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GRADUATE COURSE OF STUDY

MA in Criminal Justice

The Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree requires a minimum of thirty-one credit hours, including the completion of a master's writing portfolio.

Curriculum objectives

Through their coursework, students develop an understanding of the complexities involved in the functioning of the criminal justice system. They learn how to conduct and evaluate applied research used by policy makers and criminal justice professionals. The close association among the SHOT Lab, DGSS and the Criminal Justice program affords students the opportunity to engage in meaningful research and gain experience working with a variety of criminal justice agencies—in law enforcement, courts, and corrections.

This training prepares students to meet the primary need faced by the criminal justice system: well-educated professionals capable of making policy decisions based on up-to-date research and theory. Students earning their MA in Criminal Justice at WSU Spokane are also well prepared to continue their studies in pursuit of a PhD.

Program requirements

  • Crm J 520: Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Crm J 522: Foundations of Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Crm J 530: Criminal Justice: Processes and Institutions
  • Crm J 540: Seminar in Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation
  • Crm J 555: Seminar in Criminological Theory
  • 6 credit minimum of courses in the area of policing, corrections, or courts
  • 6 credits from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology or from other departments (non-departmental courses must be approved by the student's committee and the Graduate Advisor)
  • Crm J 702: Master's Special Problems, Directed Study and/or Examination (4 credits minimum)

Master's candidates round out their program with electives and with the completion of a master's writing portfolio developed in cooperation with the student's committee.

Two core and two elective courses are offered each semester, rotating such that students can complete the program in one year, if they so desire. In addition to catalog courses, we offer special topics courses every year, allowing students the opportunity to explore different aspects of the criminal justice system.

PhD in Criminal Justice

Doctoral candidates build on their master's coursework, pursuing more in-depth and specialized studies in developing their dissertation. Students examine the criminal justice system, criminological theory, and methods of analysis. Students can begin their PhD studies at WSU Spokane; some courses must be completed at WSU Pullman.

For advising, contact

David Brody
Graduate Faculty Advisor, Spokane Campus
E-mail: brody@wsu.edu
Telephone: 509.358.7952

For admissions and registration information, contact
Student Affairs, WSU Spokane
E-mail: enroll@wsu.edu
Telephone: 509.358.7978

Students must be registered by the first day of class to avoid a late registration fee. Students are encouraged to apply for graduate admission as soon as possible. Acceptance to a class does not guarantee admission to a graduate program.

COURSES

To see current and upcoming course offerings, visit the WSU Schedule of Classes Web site.

Course Descriptions

Crm J 403—Violence Toward Women (3 credits). Violence toward women and its relationship to broader social issues such as sexism and social control. 

Crm J 520Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology (3 credits). The design and execution of criminal justice research; critical examination of current research methods in criminal justice.

Crm J 522—Foundations of Quantitative Methods in Criminal Justice (3 credits). Applied statistical skills, enabling understanding of substantive political and social questions.

Crm J 505—Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (3 credits). Prereq. Crm J 101. Comparative study of criminal justice systems in the U.S. and selected foreign countries. Credit not granted for both Crm J 405 and 505.

Crm J 530—Criminal Justice: Process and Institutions (3 credits). Process of criminal justice in the context of social, political, and economic environments. 

Crm J 540—Seminar in Criminal Justice Research Evaluations (3 credits). Interrelationship of ideology, data, policy development, and policy implementation in public policy analysis.

Crm J 541—Seminar in Corrections (3 credits). Current issues related to the control, management, and sanctioning of criminal offenders.

Crm J 555—Seminar in Criminological Theory (3 credits). Individual, situational and ecological correlates of criminal behavior; data sources and empirical research.

Crm J 560—Prosecution and Adjudication (3 credits). The function of courts and the behavior of prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges within the criminal justice system.

Crm J 570—The Police and Society (3 credits). Prereq. Crm J 101. Community and selected social institutional factors as related to their influence on police systems.

Crm J 572—Seminar in Comparative Policing (3 credits). Study of the history, organization, and policies of policing systems in selected countries and of transnational policing.

Crm J 580—Women and the Criminal Justice System (3 credits). Criminal justice system's treatment of women offenders, victims, and professionals.

Crm J 590—Practicum (6 credits). By interview only. Off-campus professional internship in selected criminal justice agencies. S, F grading.

Crm J 591—Seminar in the Administration of Criminal Justice (3 credits). May be repeated for credit; cumulative maximum 6 hours. Current issues, problems, and critical concerns within the field of the administration of criminal justice.

Crm J 592—Proseminar in Administration, Justice, and Applied Policy Studies (3 credits). May be repeated for credit; cumulative maximum 6 hours. Policy formation, administrative management, evaluation, research developments. 

Crm J 600—Special Projects or Independent Study (Variable credit). S, F grading.

Crm J 702—Master's Special Problems, Directed Study and/ or Examination (Variable credit). S, F grading.

Crm J 800Doctoral Research, Dissertation, and/or Examination (Variable credit). S, F grading.

Pol S 416—Policy Analysis (3 credits). Analysis of public policy formation, evaluation, and implementation.

Pol S 503—Introduction to Political Science Research Methods (3 credits). Social science research design topics including: measurement, sampling, data sources, experimental and quasi-experimental designs, field and historical designs and content analytic designs. 

Pol S 512—Seminar in American Institutions (3 credits). May be repeated for credit, cumulative maximum 6 hours. Origin, development, and contemporary issues in political organization and structure in the United States.

Pol S 514—Seminar in Public Policy (3 credits). Examination of central questions in public policy, including what is the nature of public policy, what is policy analysis, why doesn't the government intervene in society?

Pol S 516—Seminar on Law, Courts, and Judicial Politics (3 credits). Seminar on law, courts, and judicial politics.

Pol S 540—Introduction to Public Administration (3 credits). Prereq. junior or senior officially certified into degree or certificate program that requires this course. Basic theories of administrative organization, relationships, and behavior.

Pol S 542—Proseminar in Administration, Justice, and Applied Policy Studies (3 credits). Analytical perspectives and theoretical issues in administration, justice, and applied policy studies.

Pol S 543—Topics in Public Administration and Policy (3 credits). Prereq. graduate standing. Examination of the literature on the politics of the American public policy process.

GRADUATION CHECKLIST

Students need to be aware of, and plan for, the deadlines and procedures for graduate degrees when plotting their graduate school career and anticipated graduation date. There is a short but important set of actions and paperwork required by the WSU Graduate School students must complete in order to graduate. These include:

  1. Obtain an advisor/committee chairperson (this should be done as soon as possible after admission to the program)
  2. Submit a program of study to the Graduate School (this should be done no later than your second semester of graduate school)
  3. Schedule a preliminary exam (doctoral candidates only)
  4. Preliminary exam (doctoral candidates only)
  5. Submit an application for degree to the Graduate School
  6. Pay the graduation fee; doctoral students also pay a microfilm fee and optional copyright fee
  7. Submit a final exam (i.e. master's writing portfolio defense) scheduling form
  8. Conduct the final examination (i.e. master's writing portfolio defense)
  9. Submit a final thesis/dissertation to the Graduate School

Forms for the above requirements »

Example of correctly completed program of study (PDF) »


Suggested schedule

The deadlines linked above list the last day you can complete a graduation requirement for graduation in a given semester. If you are interested in completing your degree with a minimal amount of procedural stress, please adhere to the following schedule:

1. Get an advisor by the end of your first semester.

Talk to our faculty and do some research on their research interests. Identify one faculty whose research interests align with (or at least overlap) your own and ask them to be your faculty advisor/committee chairperson. It is important to ask them--don't list them without doing so. Feel free to ask them their availability to meet with you and if they will be teaching or on sabbatical the semester you intend to graduate.

2. Fill out your program of study no later than the tenth (10th) week of your second semester.

Fill out your program of study. You will need to have identified (and asked) three faculty members to be on your committee (your advisor/chair included). List all classes you have taken and will take, as well as your intended master's essay topic. This form requires signatures prior to being submitted to the Graduate School. Don't push this one to the deadline!

3. Submit your application for degree at the start of your third semester (or the semester you intend to graduate).

Submit your application for degree. You need to know your essay topic (and in fact, should be writing it at this point). This form requires signatures prior to being submitted to the Graduate School, so don't push the deadline on this one! Pay your graduation fee at this point as well.

4. Get your essay to your advisor by the end of the fourth (4th) week of your third semester (or the semester you intend to graduate).

Get your essay to your faculty advisor for review. Your essay should be in what you assume to be a final and defensible form. Your advisor will probably request revisions or offer suggestions for improvement, but do not turn in a "rough draft" copy.

5. Schedule your final exam by the end of the eighth (8th) week of your third semester (or the semester you intend to graduate).

Schedule your final exam. Your advisor should have a copy of your essay that he or she considers defensible at this point. You should provide copies of your essay to your other committee members as well. You are responsible for scheduling a date and time for your defense with your committee members. Once you have arranged a time with your committee members (aim for two hours), let Azra know and she will schedule a room for you. This form requires signatures prior to being submitted to the Graduate School; don't push the deadline with this one!

6. Conduct your defense with at least four weeks remaining in your third semester (or the semester you intend to graduate).

Conduct your final examination and, if approved, submit your essay to the Graduate School.

The above schedule assumes a three-semester graduate course of study, and does not take into account summer term schedules.

PAST PRELIMINARY EXAMINATIONS

Preliminary examinations (also known as the prelims) can be a challenging time for any PhD candidate. On this prelims archive page, we have compiled a list of questions and instructions from previous preliminary examinations for you to help you with your preparations.

Exam 1:  Core Criminal Justice Question

This eight-hour examination consists of one question with two parts. Read the entire question carefully, take your time in outlining your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice and criminology.

A critique made of American Criminal Justice, now and in the past, is that it is not really a singularly unified system at all, and that the various institutions, personnel, and policies which are perceived to comprise it often work at cross purposes rather than collectively and agreeably toward a common goal.

a.   Do you agree with this critique?  Why or why not? Be sure to provide examples of how criminal justice functions in a non-systemic way and to discuss specific theoretical and empirical research that supports your argument.

b.   Do you think a singular, unified criminal justice system would be preferable?  By what criteria do you base your opinion? What would a system of criminal justice look like? What would change from the current way we do criminal justice? And why would a system be preferable to the non-system (or semi-system) we now have in the USA? What are the advantages and what the dangers of a systemic approach to criminal justice?


Exam 2:  Criminological Theory

This examination consists of two four-hour sessions.  You should spend the morning session answering the first prompt and the afternoon session answering the second prompt. Read each prompt carefully, take your time in outlining your responses, and leave enough time to review both parts of your examination before turning it in. Your response to the prompts should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice and criminology.

Morning Session Prompt:

Discuss and evaluate two (2) theoretically grounded explanations for why either age OR social class OR gender OR race/ethnicity (pick only one characteristic and focus your response solely on that) is related to crime? Compare and contrast those explanations, and evaluate each explanation for how well it is supported by empirical research.

Afternoon Session Prompt:

Support or refute the contention that criminology is in the doldrums, that is, the claim that there has been nothing new in the field since the 1990s and Gottfredson and Hirschi’s A General Theory of Crime. Address this issue by examining what you think are the two (2) most important theoretical statements over the last 10-20 years (other than A General Theory). Are these simple extensions and elaborations of past work from the 1940s through the early 1990s, or do they truly mark new directions in the field of criminology?


Exam 3:  Specialty Area & Research Methods

This examination consists of two four-hour sessions.  You should spend the morning session answering the first question and the afternoon session answering the second question. Read each question carefully, take your time in outlining your responses, and leave enough time to review both parts of your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice and criminology.

Morning Session Question:

Pick any one area of criminal justice (police, courts, corrections, theory, victimization) and explain why understanding gender matters.

Afternoon Session Question:

Criminal justice and criminological research often relies on large-scale survey data. What are the advantages and disadvantages of survey research as compared to other research methods, particularly (1) experimental and quasi-experimental research, and (2) qualitative research? Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each methodology in establishing causal relationships.

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Exam 1: Core Criminal Justice Question

This eight-hour examination consists of two questions. Answer one of the two questions. Read the question carefully, take your time in deciding how you want to answer the question and what argument you want to make, then outline your response, and leave enough time to review your answer before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.


Answer ONLY 1 of the questions below.

  1. Can discretion be eliminated from the criminal justice system?
    a.     Be sure to discuss the reasons and justifications why discretion exists in the criminal  justice system
    b.     Should it be eliminated, if that is possible? What positive and negative consequences should be taken into account if elimination, or control of discretion, is the goal?
    c.     What would be the consequences for crime control, for justice achieved, and for the legitimation of future policy changes in criminal justice?

  2. What policies in American Criminal Justice would you change, or encourage to be enhanced if already done, to achieve an effective and appropriate balance of social control and justice. How would you change or enhance the policies you are discussing?
    a.     Be sure to base your answer on the appropriate academic literature; cover police, courts and corrections, as well as other institutional or policy areas.

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Exam 2: Specialized Area Question—Policing, Corrections, Courts, Theory

This eight-hour examination consists of four questions. Answer one question. Read the question carefully, take your time in deciding how you want to answer the question and what argument you want to make, then outline your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.


Please select and answer ONLY 1 of the following questions:

1.  Review some of the basic theoretical perspectives used to explain police officers’ decision-making. Then, make an argument for which theory is the best general explanation of police behavior (i.e., the one that best explains all types of police behavior, including stop/search decisions, arrest decisions, use of force decisions, etc.). Make sure you support your argument with empirical evidence.  Finally, address whether and how we need strengthen theory building in policing research.

2.  Somewhat frequently, criminal justice policy makers enact policies designed to limit the discretion available to courtroom actors.  Inevitably, the courtroom actors develop means to maintain their discretion despite the policy mandates. Please select from the criminal courts literature two or three examples of this phenomenon. For each item, please discuss the following:
      a.   A description of the policy;
      b.   The desired and logic behind implementing the policy;
      c.   The actions taken to get around the requirements by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys; and
      d.   The end result of the policy mandate and actions by court actors.
      e.   What can be learned from the policy and reaction thereto?


3.  Assume you have been named as the advisor to a newly elected Governor on issues related to corrections. You are asked to answer the following 2 questions:
      a.   What one program/policy (you can consider an entire policy/program area, such as incapacitation-based policy, generally or something more specific) would you recommend be eliminated, and why?
      b.   Which one would you recommend be expanded, and why?
As you defend each policy position be sure to describe issues related to the cultural/ historical context and development of each (how did each policy/program evolve, and so on), as well as the scientific evidence for and against each position you take.


4.  The movement toward theory integration in criminology has gained in momentum over the past 20 years, yet some might argue that some obvious integrations have yet to be attempted or completed. One such integration involves the social learning tradition and the social control tradition. Present each of these traditions and explore how they can be conceptually articulated with one another.

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Exam 3: Research Methods, Policy Evaluation, and Analysis Questions

This eight-hour examination consists of two questions. Answer one of the questions. Read the question carefully, take your time in deciding how you want to answer the question and what argument you want to make, then outline your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.


Please select ONLY 1 of the following two questions:


1. An RFP issued by NIJ asks for grant proposals to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of:
       a.   helmet cams on police performance in traffic stops;
       b.  the use of computerized jury lists to enhance the efficiency of jury scheduling and trials;
       c.   the use of tasers as a means to increase the safety of correctional personnel in local jails.


Select one of the three options and write a grant proposal which is likely to lead to a grant award. Develop a research design which will allow you to meet the RFP’s expectations and come up with defensible conclusions.

Describe and justify the basic research design – quasi experimental, experimental, time series, or case study. How will you determine causality?

Discuss the literature you will use or read up on to develop your design and hypotheses.
State your hypotheses and how you will attempt to falsify them.

Describe and justify the variables and indicators you will include in your data collections.
Describe and justify the data collection methodologies you will employ.

Consider the potential weaknesses in your design (what would a critic say?) and how you will deal with them.

Discuss the practical and ethical issues you will have to deal with and how you will resolve them.

State your policy recommendations if your hypotheses were to be confirmed by your research.

2.   [This is a long question so read it carefully]
This question is designed to evaluate your ability to analyze data. The following materials provide a brief description of a sample, measures and analytic plan. The tables that follow provide the results of the study analysis. To complete this question you must:

     a.     Provide a write-up of the table findings (as you might see in a journal article) and
     b.     Interpret the findings. For the interpretation it is expected that you will provide an evaluation of the study’s defined impact and describe those findings drawing on your knowledge of the field and/or program evaluation.
     c.     Finally, please provide any study limitations that may have hindered the evaluation of the program’s impact and a concluding statement which outlines potential avenues of future research.
 
METHODOLOGY

Objectives and Hypotheses

The primary research objective identified was to describe the impact of residential halfway houses programs on post-release recidivism [1]. The proposed study consists of a single study question explored and tested using a series of hypotheses. The primary study question is: do halfway house participants demonstrate a lower proportion of recidivism by comparison to individuals that do not participate? To answer this question several study hypotheses were constructed.

H1: Halfway house participants showcase lower proportions of recidivism events when compared to non-participants.

H2: The median number of days from release to recidivism event is greater for halfway house participants by comparison to non-participants.

H3: The arrest and/or conviction events committed by halfway house participants are less serious when compared to non-participants.

H4: Halfway house participants with a greater number of days accrued within a facility showcase lower proportions of recidivism events compared to those with fewer days of participation.

Halfway House Description

To facilitate the transition from prison to the community, the Department of Corrections (DOC) established a system of community-based programs utilized for inmate reintegration. These halfway houses provide a wide array of treatments and services. The purpose of the halfway house is to reintegrate eligible offenders into the community through a structured process, which includes substance abuse treatment, work release, and housing services.

Sampling Frame

To test study hypotheses a quasi-experimental design was constructed to compare halfway house participants to a matched group of comparison subjects. A purposive sample was gathered. Two primary eligibility criteria were used for study inclusion. First, all subjects were incarcerated in prison prior to their release from DOC custody. Second, all subjects were released from prison during 2009. This criterion allows all subjects to have a minimum of three years to be tracked on key study outcomes. Subjects were then divided into two study groups a) all halfway house subjects and b) a pool of potential comparison subjects consisting of individuals released from DOC custody during the sample time frame that did not participate in a halfway house following incarceration.

Measures

Three categories of study measures were used:  pre-release characteristics, halfway house indicators, and study outcomes.

Pre-Release Characteristics

Pre-release characteristics are those measures gathered prior to subjects’ release from prison, and were used to select the comparison group, and to provide sample descriptives. A total of 14 pre-release characteristics were gathered for study subjects. “Age” was indicated in years at the day of prison release. Subject “Race” was collapsed into four categories – White, Black, Hispanic, and Other. The measure “Male” was a dichotomous item indicating subjects’ gender. Educational attainment was dichotomized to identify if subjects possessed a GED or high school diploma. Subjects’ “Age of First Arrest” and “Number of Prior Arrests” were continuous measures, indicating the first and all other arrests recorded for each subject prior to the study incarceration. “Number of Failed Parole Attempts” and “Number of Prior Incarcerations” were continuous measures and represent counts of each event’s occurrence prior to the study incarceration. “Rank of Most Serious (MOS) Instant Offense” is an ordinal measure of the offense that leads to the study incarceration, ranges from 1 to 700 based on the State ranking offenses (lower values indicating more serious offenses). Instant offense represent the most serious of all offenses sentenced for the subject and were then categorized into five types – Violent, Property, Drug, Weapon, and Other. “DOC Term Instant Offense” is an aggregate count of months served on all sentencing terms (in months) as of original admission for the study incarceration. Subjects’ scores on the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) were used to identify risk of recidivism following release. The measure is continuous and ranges from zero to 50 (lower scores indicating lower risk). The measure “paroled” was constructed from DOC discharge reasons, collapsed into two categories – paroled and max out (i.e. completed their sentence while under DOC custody).

Halfway House Indicators


Halfway House indicators were utilized as the independent variables to test study hypotheses. For Hypotheses 1-3, a dichotomous measure was created indicating if a subject had (coded 1), or had not (coded 0), participated in a halfway house facility immediately following their release from prison.

Study Outcomes

Several outcome measures were constructed to serve as dependent variables for study hypotheses. Five dichotomous event measures were utilized to examine RCRP impact, measuring if a subject was rearrested, reconvicted, reincarcerated for a new offense (new commitment), returned to prison as a result of a parole technical violation (revocation), and a general measure of “any prison return” (including new commitments, revocations, and other returns to prison) following their release from DOC custody. The ordinal measure of seriousness of offense was also used for recidivism outcomes and ranges from 1 to 700 (again, lower values indicating more serious offenses). Time-to-event measures were also computed for each outcome, identifying the number of days from DOC custody release to a given event. If an outcome event does not occur during the subject’s follow-up period, the individual was right censored and the days of their follow-up period were entered as the censored time interval.

Analytic Strategy

To create a suitable comparison group, propensity score modeling (PSM) was used to match each halfway house participant with an individual from the pool of potential study subjects. A stratified propensity score modeling routine was completed for the evaluation dataset provided. A total of 30,000 cases were eligible for study inclusion, of which 4,000 were halfway house participants. A 1-to-1 matching procedure was used. A total of 14 pre-release measures were used to create the propensity score models. Following the match the selected comparison subjects were compared to the halfway house participants on study outcomes - cross-tabulations and chi-square test of significance were used for dichotomous outcomes (Tables 2 and 4), log rank statistics (Table 3) were used to compare groups on time-to-event outcomes. Finally the impact of “days spent in halfway house” was examined with binary logistic regression models (Table 5), where comparison subjects all recorded zero days of service.  Findings are presented in the tables below.

RESULTS

Table 1.           Propensity Score Matching Descriptives (N=34,616)

 

 

Before PSM

 

 

After PSM

 

Measure (Range)

n

Comparison

%/M (SE)

Halfway House

%/M (SE)

n

Comparison

%/M (SE)

Halfway House

%/M (SE)

 

30,000

86.6

13.4

8,000

50.0

50.0

Age

30,000

34.1(0.1)

36.7(0.1)***

8,000

36.5(0.2)

36.7(0.1)

Race                                      

30,000

 

***

8,000

 

 

White

 

24.7

16.5

 

17.1

16.5

Black

 

55.8

68.0

 

66.8

68.0

Hispanic

 

18.8

15.1

 

15.8

15.1

Other

 

0.6

0.4

 

0.3

0.4

Male

30,000

92.8

90.0***

8,000

89.5

90.0

GED or High School

22,195 

58.1

58.3

6,500

58.1

58.3

Age of First Arrest

30,000

23.3(0.0)

23.0(0.1)*

8,000

23.3(0.1)

23.0(0.1)

Number of Prior Arrests

26,904

7.8(0.0)

10.8(0.1)***

7,078

10.1(0.1)

10.8(0.1)**

Number of (Failed) Parole Attempts

30,000

0.4(0.0)

0.4(0.0)

8,000

0.4(0.0)

0.4(0.0)

Number of Prior Incarcerations

30,000

1.2(0.0)

1.4(0.0)***

8,000

1.4(0.0)

1.4(0.0)

Rank of MOS Instant Offense    (10-700)

30,000

295.9(0.9)

315.4(2.1)***

8,000

324.0(2.0)

315.4(2.1)**

Instant Offense

28,502

 

***

7,101

 

**

Violent

 

27.0

18.9

 

15.9

18.9

Property

 

19.5

18.1

 

18.5

18.1

Drug

 

41.3

53.2

 

55.7

53.2

Weapon

 

4.1

3.9

 

4.2

3.9

Other

 

8.1

6.0

 

5.8

6.0

DOC Term Instant Offense (months)

28,502

59.3(0.4)

67.9(1.0)***

7,101

62.4(1.3)

67.9(1.0)**

LSI-R Total Score (0-50)

22,285

24.1(0.1)

25.0(0.1)***

5,920

24.6(0.1)

25.0(0.1)*

DOC Discharge Reason – Paroled3

30,000

55.3

66.1***

8,000

65.3

66.1

3 All cases not paroled were identified as “max outs” either at the conclusion of their term of incarceration or their halfway house placement.
          † p<.1   *=""><.05   **=""><.01   ***=""><.001>

 


Table 2.           Yearly Outcome Event Comparisons by Study Group (N=8,000)

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Outcome

Comparison %

Halfway House %

Comparison %

Halfway House %

Comparison %

Halfway House %

Rearrested

40.1

35.1**

48.1

48.2

56.4

59.4†

Reconvicted

15.1

10.4**

27.0

22.0**

49.8

38.6*

Reincarcerated

2.5

1.9

9.6

6.4*

23.0

10.8*

Revoked

18.7

12.2***

25.6

17.0***

36.5

18.8***

Any Prison Return

22.5

15.5***

45.6

34.3***

52.4

30.9***

† p<.1   *=""><.05   **=""><.01   ***=""><.001>

Table 3.           Days-to- Event Comparisons by Study Group (N=8,000)

Outcome

Comparison – M(SE)/%

Halfway House - M(SE)/%

Days-to-Rearrest

723.9(6.7)

725.9(6.5)

Days-to-Reconvicted

952.0(7.9)

991.5(7.7)**

Days-to-Reincarcerated

1000.2(3.7)

1035.3(3.2)***

Days-to-Revoked

1010.2(3.7)

1034.2(3.2)***

Days-to-Any Return

910.5(5.4)

952.5(4.8)***

† p<.1   *=""><.05   **=""><.01   ***=""><.001>

Table 4.           Seriousness of Reoffending Event Comparisons by Study Group (N=8,000)

 

Rank of Reoffending

Outcome

Comparison – M(SE)

Halfway House – M(SE)

Rearrested

339.6(2.9)

322.8(2.9)*

Reconvicted

383.2(3.7)

381.7(3.7)

Reincarcerated

326.8(3.2)

315.7(3.6)†

† p<.1   *=""><.05   **=""><.01   ***=""><.001>

Table 5.           Outcome Event Comparisons by Days Spent in Halfway House (Including Comparison Subjects) (N=8,000)

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Outcome

Wald

Odds Ratio

Wald

Odds Ratio

Wald

Odds Ratio

Rearrested

3.6†

.997

2.2

.997

2.2

1.006

Reconvicted

1.6

.997

0.0

1.000

1.2

.995

Reincarcerated

1.9

.991

2.3

.992

3.9†

.907

Revoked

7.4**

.721

17.4***

.667

1.0

.994

Any Prison Return

18.3***

.775

43.2***

.698

11.2**

.842

† p<.1   *=""><.05   **=""><.01   ***=""><>
 
Write up your answer from here

Findings as shown in the tables…

Discussion…

Limitations…

Conclusion…

[1] The study broadly defines recidivistic events to include: rearrests, reconvictions, reincarcerations for new commitments to prison, returns to prisons for revocations of parole technical violations, and a general category of “any return to prison”.


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Exam 1: Core Criminal Justice Question

This eight-hour examination consists of one question. Read the question carefully, take your time in outlining your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.
Please answer the following question:
In the last several decades the criminal justice system (CJS) has adapted to a very punitive era in which multiple factors lead to a significant increase in the number of offenders processed through the system by police, courts, and corrections. Most recently the economic recession has forced many to pause and reconsider how we utilize the CJS within each of its components and across the system in its entirety. For the first time in many years policy makers are reconsidering the status quo.
Question: Based on what you know about the criminal justice system, what recommendations would you make to effect positive change in the system? Whatever you chose to argue be sure to utilize the literature to support your ideas.

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Exam 2: Specialized Area Question—Policing, Corrections, Courts, Theory

This eight-hour examination consists of one question. Read the question carefully, take your time in outlining your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.


Please select and answer ONLY 1 of the following questions:


1.     Policing

Discuss the role of the police in America and how it has evolved over time, with a specific focus on the current police role. Then, discuss how and why the police role will either expand or contract in the future given some of the significant emerging issues in policing.

2.     Corrections

Corrections agencies have attempted to improve correctional practice since the mid-1970’s, owing in large part to the controversial Martinson Report. Provide two examples of these reform efforts, one from institutional corrections practice and one from community corrections practice.  What are the pros and cons to these reforms?

3.     Courts

Policy makers and legislatures routinely enact policies designed to limit the discretion available to courtroom actors.  Quite often, the courtroom actors develop means to maintain their discretion and circumvent these policy mandates. Your answer should be based on the academic literature and knowledge obtained from seminars.
Please select from the criminal courts literature one example of this phenomenon, and discuss the following:

a)    A description of the policy and the behavior, actions, or outcomes the policy seeks to alter;
b)    The desired results the policy makers wish to obtain from the policy;
c)     The logic behind implementing the policy;
d)    The academic literature and research broadly related to the policy (good and bad)
e)    The actions taken by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to get around the requirements espoused by the policy;
f)     The end result of the policy mandate and responses made by court actors.
g)    What might future policy makers learn from the outcome you just discussed?  In other words, how could they tweak the policy to increase the likelihood it will achieve the desired outcome. 

4.     Criminological Theory

Support or refute the contention that criminology is in the doldrums, that is, the claim that there has been nothing new in the field since the 1990s and Gottfredson and Hirschi’s A General Theory of Crime. Address this issue by examining what you think are the most important theoretical statements and research projects over the last 10-20 years (other than A General Theory).  Are these simple extensions and elaborations of past work from the 1940s through the early 1990s, or do they mark new directions in the field of criminology?  Conclude by arguing where you think the future of criminological theory lies?

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Exam 3: Research Methods Questions

This eight-hour examination consists of one question. Read the question carefully, take your time in outlining your response, and leave enough time to review your examination before turning it in. Your response to the question posed should reflect your familiarity with the relevant literature in criminal justice.
Please select ONLY 1 of the following questions:

Question 1:

This question is designed to evaluate your ability to analyze data. The following materials provide a brief description of a sample, measures and analytic plan. The tables that follow provide the results of the study analysis. To complete this question you must:

  1. Provide a write-up of the table findings (as you might see in a journal article) and
  2. Interpret the findings. For the interpretation it is expected that you will provide an evaluation of the study’s defined impact and describe those findings drawing on your knowledge of the field and/or program evaluation.
  3. Finally, please provide any study limitations that may have hindered the evaluation of the program’s impact and a concluding statement which outlines potential avenues of future research.

 
METHODOLOGY

Sampling Frame

The study makes use of a quasi-experimental design comparing Parole Reentry Court[2] participants with a sample of parolees released onto traditional parole supervision during the same time period (November, 2002 – February, 2008). All Reentry Court participants enrolled within the study time frame were utilized. The pool of potential comparison subjects was selected based on the mirrored eligibility of Reentry Court participants, which were/are: (a) an exclusion of offenders with a diagnosed Axis I metal disorder and those with a known history of sex or arson offenses, (b) served their parole supervision in the geographic area, and (c) the arrest that resulted in their incarceration must have occurred in that same geographic area.

Measures

All data for the analysis were provided by the Department of Corrections, representing a secondary data collection methodology. Data provided included basic demographics, criminal history, arrests, convictions, and prison movement measures. Baseline characteristics for both reentry court and comparison subjects included: age, sex, race/ethnicity, born in U.S., current conviction charge, prior parole term, total prior arrests, total prior convictions, months in custody, months of maximum and minimum term of incarceration. Race/ethnicity was recoded as white, black or Hispanic. Born in U.S. is a dichotomous measure indicating whether the United States is the subject’s nation of origin. Prior parole term refers to whether or not the parolee had and was revoked on a previous term of parole that is not the current study term examined. Current offense refers to the conviction types relating to the current term of incarceration broken down by offense category – drug, violent, weapons-related, and other. Total prior arrest and convictions were broken down further to include number of misdemeanor, felony, drug and violent felony arrests and convictions. Months in custody refers to the length of the term in prison served for the current offense, while maximum and minimum term refer to the sentence length assigned.
Recidivism outcome measures included rearrests, reconvictions, and parole revocation. Rearrests and reconvictions are further broken down by offense type (misdemeanor, felony or drug offense). Revocations are also broken down by subtype – New Convictions or Technical Violations. Various dimensions of program impact are explored.

Analytic Plan

The study defines program impact as a lower rate of recidivism - rearrests, reconvictions and parole revocations - among reentry court participants compared to the matched sample of traditional parolees. Several analyses were conducted to examine the court’s impact. Bivariate group comparisons of all recidivism measures were examined at one- and two-years following release. Group means with regard to days to rearrests and revocations were also examined. Multiple logistic regression models were also computed, examining predictors of rearrests, reconvictions and revocations.

Results

 START YOUR ANSWER HERE
 
Table 1. Characteristics of Study Groups (N=951)

  1.  
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Reentry Court Group
  1. Comparison Candidates
  1. Item
  1. (n=317)
  1. (n=634)
  1. Demographics
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Mean Age
  1. 31
  1. 32
  1. Male
  1. 99%
  1. 90%***
  1. Race/Ethnicity
  1.  
  1.  
  1.   Black
  1. 68%
  1. 60%*
  1.   Hispanic
  1. 30%
  1. 33%
  1.   White
  1. 2%
  1. 6%***
  1.   Other
  1. <>
  1. 1%
  1. Born U.S
  1. 89%
  1. 75%+
  1. Current Offense
  1.  
  1.  
  1.   Drug
  1. 69%
  1. 56%***
  1.   Violent
  1. 12%
  1. 24%***
  1.   Weapons
  1. 1%
  1. 3%
  1.   Other
  1. 18%
  1. 16%
  1. Criminal History
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Mean Total Prior Arrests
  1. 15
  1. 14
  1.   Mean Misdemeanor Arrests
  1. 7
  1. 7
  1.   Mean Felony Arrests
  1. 8
  1. 7
  1.   Mean Drug Arrests
  1. 7
  1. 6*
  1.   Mean Violent Felony Arrests
  1. 2
  1. 2
  1. Prior Parole Term
  1. 33%
  1. 21%***
  1. Mean Total Prior Convictions
  1. 11
  1. 10
  1.   Mean Misdemeanor Convictions
  1. 5
  1. 6*
  1.   Mean Felony Convictions
  1. 4
  1. 3*
  1.   Mean Drug Convictions
  1. 5
  1. 3*
  1.   Mean Violent Felony Convictions
  1. 1
  1. 1
  1. Mean Months in Custody
  1. 35
  1. 38
  1. Mean Months Prison Minimum
  1. 35
  1. 37*
  1. Mean Months Prison Maximum
  1. 85
  1. 109***

 * p<.05  **=""><.01  ***=""><>

Table 2. Recidivism Outcomes by Group (N=951)

  1. Outcome
  1. Reentry Court Group
  1. Comparison Group
  1. One-Year Outcomes
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Rearrested
  1. 40%
  1. 44%
  1.   Misdemeanor
  1. 25%
  1. 30%
  1.   Felony
  1. 21%
  1. 21%
  1.   Drug
  1. 22%
  1. 25%
  1.   Non-Drug
  1. 24%
  1. 25%
  1. Reconvicted
  1. 28%
  1. 34%*
  1.   Misdemeanor
  1. 23%
  1. 28%
  1.   Felony
  1. 6%
  1. 10%
  1. Total Revoked
  1. 27%
  1. 21%
  1.   Technical Violations
  1. 15%
  1. 8%**
  1.   New Convictions
  1. 11%
  1. 13%
  1. Two-Year Outcomes
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Rearrested
  1. 58%
  1. 62%
  1.   Misdemeanor
  1. 42%
  1. 46%
  1.   Felony
  1. 36%
  1. 36%
  1.   Drug
  1. 34%
  1. 40%
  1.   Non-Drug
  1. 38%
  1. 40%
  1. Reconvicted
  1. 44%
  1. 51%*
  1.   Misdemeanor
  1. 35%
  1. 42%*
  1.   Felony
  1. 16%
  1. 15%
  1. Total Revoked
  1. 45%
  1. 31%***
  1.   Technical Violations
  1. 17%
  1. 8%***
  1.   New Convictions
  1. 28%
  1. 24%
  1. Days from Release to Recidivism
  1.  
  1.  
  1. Mean Days to Rearrest
  1. 348
  1. 309
  1. Mean Days to Revocation
  1. 335
  1. 354

 *p <.05><.01><>
 
Table 3. Three Binary Logistic Regressions Models for Arrest, Conviction and Revocation Two Years Following Release from Incarceration (N=951)

 

Arrest

Conviction

Revocation

 

χ2

R2^

χ2

R2^

χ2

R2^

Model Fit

62.586***

0.112

74.506

0.129

1112.338

0.195

Covariates

Wald

Odds Ratio

Wald

Odds Ratio

Wald

Odds Ratio

Age

14.191***

0.961

5.676*

0.976

2.953

0.981

Male

.222

1.145

0.067

1.075

5.707*

2.199

Race/Ethnicity

1.206

--

0.914

--

4.094

--

  Black (ref)

--

--

--

--

--

--

  White

.058

1.174

.273

1.405

0.158

0.744

  Hispanic

1.097

0.811

.569

0.862

4.027*

0.644

US Born

0.015

0.963

1.142

0.732

1.427

0.673

Current Drug Offense

4.466*

0.623

6.541*

0.577

0.548

0.846

Current Violent Offense

1.265

0.722

1.043

0.746

2.461

0.611

Number of Prior Arrest

11.181***

1.031

13.164***

1.032

13.653***

1.032

Prior Drug Arrest

8.859**

2.610

12.939***

2.621

0.023

1.044

Prior Violent Felony Arrest

3.039

0.732

1.888

0.787

5.249*

0.654

Prior Parole Term

15.358***

1.990

20.589***

2.123

47.715***

3.306

Year of Release

0.825

1.068

0.103

1.023

6.779**

0.820

Reentry Court Participant

2.535

0.761

5.329*

.677

9.566**

1.733

^ This model R2 is the Nagelkerke for logistic regression models
 *p <.05><.01><>
 
Findings…
 
Discussion…
 
Limitations…
 
Conclusion…

Question 2:

Victims of crime often have a range of needs stemming from their crime victimization. Currently, some or all of those needs may be met through a disparate patchwork of resources in the victim’s community, or there may be no services available. A coordinated, collaborative, and holistic response could potentially serve those victims far better. Prior findings have suggested that victim services such as: legal assistance, treatment programs, and financial support are just a few possible methods to assist crime victims. 

To complete this question you can take one of two approaches:

1. Using agency records/secondary data sources examine how victim services prevent negative outcomes

OR

2. Design a program that provides victim services and the corresponding methods of analysis to evaluate the program’s impact.

Consider the following:

- Research questions and/or hypotheses
- Research design
- Research setting
- Sample(s)
- Measures and operational definitions
- Potential methods of analyses
 
Be sure to justify the choices you make in the design of the research, the selection of methodologies to gather information, and analytical techniques to assess impacts. 

[2] A Reentry Court is similar to a Drug Court in operation. However, this specialize court serves parolees, where instead of a one-on-one office visit with a parole officer, by-weekly meetings are held in formal court with a presiding judge, parole officer and case manager (i.e. social worker).

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Exam: Collaboration and Criminal Justice Policy

Most federal and state funding sources now require that new criminal justice programs focus on developing partnerships or collaborations with other agencies/institutions to improve offender related outcomes. Other disciplines, such as public administration, public health, social welfare, and education, have studied the effectiveness of such approaches. Although criminal justice seems to be embracing a model of interagency collaboration and partnerships, few, if any, have questioned or studied this approach.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of pursuing interagency collaborations and/or partnerships in criminal justice?

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Exam: Corrections

Historically, the rehabilitation of offenders has been post conviction and the responsibility of corrections professionals who supervise offenders during incarceration or during probation/parole. The advent of drug courts has shifted the responsibility for rehabilitation to a process that is driven by the courts instead of corrections.

How does the broader corrections literature help to inform the debate about the inherent strengths and weaknesses of shifting the responsibility of rehabilitation to the courts pre-conviction (or post conviction pre-sentencing) versus remaining post conviction and the responsibility of corrections professionals to impose the sentence?

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Exam: General Corrections

Please answer both questions (divide your time equally):

1. Why is correctional confinement used as a response to criminal behavior? What are the benefits and drawbacks to this approach for offenders, correctional institutions, and the society at large?

2. Academics have been using the scientific method to study criminal behavior since the early twentieth century. Describe the ways in which the scientific study of criminal behavior has affected institutional policy reforms to curtail criminal behavior in the United States. Are social scientists effective in influencing policy regarding the treatment of offenders?

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Exam: Corrections

Answer This Question:

President-elect Obama recently stated that he does not want smaller or larger government, but government that focuses on programs/policies that work. He also stated that he would work to eliminate programs that do not work. If you were advising the President-elect on issues related to the American correctional system, what one program/policy (you can consider an entire policy/program area, such as incapacitation-based policy, generally or something more specific) would you recommend he eliminate, and why? Which one would you recommend that he try to expand, and why? As you defend each policy position be sure to describe issues related to the cultural/historical context of each (how did each policy/program evolve, and so on), as well as the scientific evidence for or against each position you take.


Answer Any Two of the Following:

1) Assume you are preparing a Presidential Address to the upcoming annual meetings of the
American Society of Criminology. The title of your presentation is: "What to do and not do about crime: the Martinson Report in 2005." Provide a full draft of your presentation in which you discuss the current state of our knowledge about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of correctional rehabilitation programs. Provide recommendations for what should and should not be done in rehabilitation and defend your position.

2) Trace the development of community-based correctional programs in America, from the earliest forms of probation and parole to more modem, innovative programs, such as drug courts, intensive supervision probation/parole, halfway houses, day reporting centers, electronic monitoring, and so on. Be sure to include discussion of the various factors that motivated the expanded use of these types of alternative sanctions in the last 20 years. What do we know about the relative effectiveness of these types of programs and how do they compare to the effectiveness of institutional corrections? Have these intermediate sanctions delivered on all of their promises (their stated and implicit goals), and why or why not?

3) From a corrections perspective, describe both the demand-side and supply-side strategy for combating drug use and abuse. Which drug policy strategy has been most popular for the past 20 years and why? Correctional "supply-siders" (e.g., proponents of incarcerating drug offenders) have contended that their approach is superior to demand strategies for combating drug use because treatment for drug abuse and addiction is largely ineffective. Argue either for or against this statement using empirical research.

4) Since Wolfgang's landmark study, the career criminal research has consistently shown that there is a group of high-rate offenders, the "career criminals." It has been argued that the prospective identification (i.e., risk prediction) of these high-rate offenders would provide policy makers with a powerful crime prevention tool. Based on your assessment of the relevant literature, discuss whether or not we should be optimistic about our ability to provide policy makers with this type of tool.

5) The official policy position of the American Society of Criminology with respect to the death penalty (adopted in November 1989) states that, in part, “... social science research has demonstrated the death penalty to be racist in application and social science research has found no consistent evidence of crime deterrence through execution ... " Provide a thorough discussion of the empirical literature that focuses on the research either that supports OR refutes these statements regarding either 1) racial disparity in the application of the death penalty, OR 2) the issue of crime deterrence through execution. Your discussion should include an overview of the methods and results of both historical and contemporary research.

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Exam: Corrections


Pick a significant problem facing corrections. Imagine how the corrections system specifically, or the criminal justice system more broadly, may be effective in addressing this problem.

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Exam: Courts

Somewhat frequently, criminal justice policy makers enact policies designed to limit the discretion available to courtroom actors. Inevitably, the courtroom actors develop means to maintain their discretion despite the policy mandates. Please select from the criminal courts literature two or three examples of this phenomenon. For each item, please discuss the following:

a) A description of the policy;
b) The desired and logic behind implementing the policy;
c) The actions taken to get around the requirements by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys; and
d) The end result of the policy mandate and actions by court actors.
e) What can be learned from the policy and reaction thereto?

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Exam: The Criminal Court System


Instructions: This EIGHT-HOUR examination consists of one question, featuring three equally weighted sections. Your answer to the question should demonstrate a strong familiarity with the major issues and topics contained in the pertinent literature in each area of the examination.

Over the last thirty-five years a number of reform efforts have been undertaken in the area of the criminal courts with different levels of success both in implementation and outcome. Of note are efforts to enact reforms in the following three areas:

1. Limitations on the use of plea bargaining.
2. Charging decisions made by prosecutors' offices in sexual assault/rape cases.
3. Improving the "performance" of the jury system

Using your expansive knowledge of the criminal courts literature, for each of the three areas please discuss the following questions:

A. What types of reform efforts were implemented in each area?
B. What were the reforms designed to accomplish and how was this to be achieved?
C. Whether or not the reforms were successful and why?
D. Was the success or failure of the reforms surprising or predictable and why?
 
Feel free to discuss as many specific reform programs for each of the three areas as you deem necessary to fully answer the questions posed above.
 
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Exam: General
 
What policies in American Criminal Justice would you change, or encourage to be enhanced if already done, to achieve the appropriate balance of effectiveness and justice.
 
Be sure to cover all/most policy domains and institutions of criminal justice.
 
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Exam; General

Part I

In the Criminal Justice academic discipline there have been many rival attempts to provide "paradigmatic perspectives" on this discipline in the process of formation. Please list at least FIVE of these perspectives, describe their essential elements, and indicate their strengths and weaknesses.
 
Part II

Having reflected on these perspectives, how would you characterize your own understanding of the Criminal Justice discipline? What type of relationship do you see existing between theory and practice in this discipline? What type of career goals are you striving toward that reflect your views of these questions?
 
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Exam: General

Be sure to answer all three parts of the question. Take your time. Think out the outline of what you want to say and then write it out fully. Also be sure to sprinkle in relevant names and authors into your argument.
 
A critique made of American Criminal Justice, now and in the past, is that it is not a system, that the various institutions, personnel and policies often work at cross purposes rather than collectively and agreeably toward a common goal.
 
a. Do you agree with this critique, and why? Be sure to refer to specific examples of how criminal justice functions in a non-systemic way.
 
b. (Let us assume, let it be deemed, that you agree that there is no criminal justice system.) What would a system of criminal justice look like? What would change from the current way of doing criminal justice? And why would a system be preferable to the non-system (or semi-system) we now have in the USA? What are the advantages and what the dangers of a systemic approach to criminal justice?
 
c. If you want to argue that a system would be preferable, how could this system be achieved? What are the obstacles to success and how can those obstacles by overcome?

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Exam: General

Take your time, think it over, and then write an excellent answer.
 
What should a theory of criminal justice be about? Sketch out a/your theory which answers the question.
 
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Exam: General

 
Discuss the major policy changes that have occurred in criminal justice over the last century.
Drawing upon literature from various components in the criminal justice system, your answer should include a discussion of: (1) the major "eras" (or movements) in criminal justice policy, (2) the causes of policy changes in criminal justice (i.e., why did we switch ways of doing criminal justice from era to era), and (3) a critical discussion of whether these policy changes were, in fact, substantively meaningful or were instead merely surface changes that masked a stable criminal justice system over time.
 
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Exam: General


Answer both questions. They count 50% each so spend about the same time answering each. Be sure to refer to major ideas and scholars in your answer to indicate your mastery of the material and of the field of criminal justice.
 
Before starting to write, take some time to think through what the questions ask you to do, and be sure to outline the argument you wish to make before you start writing.
 
1. There is some disagreement among scholars about how and why criminal justice policies have changed over time in the USA. Some would argue that policies and policy changes reflect the impact of ideas, values and ideologies as these gain dominance in the thinking of the public and policy makers; while other scholars would argue that policy developments respond to changes in the objective and material conditions of American society (e.g., levels of crime, economic changes, or the mobility of population groups).
 
How would you balance out, reconcile or prioritize these conflicting notions about what has mattered - what have been the important factors - in shaping the course of criminal justice policies.

Be sure to use examples of policies and policy shifts to support your argument. Be sure to tell us what you would consider to be the important ideational and material factors you include in your discussion and whose names are linked to particular arguments.
 
2. Discrimination in designing and implementing policies in the criminal justice field, from definitions of crime, the work of the police and courts, to correctional practices is offensive to core values of American justice. Nonetheless, discrimination does exist in various forms and in decision-making practices in various criminal justice agencies.
 
A. Discuss various forms of discrimination which have been experienced by ethnic minority groups in the USA, and why such discrimination (assuming you agree it has happened and does happen) exists;
 
B. Have Native Americans experienced greater or lesser or similar patterns of discrimination than other ethnic minorities; and why.
 
Be sure to get specific in your discussion and to refer to the existing literature on this topic.
 
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Exam: Theory

One natural characteristic of our field is that theories about crime causation go in and out of favor over time. Identify one such theory that has drifted in and out of favor. Explain the theory and its relative influence on early work and later work using empirical evidence from the literature. In particular, explain why you believe this theory has become more or less favorable, and speculate about where it will go from this point forward.
 
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Exam: Theory


Part I - Required Question
 
In 2003, John Laub's ASC Presidential Address used the life course framework to trace the development of criminology as a discipline. Using the same philosophy, identify the five most important turning points in the development of criminological theory. For each, describe why it may be seen as a turning point and the impact it had on the future of criminological theory.
 
Part II - Select One
 
Choose one of the following questions to answer.
 
• Scholars are predicting that crime rates will increase in the next decade, partly as a result of an increasing number of teenagers in the population and partly due to the changing economy. What is the theoretical rationale for these positions? (You may use a different theory for each.) Be sure to discuss how the theory might explain changing crime rates specific to the positions above and include a discussion of any relevant empirical evidence that would support these suggestions.
 
• The concept of "control" has been used in a variety of ways in many different theories.
Examine how various theories from different traditions have used this concept in similar or contrasting ways. How would you respond to the statement that all theories are essentially control theories?
 
• According to President-elect Obama's website, part of his plan for crime policy will: "provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama and Biden will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates." Address these suggestions from a theoretical perspective (i.e., what would criminological theories say either in support of or opposition to these strategies) and provide some assessment of the potential success of these strategies.
 
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Exam: Theory


There are numerous criteria that might be applied when assessing various theoretical perspectives. One such criterion is conceptual clarity. Select two theoretical perspectives in criminology/criminal justice that, in your judgment, fall at opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to this criterion. More specifically, select one theoretical perspective that you feel is characterized by relatively clear concepts, and one that is characterized by relatively vague concepts. Be sure to describe/discuss each of these perspectives in detail and to identify the key concepts associated with each. Further, make certain to explain the basis of your judgment concerning the clarity or vagueness of these concepts. Finally, present a discussion of the ways in which conceptual clarity has advanced the development and empirical testing of one of these theoretical perspectives, and conceptual ambiguity has hindered the development and empirical testing of the other perspective.
 
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Exam: Gender, Justice and Politics


What does it mean to refer to a criminal justice agency as a "gendered institution?" How does gender influence policy development and the potential for unintended outcomes for offenders or victims? Feel free to include race/ethnicity and class in your analysis. Be sure to cite the evidence in which you base your answer.
 
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Exam: Gender and Justice


While at the last ACJS conference a conversation arose around a new report that would soon be released about women inmates and their children. The study's findings suggest that women in prison were not the best mothers before prison and would probably have lost their children to the state or to other family members regardless of their incarceration. The concern was that this report would be detrimental to women offenders and to the argument that has been traditionally made that women should not be incarcerated due to their position as the primary care givers to their children. Given your expertise in feminist theory, gender studies, and criminal justice, how would you respond to the findings of this report? How would you advise policy makers to use these findings?
 
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Exam: Quantitative Methods

Answer both of the following questions:
 
1. Discuss the relative appropriateness of various multivariate modeling strategies when certain assumptions OLS regression are violated (e.g., when dealing with non-random samples such as stratified samples or other "nested" sampling approaches where observations may not be independent, and when the values of the dependent variable aren't normally distributed). Your answer should address: (1) any other form of the General Linear Model (GLM) that you wish to discuss (e.g., mixed models, hierarchical models, or others) in the context of biases in parameter estimation (slope estimates) and variance estimation (standard errors) when such assumptions of OLS regression are violated, and (2) the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various alternative statistical techniques you specified.
 
2. Discuss the primary debates surrounding the technique of meta-analysis. Your answer should address: (1) the key strengths and weaknesses of meta-analysis, (2) what you see as the most fundamental debate in the meta-analysis literature (and what is the nature of the debate?), and (3) where (and why) you fall with regard to that debate.
 
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Exam: Quantitative Methods


Discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of techniques used to analyze data measured repeatedly over time. Your answer should address: (l) the key assumptions being made by such techniques, (2) the kinds of research questions (and methods of estimation) where such approaches would be most appropriate (i.e., those situations where the assumptions of the techniques are most likely to be met), (3) the assumptions of these techniques that are most likely to be violated in criminological research, and (4) how you would approach a research situation where those assumptions have been violated (i.e., knowing that the assumptions are violated, what would you do about it?).
 
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Exam: Quantitative Methods


Answer each of the following. Cite supporting literature where relevant.
 
A.) In asking why null results are often unpublished, one can identify three different explanations:
 
--The "economics" argument: There are not enough journal pages to devote to null results, and starting new journals is costly.
--The "information overload" argument: Researchers have so many papers to read now that adding more papers to the body of work is unreasonable.
--The "egotism" argument: Demonstrating in print that a person's theory is untenable is disrespectful to that person. The failure to see follow-up papers published makes the same point in a more respectful manner.
 
Thinking of the papers you have read on publication bias, which of these explanations seems most reasonable to you? Do you see publication bias as a problem to overcome, or a problem that can be absorbed by meta-analytic techniques? Explain each of your answers.
 
B.) You have learned a number of techniques for dealing with missing data. Select two that you consider most promising, explain the logic of each in detail, and discuss why you think the technique is useful.
 
C.) Many people apply fixed-effects meta-analysis to truly random-effects situations. Is this a problem? If so, why, and what can be done about it? If not, why not?
 
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Exam: Policing


Discuss the five most important areas of policing which we know little about, why these areas and issues are important, and what could be done and how to fill in the gaps in our understanding.
 
Of course, to get to the discussion of the five most neglected policing areas, it would be useful to have an overview of what the literature on policing thinks is already pretty well known.
 
To simplify the question: what in policing do we still need to know more about, and why?
 
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Exam: Policing

Answer both questions: Question 1 counts for 60% and Question 2 for 40% of the overall evaluation of your answer. So spend your time answering the questions accordingly. Think about what you want to say before you start writing. Good Luck.
 
Question 1.

The police, when they work, are continually and persistently caught up in various demands made on them (protect people, fight crime, abide by the law, ensure social order, collect intelligence, protect human rights, etc.) which they must balance out. In a democratic society, what should be the balance among potentially conflicting demands; by whom should the decisions on what is the proper balance be made; and what should be the role of the police in deciding on the proper balance (that is how much weight should the experience, interests and 'wisdom' of the police count)? Be sure to refer to some major writings and writers on democratic policing, including their views on what is/are the definition/s of 'democratic policing'.
 
Question 2.

Community oriented policing is the current' darling' (preferred model) of most police scholars and police managers. Explain this fascination, in the USA, with this model of policing. Why does this model have such wide support across liberal and conservative, progressive and traditional-oriented scholars and police? What historical and (current) societal factors can you point to which help explain the model's wide appeal?
 

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