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Annual Editions: Criminal Justice 13/14, Thirty Seventh Edition
UNIT 1: Crime and Justice in America
1. What Is the Sequence of Events in the Criminal Justice System?, Report to the Nation on Crime and Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 1998
This report reveals that the response to crime is a complex process, involving citizens as well as many agencies, levels, and branches of govern-ment.
2. The Never-Ending Drug War: Obstacles to Drug War Policy Termination, Renee Scherlen, PS, January 2012
Why does the war on drugs continue after 40 years? This article combines theories of policy termination and prospect theory to explain the drug war’s persistence. After reviewing the case for termination, the article turns to policy termination theory. As previous case studies have demonstrated, rationality and economic reasoning alone fail to persuade politicians to end existing policies.
3. Prison Rips up Families, Tears Apart Entire Communities, John Simerman, The Times-Picayune, May 18, 2012
The number of children who are growing up with one or both parents behind bars has multiplied nationwide along with the incarceration rate. According to one estimate, the total has increased sevenfold in the past two decades. More than 1.7 million children in the United States now have at least one parent in state or federal prison.
4. If Convicted Felons Could Vote. . . , Eliza Shapiro, The Daily Beast, July 12, 2012
According to some, laws that keep felons and others away from the polls have their roots in Jim Crow laws, and were passed along with relics like literacy tests and poll taxes. Former felons who have struggled to regain their voting privileges said the process is exhausting and demoralizing; and statistics show that felon disenfranchisement dis-proportionately affects African-Americans.
5. After 9/11, A New Era in the Business of Detaining Immigrants, Chris Kirkham, Huffington Post, September 9, 2011
Companies such as Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group Inc., which are publicly traded on Wall Street, have come to rely on immigration detention contracts with the federal government as a growing source of revenues over the past decade. Critics have argued that the government’s hard-line approach toward immigration en-forcement, coupled with the profit motive for private prison operators, has turned a civil detention program into something that looks exactly like a prison system for crimi-nals.
6. No Cause for Marijuana Case, but Enough for Child Neglect, Mosi Secret, The New York Times, August 17, 2011
Hundreds of New Yorkers who have been caught with small amounts of marijuana , or who have simply admitted to using it, have become en-snared in civil child neglect cases in recent years, though they did not face even the least of criminal charges. A small number of parents in these cases have even lost custody of their children.
7. Band’s Culture of Hazing Flourished at Florida A&M, David Breen, The Washington Post, May 27, 2012
The culture of hazing is so embedded in the fabric of the Florida A&M Marching 100 that the band adopted a language known not just by current and former band members, but even kids in high school aspiring to join the famous ensemble.
UNIT 2: Victimology
8. Telling the Truth about Damned Lies and Statistics, Joel Best, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 4, 2001
We should not ignore all statistics or assume that every number is false. Some statistics are bad, but others are useful. Joel Best thinks that we need good statistics to talk sensibly about social problems.
9. When a Hazing Goes Very Wrong, Michael Winerip, The New York Times, April 12, 2012
Long before the death of a student as a result of hazing, there were many troubling signs at Cornell. Though hazing has been illegal at the university since 1980 and in New York State since 1983, 60 percent of the university’s fraternities and sororities were found responsible for hazing activities over the last decade.
10. The Face of Domestic Violence, Amanda White, as told to Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Ladies’ Home Journal, March 2010
This is a first-person account of a young woman , a victim of domestic violence , who stayed with a husband who beat her over and over again. She explains what she went through and why she believed it would all get better.
11. Sexual Violence and the Military, Editorial, The New York Times, March 8, 2012
A recent Pentagon report on sexual assaults at the service academies found that the rate of sexual assaults on American women serving in the military is intolerably high: between 23 percent and 33 percent of uniformed women had been assaulted, despite repeated vows of zero toler-ance.
12. Forensic Interviewing Aids: Do Props Help Children Answer Questions about Touching?, Debra Ann Poole, Maggie Bruck, and Margaret-Ellen Pipe, Current Directions in Psychological Science, February 2011, vol. 20
In child sex abuse cases, studies show a lack of evidence that dolls and diagrams produce increases in accurate details of touching compared to verbal questions alone, but there are numerous barriers to policy change in the field of forensic interviewing.
13. Human Sex Trafficking, Amanda Walker-Rodriguez, JD and Rodney Hill, JD, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2011
The United States not only faces an influx of international victims but also has its own homegrown problem of interstate sex trafficking of minors. Among the children and teens living on the streets in the United States, involvement in commercial sex activity is a problem of epidemic proportion.
14. Could the Penn State Abuse Scandal Happen Somewhere Else? Definitely, Patrick Hruby, The Atlantic, July 16, 2012
A filmmaker discusses his documentary about sexual abuse in sports. He believes that in situations such as that at Penn State, victims are the last priority. In many cases—particularly at schools whose pristine reputations are paramount—rather than making a successful coach go away, they have made an accuser or the accusations go away.
UNIT 3:The Police
15. The Changing Environment for Policing, 1985–2008, David H. Bayley and Christine Nixon, New Perspectives in Policing, NIJ, September 2010
What are the differences in the environment for policing between now and 1985–1991? Are the problems similar or different from one period to the next? Police today are considered to be performing well, but this assessment may be mistaken because the institutions that provide public safety are changing in profound ways that are not being recog-nized.
16. When the Police Go Military, Al Baker, The New York Times, December 3, 2011
Police forces undeniably share a soldier’s ethos, no matter the size of the city: officers carry deadly weapons and wear uniforms with patches denoting rank, etc. American law and tradition have tried to draw a clear line between police and military forces, yet images from Occupy protests show just how readily police officers can adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citi-zens.
17. Beware of the Dogs, Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, February 27, 2012
Since the attacks on September 11th, New York’s subways and train stations, parks and tourist destinations have been prowled by police dogs—large, pointy-eared, unnervingly observant beasts deeply unconvinced of our innocence. They sniff at backpacks and train their eyes on passersby, daring us to make a move. It’s a little unsettling but also, under the circumstances, reassuring. There are worse things to fear than getting bit-ten.
18. Forensic Techniques Are Subject to Human Bias, Lack Standards, Panel Found, Spencer S. Hsu, The Washington Post, April 17, 2012
Far from fallible, expert comparisons of hair, handwriting, marks made by firearms on bullets and patterns such as bite marks and shoe and tire prints are in some ways unscientific and subject to human bias. Other forensic techniques, such as in bullet-lead analysis and arson investigation, survived for decades despite poorly regulated prac-tices and a lack of scientific method.
19. Understanding the Psychology of Police Misconduct, Brian D. Fitch, PhD, The Police Chief, January 2011
Law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to recruit, hire, and train only the most qualified applicants, and most officers support the agency, its values, and its mission, performing their duties ethically while avoiding any misconduct or abuse of authority. Yet, despite the best efforts of organizations everywhere, it seems that one does not have to look very far to find examples of police misconduct.
20. The Art of the Police Report, Ellen Collett, Utne Reader, March/April 2011
The purpose of a police report is to be cited in court as proof of who did what to whom. Its ultimate agenda is justice and because the stakes can be high it’s written with special care. Above all, it aims to be truthful. At the same time, to do its job, it needs to be convincing; the story it tells should be able to persuade the people in a jury box.
21. As Mental Health Resources Shrink Police Become Front Line with Lives at Stake, Henri E. Cauvin, Washingtonpost.com, April 19, 1:12 pm
A police officer who responded to a man threatening to jump off an old railroad bridge, ended up on the front line of the American public mental health system, like officers across the country, doing a job she didn’t sign up for, trying to fill holes she didn’t create. Financially strapped state and local governments are putting pressures on police as more people with mental health problems are cut off from treatment.
UNIT 4: The Judicial System
22. The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA, Andrew Martin, The New York Times, November 25, 2011
The issues raised by DNA exonerations have led to an overhaul of the criminal justice system. However, the fate of an inmate with powerful new evi-dence of innocence still rests with local prosecutors, some of whom have spun creative theories to explain away the exculpatory findings. Legal scholars suggest that prosecutors’ concerns about their political future and a culture that values winning over justice also come into play.
23. ìI Did Itî: Why Do People Confess to Crimes They Didn’t Commit?, Robert Kolker, New York Magazine, 10/15/2010
In the criminal justice system, nothing is more powerful than a confession; no other form of evidence is as convincing to a jury. We count on the integrity of the police and safeguards like Miranda rights to prevent abuses, and we take it on faith that innocent people would never confess to crimes they haven’t committed. But they do.
24. The Certainty of Memory Has Its Day in Court, Laura Beil, The New York Times, November 28, 2011
Scientists have long cautioned that the brain is not a filing cabinet, storing memories in a way that they can be pulled out, consulted and returned intact. Memory is not so much a record of the past as a rough sketch that can be modified even by the simple act of telling the story. Witness testimony should be viewed more like trace evidence, with the same fragility and vulnerability to contamina-tion.
25. Eyewitness Identifications: One More Lesson on the Costs of Excluding Relevant Evidence, Larry Laudan, APS, May 2012
The quest for evidence that infallibly indicates guilt (or in-nocence) is a snark hunt. It is provable in principle that there is no rule of evidence or procedure that will not occasionally lead to a false conviction (or a false acquittal). The fact that relevant evidence leads to fallible inferences is no argument for the former’s exclu-sion.
26. DOJ Review of Flawed FBI Forensics Processes Lacked Transparency, Spencer S. Hsu, Jennifer Jenkins, and Ted Mellnik, The Washington Post, April 17, 2012
With the FBI under fire for its handling of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the O.J. Simpson murder case, a task force was launched to dig through thousands of cases involving discredited agents to ensure that no defendant’s right to a fair trial was jeopardized. The task force took nine years to complete its work and never publicly released its findings.
27. Convicted Defendants Left Uninformed of Forensic Flaws Found by Justice Dept., Spencer S. Hsu, The Washington Post, April 16, 2012
By excluding defense lawyers from the process of reviewing cases of sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab, and leaving it to prosecutors to decide case by case what to disclose, authorities waded into a legal and ethical morass that left some prisoners locked away for years longer than necessary. By adopting a secret process that limited accountability, the task force left the scope and nature of scientific problems unreport-ed.
28. Neuroscience in the Courtroom, Michael S. Gazzaniga, Scientific American, April 2011
Brain scans and other types of neurological evidence are rarely a factor in trials today. Someday, however, they could transform judicial views of personal credibility and responsibility. The gre...
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