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Week 1 Discussion


Notwithstanding the issue you chose to highlight in your assignment, what do you think are the three most critical criminal justice issues that need to be addressed in the 21st century? Why did you choose these issues? What difficulties can you see to resolving these issues?


We have access to more information from more sources than at any other time in history. How do you know which source will give you accurate and factual information? Should you just blindly accept that what the media tells you is factual? Choose a national criminal justice story reported within the last two weeks. Maybe you read an article in your local newspaper or heard about it on a news broadcast. Take some notes from that initial source. Investigate two other sources and how they have reported on the story.

If you read about it in a newspaper, watch Crime Watch Daily, Nancy Grace, or CNN to see how they report it. If you saw a broadcast about the story, investigate print media sources to see how they reported on the issue (your local newspaper, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, or the Washington Post, on their websites or through the library). Compare sources and report to the class in the discussions how those sources differed in what they reported. Your first post for the week can be your discussion of the issue and what you learned in the first source; your remaining posts can point out the differences between your sources. Also, be sure to address if you were surprised by how different sources reported the story. Why were the accounts different? Why do you think some facts were emphasized on some sources and not others?


Week 2 Discussion


Although television and movies depict that forensic evidence abounds at crime scenes, in a study of 400 homicide cases, only 13.5% actually had physical evidence that linked a suspect to the crime scene or the victim. Additionally, biological evidence was only present in 38% of crime scenes, latent fingerprints at only 28% of crime scenes, and DNA in just 4.5% of cases (O’Brien, 2010). Despite this reality, 75% of jurors in criminal cases expect to see forensic evidence believing it to be more reliable than police and witness testimony. Called the CSI Effect, prosecutors often call forensic scientists to testify, even if no forensic evidence was found at the crime scene.

What is the impact of the CSI Effect on the justice system? How can criminal justice professionals compete with inacurate media depictions of crime investigations?


One of the most significant issues facing law enforcement agencies is to obtain the trust of their communities. The media repeatedly reports on every law enforcement lapse in ethics to the point that many in the community believe that all law enforcement officers are racist and combative. Law enforcement relies on the cooperation of citizens to assist them in solving crimes.

What strategies can a police agency implement to develop relationships with the local community?

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