The following courses were designed specifically for the Criminology major.
CRM 130 Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
Criminology Staff/Three credits
This survey level course introduces students to the purpose, structure, and function of the criminal justice system, which represents the government’s official response to crime. Students will learn about the role of the various aspects of the criminal justice system (i.e., law enforcement, courts, and corrections) in responding to and controlling crime. A significant focus of the class will be on critical analysis of criminal justice policy and programs, such as mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, New York City’s stop and frisk campaign, sex offender residency restrictions, mandatory arrest laws for domestic violence, day reporting centers for probationers and parolees, and victimless prosecution of domestic violence cases. The course will also lead students to consider the challenges facing the criminal justice system, including an aging prison population, the impact of incarceration on families and communities, the pressure to efficiently process high caseloads, and protecting personal liberties while keeping citizens safe.
CRM/SOC 242 Criminology
Cares, Gendron/Three credits
The course examines the patterns, causes, and consequences of crime, and the ways in which the criminal justice system attempts to deal with the crime problem in the United States. Specific substantive topics will include analyses of how laws are created; theories of crime causation; penology; the relationship between crime/criminal justice and social class, race/ethnicity and gender; fear of crime; the social construction of crime in the media; the growth of the prison system; and an assessment of the efficacy of alternative “crime-fighting” strategies, such as community policing. .
CRM/SOC 243 Juvenile Delinquency
This course examines the history of “juvenile delinquency” as a societal category and as a social problem. While the main focus is on competing theories of delinquent behavior and the relative effectiveness of various policy responses to juvenile crime, the course will also focus extensively on media portrayals of juvenile criminals and the broader topic of the social construction of the juvenile crime problem. Specific topics include: decriminalization; deinstitutionalization; court diversion; radical nonintervention; community arbitration; and community-based corrections. .
CRM/SOC 272 Deviant Behavior
Cares, Gendron/Three credits
This course examines how particular acts, beliefs, and conditions come to be defined as deviant; who confers the label of “deviant” upon whom; and how a deviant identity is managed by those persons successfully labeled “deviant.” The main theoretical approach employed in this course, social constructionism, argues that deviant behavior cannot be understood in isolation from differentials in social power that permit some groups in society to define their lifestyles, beliefs, and status as superior and preferred. Specific topics to be covered include crime and delinquency; mental illness; drug and alcohol addiction; “alternative” lifestyles; the social organization of deviant subcultures; and elite deviance (white-collar crime).
CRM/SOC 275 Sociology of Law
This course examines the interrelationship between law and society by focusing on the “law in action” versus the law “on the books.” It offers a broad introduction to the law as a social institution, and it will analyze how the law shapes the form and function of other key social institutions such as the family, the economy, and the state (politics). Topics include: theories of legal creation; types of legal systems; theories of social control and punishment; how laws are used to effect social change (the controversy over “judicial activism”); how racial and class inequalities in society affect the creation and administration of law; and how the work of key theorists in the discipline of sociology (primarily Marx, Weber, and Durkheim) have contributed to the field.
CRM/SOC 325 Victimology
Cares/ Three credits
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the complexity of criminal victimization from multiple perspectives: the victim’s, society’s, and the criminal justice and other response system’s. The course begins by exploring the nature and extent of the problem. Then, it moves on to explore theoretical frameworks used to explain criminal victimization. Next, it examines the consequences of victimization for victims, their loved ones, and society at large. The course concludes with a selection of special topics.
CRM/SOC 365–366 Internship Seminar I and II: Sociologists and Anthropologists at Work
Cares, Gendron /Three credits each semester.
This seminar provides interns with the opportunity to examine the internship experience along with other student interns. Students also examine related issues: social policy development; program planning, evaluation, and research; the social scientist’s responsibilities for the use of her or his research; the political role of the social scientist; the “value-free” debate among social scientists; applied versus pure sociology; the role of the social scientist within private and public organizations; management of human service agencies; and career options for social scientists. .