

Discussion 14

Do some research to educate yourself on Supermax prisons. What criminal justice problem do these prisons seek to address? Are such prisons an effective or a flawed response to this problem? What information would you seek in order to evaluate whether such prisons are achieving the policy objectives?

Assignment 4

Submit your assignment to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.

Stage 6 Paper

Please post your paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.



Discussion 15

Some states have implemented the use of private prisons to house convicted people in their state. Do some research on the Internet and consult the resources in the Course Content area to familiarize yourself with the public v. private prison issue. What criminal justice problem do these prisons seek to address? Is the use of private prisons ‘good policy’? Why or why not?

Discussion 16

Provide a one paragraph summary of the CJ problem that you identified as needing a responsive program or policy in Week 1 of the course. Provide a summary of the program or policy you created, and explain how it will bridge the gap or address the problem that you identified. Comment on at least 3 of your peers’ initial posts. Do you have a different approach to the problem they identified, or a suggestion on how to advance the change they instigated in their proposed policy or program?

Final Paper

Please post your completed paper to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course by Saturday Midnight on the last day of the session.

  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.


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.


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.

Other late assignments will be penalized as follows: One half letter grade penalty for late submission.  Once the submission is one week late, the penalty increases to one full grade penalty. One full grade penalty is added each week thereafter. Under special circumstances and if approved in advance by the instructor, late penalties may be waived at the instructor’s discretion.

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.