CRJU 4600-001/6600-001 Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Case Studies in CJ

CRJU 4600-001/6600-001 Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Case Studies in CJ

CRJU 4600-001/6600-001 Special Topics in Criminal Justice: Case Studies in CJ

School of Public Affairs

University of Colorado Denver

Fall Semester 2017

Lawrence Street Building Room 525A, 2:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m., Tuesday & Thursday

Instructor: Mark R. Pogrebin, Professor of Criminal Justice

Office Location: 1380 Lawrence Street Center, Suite 500A

Office Hours: T & TH 12:30 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. or by appointment

Phone: 303-315-2871; Fax: 303-315-:2229; Email:

Course Description

This seminar attempts to examine the lives of people who live on the margins of a society that perceives them as outsiders. Ethnographic studies which utilized observations, participant observations and interviews as their primary research methodology are assigned in order to develop a critical understanding of the social marginalization and cultural aspects of the lives of real human beings living on the constant edge of the law.

Course Objectives

Since the course is aimed at stimulating students to contribute in meaningful ways to assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of issues regarding race, poverty, discrimination and the criminal justice systemat the highest level of academic rigor, successful students are expected to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. understand the lived experiences of those people who are most marginalized by our society and those who find themselves in the system (i.e., victims, offenders, etc.);
  2. become familiar with the theoretical, philosophical and political underpinnings of crime control agencies and understand how criminal justice practices are shaped by these assumptions;
  3. understand the benefits, drawbacks and competing considerations involved in different approaches to address social control of the most impoverished people in our country;
  4. think critically about the socioeconomic system of our nation that finds the poorest people subjected to locked in marginalization; and
  5. improve understanding of research and its role in explaining the impact on racial and ethnic disparity and poverty in general.

Student Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. understand concepts and theories used to attempt to control crime;
  2. identify and discuss how the independent and integrative effects of race, class, and gender generate a disparate criminal justice experience for particular societal groups;
  3. knowledgably speak about critical pedagogies which endorse a just criminal justice system that is necessary for movement towards a just and equitable system of justice in our country.

Required Text

Alice Goffman, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City.

Matthew Desmond,Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.

Dean A. Dabney & Richard Tewksbury, Speaking Truth to Power: Confidential Informants and Police Investigations.

Mark R. Pogrebin, Paul B. StreteskyN. PrabhaUnnithan, Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The Offender’s Perspective.

Course Requirements and Policies

1.Attendance. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of every class period. Students are permitted up to four absences, no questions asked and no penalty attached. After having exceeded these four absences an amount that totals two weeks of missed class, student’s grades will be lowered. It is also the student’s responsibility to obtain any missed information and notes from other classmates.

2.Weekly Reading Assignments. All the readings assigned in this syllabus are mandatory. This means that students are responsible for keeping up with the all reading assignments. Students should read all of the materials and be prepared to be examined on them even if we do not discuss them in class. For those students presenting on the assigned readings it is required you draft three questions from the readings for class discussion. You should also bring your text to class each week. It is highly recommended students read ahead of the assigned reading schedule.

3.Grading Policy. Grades for this class will be determined on the following grading scale and criteria:

  • Book Analytical Papers = 33.33%
  • Final Take Home Exam = 33.33%
  • Attendance, class participation and article presentation = 33.33%

Book Analytical Papers will be completed for each book and will analyze the context and meaning of what was read.

4.Missed Assignments. All students are expected to be in class to participate and present assignments(this includes exams as well). Missed presentation will result in a possible lowered grade.

5.Incomplete Work. A grade of “Incomplete” is given at the instructor’s discretion and only when a student, for a circumstance or circumstances beyond his or her control and with timely notification to professor, is unable to complete course requirements. The student must have successfully completed at least 75 percent of the course at the time of the request for consideration of a grade of incomplete. The terms and conditions of arrangements for successful completion of the course (including specific time limits and deadlines) are determined by the instructor with the informed consent of the student. If no report is received from the instructor within one year of original course completion, the grade will automatically become an "F." It is the student’s responsibility to request a grade of "W" when he/she needs to withdraw officially from a course. Students who stop attending class without notifying both the instructor and the SPA office of student services will receive a grade of "F."

6.Extra Credit Work. To maintain equity in grading, I do not allow students to submit work in any form or manner for extra credit. Your course grade is solely based on your performance on the two scheduled exams and presentations.

7.Course Etiquette. To promote a civil learning environment, students should observe the following classroom rules: (1) Set cell phones and pagers to silent; answer them only if absolutely necessary (i.e., a situation where a reasonable person under similar circumstances would deem it necessary to answer the call). If you must answer the call, leave the classroom as unobtrusively as possible before commencing your conversation. (2) Arrive to the classroom prior to the official starting time for class; be in your seat and prepared to begin activities at 11:00 a.m. sharp. Excessive tardiness that tends to disrupt normal class activities should be avoided. (3) Do not do work on readings or assignments for other classes. A laptop computer may be used only to assist in taking notes. There is no need to be checking emails or other sites during class time. (5) Refrain from side conversations during lectures or student presentations that may disrupt or interfere with these class activities.

University Policies

1.Student Conduct & Discipline. The University has rules and regulations for the orderly and efficient conduct of its business. It is the responsibility of each student to be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student conduct and activities. [See the University Policies and Guidelines web site ( for a complete guide to the both university-wide and campus-specific policies and procedures for students in their academic pursuits.]

2.Academic Integrity. The University and SPA expect from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts, or omissions related to applications for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one’s own work or material that is not one’s own. As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating, plagiarism, collusion, or falsifying academic records. Students suspected of academic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary proceedings, which may lead to failure on an assignment or exam, a failing final grade assigned for the course, and suspension or dismissal from the university. Students are expected to be knowledgeable of and act in good faith accordance with campus policies about academic honesty as stated in the University’s Student Conduct Code. Consult the Academic Honor Code and Discipline Policies, Code of Student Conduct at

3.Email Use. The University recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The University requires all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s UCD-assigned email address and that faculty and staff consider email from a student as official only if it originates from a UCD student account. This allows the University to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals corresponding and the security of the transmitted information. The University furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with University personnel. Students may activate their official email accounts by following the instructions provided on the following webpage:

4. Disability Services. Students with a disability that is within the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act must inform their instructor at the beginning of the term of their special needs and request those accommodations, including any equipment, which they feel are essential for completing the requirements of this course. The instructor will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations when and where appropriate. Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources and Services (DRS), Student Commons Building, Suite 2116 (phone: (303) 315-3510, fax: (303) 315-5315, email: ​) as soon as possible to coordinate and implement accommodations in a timely fashion. DRS provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student has a disability and needs accommodations. You may review the accommodation policy at

Note: Students should carefully review this syllabus in great detail. Students are expected to comply with the terms and conditions, express or implied, incorporated herein. If there are any subsequent revisions of this syllabus (including modifications, additions or deletions) and related announcements in class or via official email concerning implementation of these changes, it will be the responsibility of the student to learn what those revisions and announcements are. The failure of a student to learn of any change will not be a basis for excusing the student from the requirements of this syllabus as reflected in any revision.

5. The following University policies govern a variety of academic rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of students, faculty and staff. Please review these materials so that you may make informed decisions and exercise due diligence during your academic career.

• Academic Freedom Policy

• Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

• Attendance Policy

University of Colorado Denver Administrative Policy Syllabus Page 3

• Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures

• Grade Appeal Policy

6. Please use the following link to access the Spring Semester 2016 Academic Calendar for important deadlines and related academic information:

Book Chapter Student Presentation

Each chapter presentationwill consist of two student presenters. Two chapters for each book will be completed per class meeting-40 minutes each.

Presenters should address a short overview of the chapter's highlights, and then offer some personal thoughts on its content. Lastly, each presenting pair will offer three major questions that the class can discuss.The chapter presenters will lead the discussion. The class discussion will analyze the chapter's major issues.

Book Reviews

After completing each of the four books covered for this seminar, book reviews will be produced by each student.

The reviews should include the following:

1. A typed double spaced paper no more than eight pages;

2. Provide a brief overview of what the book's major contents was about;

3. Analyze (provide your commentary) of the major issues the author(s) attempted to cover by conducting and writing their research. A major part of your analysis should include your thoughts concerning the research methods utilized by the author(s).

The final part of the review (critique) should have your concluding thoughts. This part of your paper should incorporate a brief but important summary of the research issues covered in the book which should consist of your overall impression of the book's value in adding social-science knowledge to the study of marginalized people in our nation.

Reading Schedule: CRJU Topics in Criminal Justice

On The Run

Class must all read the prologue, preface, and introduction (pp. ix-8) and be prepared for a class discussion8/24/17.

Scheduled Reading / Presenters
8/29/17. The 6th Street Boys and Their Legal Entanglements (pp. 9-22) / 1A. Gray Bennion
1B. Darya Aziz
8/31/17. The Art of Running (pp. 23-54) / 2A.Joshua Feliz Martinez
2B.Shayla Salazar
9/5/17. When the Police Knock Your Door In (pp. 55-90) / 3A. Alejandro Banuelos
3B. Adriana Arambula
9/7/17. Turning Legal Troubles into Personal Resources (pp. 91-108) / 4A. Debra Luna
4B. Sarah MacDonald
9/12/17.The Social Life of Criminalized Young People (pp. 109-142) / 5A. Brandon Johnson
5B. James Miles
9/14/17.The Market in Protections and Privileges pp. 143-164 / 6A.JeyssyMelgar
6B. Autum Sears
9/19/17.Clean People (pp. 165-196) / 7A.HailiStraka
7B. Darya Aziz

Conclusion and Epilogue (pp. 197-208) must be read by whole class and be prepared for class discussion9/21/17.

Speaking Truth to Power

Scheduled Reading / Presenters
9/26/17.Police and Confidential Informants (pp.1-18) / 1A.Brandon Johnson
1B. Darya Aziz
9/28/17.Study Methods (pp. 19-27) / 2A. Joshua Feliz Martinez
2B. JeyssyMelgar
10/3/17.Types of Informants (pp. 28-62) / 3A.Alejandro Banuelos
3B. Debra Luna
10/5/17.Working with Informants (pp. 63-84) / 4A.Autum Sears
4B. James Miles
10/10/17.The Game: The Impact of Community Context on Information Use (pp. 85-106) / 5A.HailiStraka
5B. Brandon Johnson
10/12/17.Maintaining Relationships with Informants (pp. 107-149) / 6A.Joshua Feliz Martinez
6B. JeyssyMelgar
10/17/17.Benefits of Working with Informants (pp. 150-165) / 7A. Gray Bennion
7B.Autum Sears
10/19/17.Pitfalls of Working with Informants (pp. 166-187) / 8A. Alejandro Banuelos
8B. Debra Luna

Summary and Implications (pp. 188-204) will be read and discussed by whole class. 10/24/17.

Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior

Scheduled Reading / Presenters
10/26/17.Introduction: The Gun Offender’s Perspective (pp. 1-22) / 1. Gray Bennion
10/26/17.Motives for Criminal Gun Use (pp. 23-50) / 2. Sarah MacDonald
10/31/17.Guns and Street Gang Culture (pp. 51-74) / 3.Shayla Salazar
10/31/17.How Incarceration Shapes Views and the Use of Guns (pp. 75-100) / 4. Adriana Arambula
11/3/17.Changing Concealed Carry Laws (pp. 101-120) / 5. Darya Aziz

Conclusion: Limiting Gun Violence (pp. 121-128) will be discussed in class. 11/3/17.


Prologue (pp. 1-5) must be read by whole class for discussion.11/7/17.

Scheduled Reading / Presenters
11/7/17. PART ONE: RENT (pp. 9-52)
The Business of Owning the City
Making Rent
Hot Water
A Beautiful Collection / 1A. Alejandro Banuelos
1B. JeyssyMelgar
11/9/17. PART ONE RENT (pp. 53-110)
Thirteenth Street
Rat Hole
The Sick
Christmas in Room 400 / 2A.Autum Sears
2B. Gray Bennion
11/14/17. PART TWO: OUT (pp. 111-166)
Order Some Carryout
Hypes for Hire
The ‘Hood is Good
Disposable Ties / 3A. Adriana Arambula
3B. James Miles
11/16/17. PART TWO: OUT (pp. 167-206)
High Tolerance
A Nuisance
Ashes on Snow / 4A. Sarah MacDonald
11/28/17.PART THREE: AFTER (pp. 207-254)
This is America
Lobster on Food Stamps
Nobody Wants the North Side / 5A.Shayla Salazar
5B. Brandon Johnson
11/30/17.PART THREE: AFTER (pp. 255-292)
Bigheaded Boy
If They Give Momma the Punishment
The Serenity Club
Can’t Win for Losing / 6A. Joshua Feliz Martinez
6B. Debra Luna

Epilogue and About this Project (pp. 293-336) must be read by all students and be prepared for class discussion. 12/5/17.

ON 12/5/17, you will be required to turn in your book review for Evicted. On that date, I will give you a take home final exam which will be due on 12/12/17.