cja313 | undergraduate

Contemporary Issues In Criminal Justice

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This course explores developments and changes in the practice of criminal justice brought about by the war on terrorism, as well as rapid technological change, and other social dynamics. Specific topics include: homeland security, the police response to terrorism, police accountability, racial profiling, and the expanded participation of the community in ensuring public safety. Students also learn about how technology has altered the way crimes are committed as well as the ways that law enforcement and the communities they serve confront the problem and address emerging public safety issues.

This undergraduate-level course is 5 This course is available as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

Course details:

Credits: 3
Continuing education units: XX
Professional development units: XX
Duration: 5

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    Technology and Crime

    • Analyze how the Internet can be used by terrorists, crime syndicates, and other criminal organizations.
    • Discuss the methods and motivations of Internet hackers.
    • Understand how the reliance on information technology for a vast array of everyday activities has contributed to the exponential growth in the crime of "identity theft."
    • Describe the most common forms of online criminality, including cyber identity theft, hacking and phishing, cyber stalking, cyber terrorism, cyber pornography, and cyber gambling.

    Security and Liberty

    • Discuss the competing claims of security versus privacy, personal autonomy, and convenience in waging a war against terrorism and other criminal activity that is increasingly both international in scope and leading edge in its level of technological sophistication.
    • Understand how the duties and responsibilities of those in law enforcement have expanded since the September 11th terrorist attacks.
    • Understand the application of the exclusionary rule to violations of the Fourth Amendment.
    • Understand the increased security provided by the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as its implications to Fourth Amendment liberty.
    • Explain how police agencies, both domestic and international, are being restructured and transformed in the modern world.

    Law Enforcement Technology

    • Explore how the prevalence of information technology has led to changes in the way police now conduct all criminal investigations.
    • Describe some of the technologically advanced equipment now employed by law enforcement agencies for surveillance, intelligence gathering and support.
    • Discuss the implications of this enforcement technology on civil liberties.
    • Describe the process of securing the electronic crime scene and seizing electronic evidence.
    • Explore the methods used by "police futurists" in their attempts to anticipate future trends in criminality and the police profession.
    • Identify the role of DNA profiling in criminal investigations.


    • Identify the role of law enforcement as emergency first responders in a terrorist incident.
    • Understand the motivations and operations of terrorist groups and how this understanding contributes to effective enforcement strategies.
    • Discuss the term "critical infrastructure" and the potential vulnerability of a complex technological society like the United States to attacks on a variety of potential targets.
    • Identify interagency communication problems that existed before September 11, 2001 and the strategies for reducing these problems in the future.

    Police Accountability and Community Involvement

    • Understand how community oriented policing enhances traditional policing strategies.
    • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory arrest procedures for domestic violence incidents.
    • Identify critical issues in racially biased policing, including police and citizen perceptions, accountability and supervision, policy development, hiring and training procedures, and statistical computations.
    • Discuss the limitations on using race as a factor in searches or seizures.
    • Discuss alternative sentencing, drug courts, victim-offender mediation, "Weed and Seed" and other forms of restorative justice.
    • Consider the multicultural implications of restorative justice programs.
    • Identify the emerging role of private security and its interrelation with public law enforcement.
    • Understand the challenges persons with mental illness pose to the criminal justice system and identify strategies to address these challenges.

    Homeland Security

    • Describe how disparate agencies and institutions at the national, state and local level are working individually and collectively to prevent and respond to acts of terrorism.
    • Describe the national strategy to combat the use or threatened use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) by terrorists.
    • Recognize some of the technical and legal barriers, attitudes, and prevailing cultural values that add to the challenge of effectively prosecuting the war on domestic terrorism.
    • Identify some of the policies, programs, and initiatives that have been implemented and proposed on a national level to combat the terrorist threat.

    Contemporary Issues

    • Identify contemporary issues currently facing the criminal justice system.
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