Please go to the Pacific Crime Blog for the latest newsletter. Advisement information below may be dated.
As we enter the Spring 2005 semester in Criminal Justice at Sonoma State University we would like to welcome our returning students as well as our new majors who have recently arrived from community colleges or those who are entering freshman. Hopefully this newsletter will help you with the transition to the University and Department and answer the inevitable questions that arise during registration.
We have been writing JustNotes for years and have discussed important department and university matters, current events, what our alumni are doing, and the state of society. This semester we are at it again.
This is the time of year when many students are considering whether or not to apply for graduate school and, if so, which ones. It is important to keep an open mind about alternatives in the beginning. Your department faculty are a good resource for this purpose and you should seek them out. It is important to consider your career goals and desired living locations, the subject areas that schools offer, their number of faculty, potential mentoring opportunities, if appropriate, whether or not you may want to go beyond a Master's degree, financial support available, and other factors.
There are a couple of lists of potential graduate schools around the country or in California in particular. Lists distinguish between M.A. and Ph.D. programs. Tom O'Connor's list, forwarded by Kevin Shinn, is at http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/jusgrad.htm. Another list is by UnivSource.
(From the Office Staff)
We are very proud to announce that Bev Krystosek has received her Master's Degree in Counseling. Bev has left Sonoma State University and has moved to Oregon; she has accepted a counseling position there. Congratulations, Bev!
Lisa Kelley is now the full time Administrative Coordinator for the department. We have two new staff members: Marcella Salisbury, our new half-time Administrative Coordinator (Marcella also works part time in the History/Political Science Departments). We also have a new Student Assistant, Kristen Howells. Kristen will be with us until she graduates in May 2005.
The staff would like you to know that you come first and are always welcome in the CJA office. Students are our first priority. Don't hesitate to come to us for assistance, especially during registration periods and during the first weeks of class as you are trying to organize your class schedules. We are here to help you.
A former CJA student says this about her life since graduating from SSU.
When I graduated from SSU in 1996 with a degree in Criminal Justice, I never would have imagined that someday I would be working as a case manager for people living in rural Texas who have HIV/AIDS. The clients I work with tend to be a bit different than the typical urban clients of an AIDS service organization, but my clients are not so different from the clients one might see in a criminal justice program. They tend to be male, unemployed or underemployed, minority, living at or below the poverty level and often dealing with substance use/abuse issues. Unfortunately, they are coping with a debilitating, chronic disease along with those other issues. But mostly they are just people with problems and it is my job to assist them to the best of my ability with the resources that are available.
One of my college professors said, "Everyone who works in the criminal justice field, from police officers to judges, they are all really social workers." I disagreed vehemently with him at the time, my focus on law enforcement and “putting away bad guys.” As it turns out, what I do and probably what a lot of you do (or will be doing) is by definition the same as the mission of social work - to enable all people to develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction. Social work is focused on problem solving and change. By that description, I’m afraid that old guy was right!
-Sheryl Braun, class of 1996, is a case manger with AIDS Resources of Rural Texas at www.aidsresources.com
Join CJA friends and alumni through CJA-Alums, our department's listserv! After joining you can post and receive messages from the Department and the list. It's easy to subscribe and just as easy to unsubscribe.
Fundraising: Please read our letter to alumni and friends, which includes our request for your help.
Dr. Diana Grant was on leave the Fall 2004 semester. She is the new parent of Zeeshan Grant Deura, born September 27. Zeeshan means 'honorable' in the Urdu language. Dr. Grant writes, "We call him Zee or Shanny and he spends his time drinking lots of milk and putting on the ounces every day."
Barbara Bloom will be a plenary speaker at the February 2005 WSC Conference in Honolulu, speaking on "Gender-Responsive Strategies: Translating Research into Practice." A few months later, in June of 2005, she will be a keynote speaker at a conference being sponsored by Monash University and held in Prato, Italy with the theme of "What Works with Women Offenders: A Cross-National Dialogue about Effective Responses to Female Offenders".
Pat Jackson is writing about plea bargaining and the attrition of justice phenomenon in San Diego, California and Jacksonville, Florida. The study examines the role of evidentiary information in decisions to file charges, convict and sentence defendants charged with felony offenses. He is also continuing his work on the role of a positive parenting program in the lives of delinquent kids.
Our adjunct faculty are also very important to our program and lead very interesting lives in their own right. Two had time to get back to us in time for our deadline. We asked them to talk about what they do in their work life and how teaching at SSU fits in with that. Professor Volkart writes:
CJA Students Respond to Terrorism, by Judith Volkart
This semester approximately two dozen criminal justice and political science students have studied some of the many impacts of 9/11 in a new CJA course entitled, Responses to Terrorism: Current Perspectives. Students have sought answers to questions critical to the future of our American way of life. How should a constitutional democracy respond to terrorism? Where should the line be drawn - if indeed this is the tradeoff - between security and freedom? What are the domestic consequences of adopting counter-terrorism measures that blur the distinction between law enforcement and national defense? Do the answers change in the face of increased biological and nuclear threats or adverse world opinion?
Students approached these questions from diverse points of view. Many aspire to a career in law enforcement and understand job opportunities will be shaped by the domestic policy changes that are driven by efforts to deter terrorism. One student lost loved ones in the Twin Towers. Anotherís brother is a national guardsman who publicly opposes the war and now serves in Iraq. Yet anotherís family has first-hand experience with regime change in the middle east having served in a governmental post under the deposed Shah of Iran.
Early in the semester students identified what they consider to be the most important action to date we as a nation have taken to counter terrorism: increasing airport security, invading Iraq, and restoring national patriotism. However, most students expressed reservations about many of our governmentís post-9/11 actions. Topping the list of student concerns is the pre-emptive war in Iraq, followed by the lack of international support for the US, the domestic threats to civil liberties, and the draft. Some students believe we have no reason for concern.
All students joined the class with preliminary opinions about what should be done domestically to prevent terrorism. Their views are reflected in anonymous answers to an informal survey given at the beginning of the semester and modeled on one developed by Harvardís Kennedy School of Government.
Although results showed nine out of ten students oppose law enforcementís general use of racial profiling to stop motorists, when related to preventing terrorism nearly one in four approved a post-9/11 practice of profiling Arabs and Middle Easterners. Twenty-nine percent supported detaining them for a week without charges. Twenty-four percent supported indefinite detention with no charges.
The class was evenly divided on the issue of giving law enforcement broad post-9/11 authority to examine Arab and Middle Eastern student records. Only 32% supported such authority for telephone and bank records with a drop to 29% for medical records. Eighty percent opposed law enforcement infiltration of mosques.
Most students supported some form of government review and censorship of the media in the aftermath of the President Bush declaring war on terrorism. Fifty percent believed the government should be able to review and censor news reports of anti-war protests while only 26% supported limiting news about troop deployments or military plans. Twenty-one percent supported censoring criticism of how President Bush is conducting military actions. Only 12% favored our government stopping US media from broadcasting statements by Osama bin Laden.
During the semester, students have studied the 9/11 Commission report analyzing its recommendations; read and discussed contemporary domestic intelligence, law enforcement and security theory adopted in an FBI anti-terrorism training text; contemplated leading essays on the balance of power, freedom versus security, and non-Western perspectives of American policy; surfed and critiqued terrorism related websites; and reported weekly on breaking news from both foreign and domestic sources on the status of the struggle to deter terrorism.
With this foundation, students are formulating their own responses to the basic questions posed by this course by completing major research papers on subjects they have chosen. Topics are wide-ranging. They include the varied responses to the governmental and bureaucratic changes embodied in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, in the border patrol and immigration policy, the USA Patriot Act, the California state terrorism response plan, the increased use of FISAís secret courts, reliance on the National Guard and the implications of a draft. One student has chosen to critique the 9/11 Commission recommendations and to track Congressional progress in developing legislation to implement those recommendations.
In this context, several students are taking a fresh look at traditional terrorism theory by completing papers on modern suicide terrorism, bioterrorism, transnational terrorism, religious terrorism, and terrorism as an issue in the 2004 presidential campaign. One student reached conclusions based on a comparative analysis of the Justice Departmentís treatment of the Marin Taliban John Walker Lindh and enemy combatant Yasser Hamdi. Another conducted a similar analysis of the Defense Departmentís judicial reaction to troop misconduct in Iraqís Abu Graib prison and Vietnamís My Lai village. Both considered the impact of the governmentís differing responses.
In the final weeks of the semester, students are delivering oral reports on their research paper subjects taking full advantage of the classroomís multi-media capacity and enjoying structured feedback from their classmates. Whether the studentsí preliminary opinions have changed as a result of their course work will remain unknown. What we do know is that todayís young people face a life time of difficult decisions about how best to respond to terrorism. Hopefully, this course has provided our students with some appropriate tools for effective decision making.
Judith Volkart is a lawyer, educator and civil rights advocate. A graduate of Hastings College of Law, Judith has 20 years of experience in the corporate, government and private practice of law litigating in state and federal courts on a wide range of legal issues. Judith served as Assistant General Counsel and Senior Litigator for Firemanís Fund Insurance Company where her focus on fraud netted multi-million dollar RICO judgments. While studying law, Judith externed with the California Supreme Court, the State Public Defenders Office, and Sonoma County Public Defenders Office. Judith now has a private law practice in the town of Bodega.
Judith volunteers her time to the Sonoma County community as a member of board of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which she chaired for many years. As a member of the Legal Committee of the ACLU of Northern California in San Francisco, Judith helps selects the legal cases the ACLU will litigate. She serves on this committee with retired Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin, Bay Area law professors and local constitutional law practitioners.
Judith is a graduate of Sonoma State University with Distinction in Economics. In 1998, the University presented her with its Distinguished Alumna Award for her professional accomplishments and community leadership. In 2003, she received the Lola Hanzel Courageous Advocacy Award from the ACLU of Northern California for her extraordinary contributions as a volunteer. Judith is a sustaining member of California Appellate Defense Counsel and the Redwood Empire Appellate lawyers.
As adjunct faculty since 1989, Judith has taught CJAís Introduction to Constitutional Law and this semesterís Responses to Terrorism course as well as graduate and undergraduate courses in Administrative Law and Economics and the Regulation of Business. Judith also teaches Business Law at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. At Sonoma State, Judith volunteers as faculty advisor for the Pre-Law Club. This Spring she teaches Introduction to Constitutional Law.
Professor Hooper writes that he is a Senior Consultant with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, a sub-unit of the California Department of Justice at www.post.ca.gov. Their primary goal is to enhance the professionalism of California law enforcement by creating regulatory policies in areas such as use of force, vehicular pursuits, criminal investigations, SWAT operations, domestic violence, racial profiling, missing persons, hate crimes, and developmentally disabled and mentally ill persons. It also oversees the creation of training programs for law enforcement. He spends the majority of his workdays creating policies and procedures applicable to criminal investigation and instructor development. He integrates aspects of his own and other government entitiesí policymaking endeavors into the classroom to illustrate key learning points.
This spring Professor Hooper teaches Criminal Justice and Public Policy.
The CJA club has been re-established this semester. Get involved!!
Home of Western Society of Criminology
The CJA Department is host of the home of the Western Society of Criminology (WSC), a scholarly society concerned with crime, criminology and criminal justice. The WSC web site contains a WSC Student page along with other information about the WSC. The Western Society of Criminology meeting was in Honolulu, Hawaii from February 17-19, 2005 with the theme of "Meeting the Challenge: Translating Research into Practice". Students entered papers in the student paper competition and attended the meetings. Numerous students have attended WSC meetings over the years and your own involvement is encouraged.
Host of WCR
The CJA Department and Sonoma State University, through the Schultz Information Center, are also hosts to the Western Criminology Review, the scholarly journal of the WSC. The latest issue of the journal contains the following articles and commentary:
Motivation or Opportunity:
Which Serves as the Best Mediator in Self-Control Theory?
By George E. Higgins and Melissa L. Ricketts
Managing the Transition from Institution to Community: A Canadian Parole Officer Perspective on the Needs of Newly Released Federal Offenders
By Jason D. Brown
Confidence in the Police and Perceptions of Risk
By Taiping Ho and Jerome McKean
An Excursus on the Population Size-Crime Relationship
By Mitchell B. Chamlin and John K. Cochran
Book Review of A Restorative
Justice Reader: Texts, Sources, and Contexts
By Russ Immarigeon
Book Review of Superhighway Robbery: Preventing E-commerce Crime
By Sharon Chamard
Book Review of Ethics in Crime and Justice: Dilemmas and Decisions
By Egan Kyle Green
If you like reading book reviews you may also enjoy some review essays at another online electronic journal in criminology called the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture. The latest issue of that journal has book reviews of
The CJA Department is engaged in an ongoing assessment of its program, along with all other academic majors at SSU. Many of these results will be referenced or indexed here. The departmental assessment plan is available on line. It includes surveys of alumni, current students, focus groups and other information.
Would you to read a free electronic book or wondering what is out there on crime (or another subject)? SSU students can check out an e-book by pointing their browser to http://libweb.sonoma.edu/search/ebook.html. There are about 1700 books; many are on crime. Here are a few:
- Organized Crime : A Reference Handbook: Contemporary World Issues by Ryan, Patrick J., Santa Barbara, Calif. ABC-CLIO, 1995.
- Random Violence : How We Talk About New Crimes and New Victims, by Best, Joel, Berkeley University of California Press, 1999.
- Gender and Crime in Modern Europe: Women's and Gender History, by Arnot, Margaret L.; Usborne, Cornelie, London Taylor & Francis, 1999.
- A Book of Scoundrels, by Whibley, Charles, Charlottesville, Va. University of Virginia Library, 1996.
- Alcohol and Homicide : A Deadly Combination of Two American Traditions, SUNY Series in Violence, by Parker, Robert Nash.; Rebhun, Linda-Anne, Albany State University of New York Press, 1995.
- Crime in America : A Reference Handbook: Contemporary World Issues, by Durham, Jennifer L., Santa Barbara, Calif. ABC-CLIO, 1996.
- Drug Politics : Dirty Money and Democracies, by Jordan, David C., Norman, Okla., University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.
- Shooting Dope : Career Patterns of Hard-core Heroin Users American Social Problems, by Faupel, Charles E., Gainesville University Press of Florida, 1991.
- Crime Scene Investigation, by Harris, Barbara.; Kohlmeier, Kris.; Kiel, Robert D., Englewood, Colo. Teacher Ideas Press, 1999.
Do you read blogs?
Helpful reading: the Becker-Posner blog.
Sherlock Holmes on the loose:
"What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence. The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done?" (STUD), cited at http://www.bcpl.net/~lmoskowi/HolmesQuotes/q.creed.html
"'You don't mind breaking the law?'
'Not in the least.'
'Nor running a chance of arrest?'
'Not in a good cause.'
'Oh, the cause is excellent!'
'Then I am your [wo]man.'"
SCAN, p.221 cited at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/8827/vict.html.
Letter to a Judge
"....It is with sadness for our country, but hope for its future, that I write to inform you that conscience does not permit me to appear for jury service as your court has directed. "US drug policy is in a state of moral and humanitarian crisis, shaming us before history: Half a million nonviolent drug offenders clog our prisons and jails. Mandatory minimum sentences and inflexible sentencing guidelines condemn numerous low-level offenders to years or decades behind bars, often based solely on the word of compensated, confidential informants. Profiling and other racial or economic disparities assault the dignity and safety of our poor and minorities and deny them equal justice. Overall, criminalization has become a reflexive, default reaction to social problems, as opposed to its more limited, proper role as a last resort after other methods have failed. As a result, more than two million people are imprisoned in the United States, the highest incarceration rate of any nation.
"The external consequences of the drug laws wreak a devastating toll on large segments of our society and on other countries: Prohibition creates a lucrative black market that soaks our inner cities in violence and disorder, and lures young people into lives of crime. Laws criminalizing syringe possession, and the overall milieu of underground drug use and sales, encourage needle sharing and increase the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Our drug war in the Andes fuels a continuing civil war in Colombia, with prohibition-generated illicit drug profits enabling its escalation. Thousands of Americans die from drug overdoses or poisonings by adulterants every year, most of their deaths preventable through the quality-controlled market that would exist if drugs were legal. Physicians' justifiable fear of running afoul of law enforcers causes large numbers of Americans to go un- or under-treated for intractable chronic pain. And frustration over the failure of the drug war, together with the lack of dialogue on prohibition, distorts the policymaking process, leading to ever more intrusive governmental interventions and ever greater dilution of the core American values of freedom, privacy and fairness.
"Drug policies have significantly driven a deep corrosion of the ethics and principles underlying our system of justice: Police officers routinely violate constitutional rights to make drug busts, often committing perjury to secure convictions; or resort to trickery and manipulation to cause individuals to give up their rights, enabled by an intricate web of legalistic court rulings stretching the letter of the law while betraying its spirit. Manipulation of evidence and process is standard procedure. Many prosecutors, though thankfully not all, treat their position as a stepping stone to elected office, subjugating their oaths to seek justice to a political calculus based instead on individual career advancement. Corruption and misconduct among enforcers and within agencies is widespread. And all these problems, while not officially sanctioned, are in practice largely tolerated: criminal prosecution for police abuse is the exception, and disbarment for prosecutorial misconduct is almost unheard of. Meanwhile, false or unfair convictions occur with unacknowledged frequency, with persons thus victimized often spending years in prison while seeking exoneration..."
My sympathies are with the criminals rather than with the victim.
(CHAS), at http://www.bcpl.net/~lmoskowi/HolmesQuotes/q.crime.html.
Once or twice in my career, I feel that I have done more real harm by my discovery of the criminal than ever he had done by his crime. I have learned caution, and I had rather play tricks with the law of England than with my own conscience.
(ABBE), at http://www.bcpl.net/~lmoskowi/HolmesQuotes/q.crime.html.
Felons Face Employment Discrimination
A 2002 Ph.D. dissertation available for free via NCJRS reveals an enormous amount of discrimination against blacks and/or individuals with a prior criminal record. Although this finding is not new the study is relatively recent and is therefore responsive to the criticism that things have changed. They haven't: the more things change the more they remain the same.
"The intent of this study was to determine the extent to which employers used information about criminal histories and race to screen out otherwise qualified job applicants. The results provided clear evidence for the significant impact of both a criminal record and race on employment opportunities; ex-offenders were one-half to one-third as likely to receive initial consideration from employers relative to equivalent applicants without criminal records. Findings also showed that Blacks without a criminal record fared no better, and perhaps worse, than did whites with criminal records."
Other Drug War notes:
In a Republican controlled legislature, Pennsylvania sentencing reform gets nonviolent drug offenders out of prison early, saving 20 milion dollars a year in costs.
The latest issue of Scientific American concludes that current restrictions on marijuana research are absurd.
Vera's major study,Is the Budget Crisis Changing the Way We Look at Sentencing and Incarceration?, asks whether imprisonment is worth the costs, and describes how states and even conservative politicians are moving away from punishment and toward rehabilitation goals.
Vote on Two Propositions
The latest election left much for students of criminal justice to ponder.
The election results on how Sonoma County voted vs. CA statewide on Prop 66 (Limits on 3 Strikes) showed that the law failed to pass statewide because only 46.8% of voters approved it; but 54.7% of Sonoma Cty voters approved it. Was it surprising to you that a rural county like Sonoma was more progressive on this than CA as a whole? The local press claims that Prop 66 failed because of the influence of Governor Schwartzenegger and a billionaire friend of his, Henry Nicholas, who, along with the California Correctional and Peace Officer's Association, financed it. How do you feel about the appropriate role of extraordinarily wealthy people and the CCPOA--California prison guards--in this initiative process?
The commercials used during that anti-campaign are extraordinary to view. Take this link to see them. Do you think these commercials are an accurate criticism of Prop. 66?
Prop 69 on DNA Samples passed statewide with 62.0% of the vote, and passed in Sonoma with 56.9% of the vote. Do you think this raises any potential questions about privacy by authorizing DNA sample collection from people even if they have only been arrested for certain crimes? A recent Federal Appeals courts says police can basically take hair samples when they feel like it. Do you agree?
The election figure results are from the California Secretary of State website, and students could use this link to check out election returns for each county and statewide.
Felony Disenfranchisement is a significant issue these days. Most people who have served their time for a felony are ineligible to vote in the federal system and the states. You can find out more information about this topic by going to the Felon Disenfranchisement Project, which finds, using a national survey, that "80% favor returning voting rights to former felons once they complete their sentences..." Felony enfranchisement would have directly affected the outcome of the National 2000 election.
Dr. Barbara Bloom has generously provided this powerpoint presentation on the topic of felon disenfranchisement. Download it to your desktop and open it.
- The death penalty
- Book review of Sister Helen Prejean's, The Death of Innocents, by Steve Weinberg
- Fatalities by Occupation: Law Enforcement and other Occupations, 2003, from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report at the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Fall 2003 issue of justnotes
- 10x10, which needs a look at SSU's Project Censored.
- Official time
Background Image credit
- Title: Tatoo and Haircut
- Artist Name: Reginald MARSH
- Creation Date: 1932
- Image at http://worldart.sjsu.edu/VieO20144$44*28123
- Current Repository: Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago.
- Copyright Holder: Kathleen Cohen