1003.fall.10&11 - Martin D Schwartz...

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Martin D. Schwartz Section 10 TTH 11:10-12:25 GELM B04 SOCIOLOGY1003 (formerly 003) Section 11 TTH 2:20-3:35 GELM B04 Introduction to Criminal Justice George Washington University E-mail: [email protected] (note spelling) Office: Phillips Hall 409F Office phone: (202) 994-6349 (no answering machine) Office hours: TR 1:15-2:15 Graduate teaching assistants: Mark Magidson ( [email protected] Varya Zhigilei [email protected] Office: Phillips Hall 409M Office phone: (202) 994-8611 Office hours: W 10-12 + TBD This class meets the following requirements: - A G-PAC distribution requirement in the social sciences. - Critical thinking in the general education requirement. - Criminal Justice major and minor requirements. Course Overview : This course will focus on one of the most highly debated and emotionally charged social processes in our contemporary world—the criminal justice system. Criminal Justice is a complex system, which has its own extensive history, organizational logic, and cultural mythology. In a class this size, people will have different reasons for taking this course. Some are interested in a career somewhere in criminal justice, some are interested in the topic, and some are looking to fulfill a requirement or needed elective. However, you will find that much of the material here is central to being a citizen of the world, to being a voter, making decisions for you and your community. We will center on the American system, and its Anglo roots, but the concepts and notions we will cover are more or less found in any system in the world based on ethics or justice. Of course, systems based on Nazi ideology, systems of faith or religion, or racism (e.g., South Africa under Apartheid, the U.S. under “Jim Crow” racist laws) have major differences, but probably not as much in the day-to-day details of dealing with theft, burglary and simple fraud, but rather in questions of who is prosecuted or persecuted under political regimes. Since September 11, 2001, in the U.S. and in most other countries, we have been more directly confronted with fundamental tensions that have always shaped American justice. These include the conflict between public safety and individual rights, the expediency, efficiency, and fairness of American 1
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law and its enforcement, and appropriate ways in which to respond to criminal acts. Anyone who works in the CJS will be confronted with these tensions regularly, in addition to all of the usual workplaces stresses (managing people, getting the task done). CJ workers will often be in the position of making (sometimes split-second) decisions about people’s lives, careers, families, and futures. Even those at the lower levels must invoke and transform the law on a daily basis using their own discretion. Often, they are part of a system that is the last resort when all other social institutions have failed. For example, I was just writing an invited chapter on whether the arrest of offenders in domestic violence cases should be
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1003.fall.10&11 - Martin D Schwartz...

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