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You are the police chief in a medium size city. The city is comprised of mostly white citizens but is diverse and also has large African American, Hispanic and Muslim communities.

CJMS 600 Conference Papers (18 pages. 30 References)

Paper 2: Victims’ Issues (2 pages, 3 references)

This week’s topic should resonate with those who have a specific interest in working with victims. Victims of crime are important to consider at every level of the criminal justice system. Victims had few rights and were treated very poorly by the system until recent years. As leaders in the criminal justice field it will be important for you to have a thorough understanding of these issues.

View the Roberta Roper interviews. She is the parent of a murder victim and has spent the last 3 decades fighting for victims’ rights as a result of what happened to her daughter and how her family was treated by the criminal justice system.
Please discuss the following questions:

— What did Roberta Roper identify as the key issues with the treatment of victims?

— What is a victim impact statement and why is it important?  What statutory and constitutional rights do victims now have?  (Cite your sources.)

— Most importantly, what can you do as a criminal justice leader to further victim’s rights?

For a different perspective, read:

Let’s do a case study –

Click on Cod Bay, below, to open the one-page case study.  Consider the case from the perspectives of the police department and the citizen.

Do you feel the sergeant handled this situation properly? If not, how should he have handled it?

If you were the chief, what actions would you take in this case?

Give one suggestion for improving the department that has not previously been posted by a classmate.

Provide an example of how the police department could be improved by using the basic principles, policies, rules or discipline described in our textbook.

Let’s talk about criminal justice leadership this week. Leadership impacts every aspect of the criminal justice system and many of you are already in a CJ leadership role.

Watch Part I of the Behan Interviews, “What is Leadership?”  (You may also want to watch the other three parts.)  Chief Behan Interviews (or find it online through google)
Which of Chief Behan’s elements of leadership particularly resonate with you? Why?
Do you disagree with any of his leadership points? Why?
Give an example of how you could specifically apply one of his leadership suggestions.

Tie your answers back to our textbook and feel free to add any relevant personal experiences.

We have read about diversity issues and management issues. Racial issues are something everyone in policing must address.  Recent events in Ferguson and other towns remind us that this issue has not been resolved.

Use the concepts discussed in the textbook and lectures, as well as outside sources, to develop your responses to this case study.

You are the police chief in a medium size city. The city is comprised of mostly white citizens but is diverse and also has large African American, Hispanic and Muslim communities. Your overriding goal is to have harmony and for people of all races to get along. You also want the community to respect and work cooperatively with your police officers, but you have encountered some issues that need your attention. There have been complaints from some of the African American and Hispanic citizens that they receive harsher treatment than other people. They specifically claim they get pulled over more often than whites for traffic violations.

Some of the Muslim citizens claim that since 9/11 they have been treated more harshly and the police go out of their way to harass them. Conversely, the police union has complained that every time an officer pulls over a minority there is an allegation of discrimination and that you as the Chief don’t support your officers as you should.

How would you solve this problem?  Cite your sources.
Please use spell check and proofread your response so your posting is reflective of graduate level work.

Last week’s case study raised some critical issues, so let’s try another.
Again, put yourself in the position of police chief. Examine this case study not as an individual of a particular race, but just as a chief who has to solve a problem. Engage in critical thinking from a leadership perspective. This is a recent case that you may recall. A white police sergeant arrested a black professor and the President weighed in, criticizing the police.

“Professor Gates is jimmying his own locked door because he left his keys somewhere. Someone calls the police regarding this “suspicious” behavior — probably understandable, white or black. But when the police arrive, Gates doesn’t see a routine investigation by the police. He sees a white police officer assuming the worst in the behavior of a black man. The professor is a black man in America. A man who has seen the worst in racial bigotry — indeed a man who has studied all the aspects of racial relations in America. A man who has hair-trigger assumptions running around in his head based on real-life experiences. He gets angry — not just at this police officer, but at the injustices that relate to racial confrontations between black America and law enforcement.

Sgt. James Crowley is called in to do a routine investigation of a possible burglary. He has unique qualifications in race relations — he taught a class on racial profiling. All he knows as he approaches the house is that somebody tried to enter the house without a key. The man he confronts is black — and as a police officer he understands the inherent suspicion of police in the African-American community. He starts out calmly, but the man becomes angry quickly. It becomes clear that the man is who he says he is, but the belligerence continues and escalates. As a police officer, he must regain control of the situation.

And then there is President Obama. Not just an aloof arbiter of opinion but also a black man in America. And a black man who knows Gates personally. It is difficult not to weigh in on such a situation that the president knows has meaning to the racial norms of a complicated society.”

As the police chief, look carefully at the issues. Go online and learn more. Who was right and who was wrong? What lessons can be learned from this that can be applied to your department? How will you prevent this from happening in your department?

Keep up the insightful questions to your classmates!

Let’s move into the topic of prisons. Consider the following excerpts from the New York Times and The Huffington Post and answer the questions that follow.

Court Gives California More Time to Ease Prison Crowding
“In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an order to reduce the prison population [in California], agreeing that dire conditions compromised the health and safety of prisoners and violated their constitutional rights against cruel and inhuman punishment. Since then, California officials have repeatedly sought extra time to address the problem.
.. even as the judges granted more time to comply with the court order, they criticized the state’s efforts to delay the release of inmates, who remain packed into prisons at more than 144 percent of capacity.
…Until Monday’s ruling, California had until April to reduce its prison population to 137.5 percent of capacity from 144 percent; now, it has until the end of February 2016.”

California’s Prison Population Is Finally Down, But Will It Last?

“SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan 29 2015 (Reuters) – After years of controversy and legal trouble because of overcrowding in California’s mammoth prison system, the state’s inmate population dipped below the maximum level set by a federal court for the first time on Thursday.”

Is overcrowding in prisons still a problem in 2015 or do you believe the issue has been resolved?  Support your opinion.

California’s example is extreme.  Are other states experiencing prison overcrowding?  Explain.

What lessons can be learned by correctional administrators regarding the future of prison populations?

For full credit, add new information to the discussion, citing your sources.

Everyone working in corrections should have a working knowledge of supermax prisons. These prisons are for inmates who are the most violent and disruptive and cannot be effectively controlled in lower level security prisons. There is much disagreement between corrections practitioners, researchers, and certain inmate advocate groups on whether supermax prisons should be used and if they are effective. Review the several pages in our textbook that discuss supermax prisons and do some additional research on you own. Answer the following questions to get the conversation started:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of supermax prisons?
Do you think they are constitutional?
If you were a state corrections commissioner, would you use one?  If so, under what conditions?

Remember to cite your sources and to continue the challenging questions to classmates.

Now that we have studied the police, the courts, and corrections, let’s listen to Dr Wellford, UMCP, and Dr. Sondervan, UMUC, discuss why there are so many people in prisons.  Some of you touched on this topic in the previous discussions.  Let’s take a closer look at this challenging subject.

The videos will lead us to questions we should all think about.  Choose two of the following questions to answer:

  1. Does Wellford believe that the fact that the United States has a large prison population has led to decreased crime? Explain.
  2. Wellford suggests applying a cost-benefit analysis to the high level of incarceration. What are the conclusions of such an analysis?
  3. Why don’t we get more crime prevention from our policies, according to Wellford? What is Wellford’s solution? Do you agree with it or not?
  4. Summarize the trends that Sondervan mentions. Did anything surprise you? What and why?
  5. What separates the United States from other countries in terms of incarceration rates? What’s your opinion about this fact?

 What would be your solution to prison overcrowding? 

There is perhaps no more controversial, emotional and hotly debated issue in criminal justice than the death penalty.

For this week’s discussion, listen to Dr. Sondervan discuss the step-by-step process that occurs during an execution.  Dr. Sondervan served as execution team commander when he was the Deputy Commissioner of Corrections for Maryland, when Maryland still had a death penalty.  Scroll down to Part III and Part IV and watch the six short video clips.
Reread the death penalty section in our text and do some research on your own.  Then answer the following questions to get the conversation going:

What do you see as the pros and cons of the death penalty?
What methods are used for executions in this country?
What impact do executions have on the corrections staff that has to carry them out?
Do you believe the death penalty is constitutional and do you support it as a US citizen?

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