I teach a variety of courses in the Criminal Justice program, most of which focus on corrections. My courses include CRIM 234 Introduction to Corrections, CRIM 370 Prisons, CRIM 370 Incarceration Effects, CRIM 370 Death Penalty, CRIM 371 Criminological Theory, and CRIM 401 Community Corrections. I have also taught SOC 121 Principles of Sociology and SOC 392 Statistics for Social Research, as well as a special course CRIM 370 National Security.
Below are descriptions of the courses I regularly teach.
CRIM 234 Introduction to Corrections: This course examines the historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations of the correction systems and organizations. Topics include but are not limited to sentencing options, treatment of prisoners, prisoner subcultures, prison, life, rehabilitative programming for prisoners, prisoner healthcare, prisoners’ rights, community-based corrections, prisoner release and reentry, and the nature of working in and managing prisons. In this course, students visit the Vanderburgh County Jail and the Posey County Jail.
CRIM 370: An intensive, small-group discussion of recent, provocative books on topics of current interest to criminal justice professionals and criminologists. The seminar format will emphasize critical thinking and discussion. I teach several CRIM 370 topics, including Prisons, Death Penalty, and Incarceration Effects.
In CRIM 370 Prisons, we discuss prison culture for males and females, violence in prison, relationships between staff and inmates, and prison gangs (security threat groups). We typically read both historical and contemporary research on correctional facilities, as well as personal accounts written by inmates. Students visit various correctional facilities in Indiana and Kentucky. In previous semesters, we have visited Branchville Correctional Facility, a men's medium-security facility in Branchville, IN, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, a men's maximum-security facility in Carlisle, IN, Rockville Correctional Facility, a women's medium-security facility in Rockville, IN, Kentucky State Penitentiary, a men's maximum-security facility in Eddyville, KY, the Ross-Cash Center, a women's minimum-security facility in Fredonia, KY, and Western Kentucky Correctional Complex, a men's medium-security facility in Fredonia, KY.
In CRIM 370 Death Penalty, we discuss the historical context of the death penalty in the United States and explore how the modern death penalty is able to exist in the contemporary United States. This involves contrasting the political system of the United States to other Western nations. We also examine major U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding the death penalty.
In CRIM 370 Incarceration Effects, instead of focusing on incarceration itself, our focus is on how incarceration's broader impacts. Specific topics include examining how incarceration affects children and families, how incarceration impacts communities (both communities that have a significant percentage of their population entering and leaving prisons and those that are home to correctional facilities), and how incarceration impacts offenders post-release, including the impact on employment and voting rights.
CRIM 371 Criminological Theory: This course is a survey of the historical and contemporary theoretical explanations that relate to crime, offenders, victims, and the criminal justice system. The major emphases of the course will be the evaluation, assessment, and critical analysis of criminological theory in general and the use of such theories in criminal justice policies. We examine a variety of criminological theories, including both classical and contemporary criminological theory, and the development of criminological theory over time. Focus is on the application and policy implications of theories as well as critiquing theories.
CRIM 401 Community Corrections: The processes of probation and parole in the United States in terms of its historical development, philosophy, and standards; attention is focused on the utilization of parole and probation as tools of social control with special emphasis on the implications of the philosophical impact of probation and parole on field practices. I typically teach CRIM 401 in an online format where students respond to scenarios that put themselves in the position of a community corrections officer. Students then respond to what other students wrote regarding the scenario. A great deal of emphasis is on the role of the community corrections officer and navigating the law enforcement and social worker roles inherent in supervising offenders in the community.