Central Washington University

Department of Law and Justice



Winter 2007


Current Issues in Criminal Justice

LAJ 459





Instructor: Dr. Rodrigo Murataya Email: murataya@cwu.edu

Phone: 963-3667 @ Ellensburg Phone: 963-3720 @ YVCC

Office: Psychology 458 Office hour: TTH 11:00 a.m.- 12:00

Office: DHEC 219 (@ YVCC) Office hour: Daily 4:00 p.m.- 5:00


LAJ Department Home Page: http://www.cwu.edu/~lajhome/




APA. (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (5th ed). Washington, DC: APA


Kromkowski, John A. (2004). Race and Ethnic Relations Annual Editions. (04/05) Guilford, Connecticut: McGraw Hill/Dushkin.


Reiman, Jeffrey (2004). The rich get richer and the poor get prison: Ideology, class and criminal justice. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


Any and all academic materials (texts, journal article, news article etc.) in the field of LAJ.


Course Objective:

The purpose of the course is to assess the student’s current knowledge of base materials in the field of Criminal Justice as well as eliminate any areas of deficiency.


Expected student outcomes include:

        The ability to demonstrate mastery of basic concepts of Criminal Justice.

        Competence in identifying issues, organizing basic research, conducting research and compiling the results.

        Establishing confidence in one’s ability to make professional presentations.


Course Format:

The format for this course will generally be discussion. The lectures are intended to be thought provoking and to put out other information not found in the reading material. Discussion of topics and of current events is of key importance for a better understating of the current trends affecting the Criminal Justice System. In addition to the required readings, it is strongly recommended that students read at least one reputable newspaper and compliment that with listening to the news on a daily basis. As current events unfold, the students will integrate them into the class discussions. The following is a recommended internet site of newspapers worldwide: http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/


1.      Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to; Non constructive and/or inappropriate comments and/or behavior, arriving late or leaving early and failing to turn off audible pagers and/or cell phones.

2.      If you miss class for any reason, you will be responsible for obtaining the information, handouts, and/or materials you miss due to your absence. Extra credit may be available at the discretion of the instructor


Course Prerequisite:

This course is to be taken by seniors in final stages of the LAJ program. Students must have the necessary background and academic maturity to fulfill subject matter requirements.


Student Attendance, Participation, and Responsibilities:


1.      Attendance and participation are required for the full benefit of the education experience. Students are expected to come to class and be prepared to join in discussion of the material. It is highly recommended that you complete and review the daily exercises at the end of each chapter. If you must miss a class you should contact a group member for assignments and materials you missed.

2.      Work in groups. Contribute to your groups work within your assigned role.

3.      Each excused or unexcused absence will result in a loss of 10 attendance points and up to the maximum of 5% (50 Points) of your final grade.

4.      Class begins promptly at 11:00 a.m. and ends at 11:50 a.m. every session. Failing to attend and participate in class will severely impact your grade.

5.      Be prepared to express your viewpoint and defend it – allow others to express their point of view, as well. These important exchanges of ideas, that will be debated, are an important element in the learning process. If students give the appearance of not being prepared, unannounced quizzes may be given.

6.      Keep up on Readings. You must read your materials according to the schedule in the syllabus.

7.      Ask questions. If you don’t ask questions I won’t know if I have explained the material sufficiently. I welcome questions; this gives me valuable insight in how well my teaching is going.

8.      Writing assignments shall be turned in on the days assigned. Assignments must comply with the format requirements as set forth in the syllabus and as provided by the Instructor. Failure to comply with the requirements will result in the assignment being returned to the student and treated as late until the requirements are fulfilled.

9.      Access and Monitor your GroupWise email. When you finish reading this you should log onto your university provided GroupWise email. Send me a message that you have finished reading the syllabus. My email address is murataya@cwu.edu. I can then create a class email list to send you material, notices, assignments, etc. If you don’t know how to do this or have trouble with it, contact the department secretary Karen Flowers at FlowerKa@cwu.edu or 963-3208, Rm. 463 in the Psych building. If you don’t have a computer, there are free computer labs available to you around campus and one in the Psych Bldg. Rm. 441


All assignments are to be turned in to the instructor via email to the following email address:




Lectures comprise of material from the book, professional experience and other scholarly materials. An examination will be given every three to four weeks. A letter grade will be assigned based upon the exam score. The scores will be compiled, added up and at the end of the quarter, they will be curved and assigned a letter grade.

Students are expected to engage in active, regular, and informed discussions through class participation, which will comprise of 20% (200 Points) of your final course grade. Quizzes cannot be made up regardless of the circumstances involved for absence. Tests can only be made up for excused absences. If there is no such justifiable crisis, the following shall apply: for each day late, an assignment will lose half of a full letter grade.


Foundational tests = 40% Attendance = 5% Participation = 20% Paper = 30% Presentation 5%



Step 2

Once students are at an A or B level they will identify a current issue in criminal justice and with the approval of the instructor, write a 12-15 pp. double spaced typewritten paper concerning a criminal justice issue.

Besides links on our departmental website, use both articles and books. The paper will graded on 1) the organization of ideas, 2) the depth and quality of sources, 3) the quality and extent of analysis, 4) the originality of your insights on the topic under study, and 5) spelling and grammar. An “F” grade will be assigned to papers turned in late. The due date for all papers will be Thursday, March 10th 2007.

All formatting and citations/references of any and all written assignment must follow the American Psychological Association (APA) technical format. For assistance on this topic use the following e-mail address: http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/apastyle.htm


Reaction Report:

You may earn 20 extra credit points by writing a Reaction Report to a news item concerning race, class, gender and criminal justice. This will be your reasoned response based upon reading, experience and the text. You must hand in your two-page typewritten report, plus a copy of the news item not later than Thursday February 24.

See step 2 above for instruction and clarification on grading requirements for the reaction report.



The students will make a presentation on a reading or your paper. The 10-15 minute presentation will include an overview, including theoretical and methodological aspects. Also, a critical reading presenting the pros and cons of the article. A one-page handout summarizing the above should be provided to the class (worth 5% of final grade).

Policy on Academic Dishonesty:

Students choosing law related careers are expected to meet rigorous standards of honesty. Students are on their honor to avoid “proscribed conduct” as defined by the Student Judicial Code (see appendix B. CWU Catalog). Violations of this section will result in a failing grade in the course in addition to possible university sanctions.


Policy on Diversity:

University-level education is about broadening horizons and looking at academic issues from a variety of perspectives. With this in mind, the participants in this class are encouraged to bring their own life experiences and viewpoints to bear on classroom discussions and assignments. Along with the freedom to express one’s own views comes the responsibility to respect the views of others. No student will be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or political ideology.


Policy on Sexual Harassment:

It is the policy of CWU to maintain a work and academic community free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment violates state and federal law and will not be tolerated. Refer to Appendix A, Section IV, CWU catalog for definitions and procedures.


ADA Statement:

Students who have special needs or disabilities that may affect their ability to access information or material presented in this course are encouraged to contact me or the ADA Compliance Officer and Director on campus at 509-963-2171 for additional disability-related educational accommodations.


Research Resources:

An excellent place to start is our new departmental webpage: www.cwu.edu/~lajhome/ Click on tracks and the various sites and/or Links for research e.g. Bureau of Justice (BOJ) plu

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