Laurie Robinson Fall Courses

HNRS 353:002 Effective responses to crime: policies and strategies

While the violent crime rate in the U.S. today is some  75% lower than 20 years ago — and is far closer to rates in the 1960s — the nation continues to face challenges in areas such as gun violence, gang crime, domestic violence and high rates of incarceration, and there is clear concern about how fairly the criminal justice system responds to racial and ethnic minorities, as events over the past 18 months in Ferguson, Missouri and numerous other jurisdictions have highlighted.  In the 1960s, a Presidential Commission appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson issued a landmark report that comprehensively looked at all facets of the criminal justice system and set out a blueprint for reform.  No single document in criminal justice since that time has been so influential.

In this seminar, Honors College students will act as members of a criminal justice commission to look at key aspects of the crime problem in the United States and what solutions are — or could be — used to address them effectively.  They will examine issues around policing, prisons and sentencing, juvenile justice, substance abuse, courts and (more broadly) innovation and hold “hearings” at which they can question expert guest witnesses (for example, frontline criminal justice practitioners, such as police chiefs) and explore evidence-based approaches that are being, and should be, taken to address problems.  Students will serve on subject area task forces and develop reports on their topics.

The work will culminate in the students presenting their policy-oriented research reports in class at the end of the semester.

This seminar is suitable for any student interested in public policy, government, technology, communications, criminology, political science, conflict resolution, or economics. (TR 1:30-2:45 pm)