Study Guides for Homeland Security Comps

Keep in mind that comps are a multiple choice test and these are not multiple choice questions.  However, if you can answer these questions you should be able to answer the multiple choice versions within comps.

Overview/Policy -

1.  Is there individualized justice in our CJ system?  Why or why not?  Is individualized justice a good idea?

2.  Discuss the role of the media in creating public policy.  Include in this discussion the concept of moral panics.

3.  Describe examples of the “overreach” of criminal law and net widening practices.  How do these practices effect crime rates.

4.  Does the death penalty provide a deterrent to crime?

5.  Can gun control measures have an effect on crime?  Why or why not?

6.  Explain the role of politics in the criminal justice system. (discuss at least 2 areas of the system)

7.  Explain the importance of maintaining current knowledge of legal issues for the performance of management duties.

8.  Explain the budgetary process, including the various types of budgets and how they apply to different criminal justice agencies.

9.  Explain in detail the role of the crime victim in the criminal justice system.  (discuss at least 2 areas of the system)

10.  Is the Criminal Justice System weak or tough on crime?  Explain.

11.  Is waging a "war" on crime or drugs a good policy?  Explain.

12.  Examine the idea of police (line) officers as policy makers.  How does this affect the Criminal Justice System?

13.  Describe the policy making process - what are the elements of a good policy, the things to consider when making a policy, etc.  Give an example of a policy to ground your answer.

14.  Compare/contrast the two models of the criminal justice system (due process and crime control).

15.  Is rehabilitation a legitimate goal in the criminal justice system?  Why or why not?  Assuming it is, are we actually accomplishing this goal?  Why or why not?

16.  Examine the differences between the Liberal and the Conservative crime control measures?  Use at least 2 examples of each and demonstrate why they are effective or why they are not.

17.  Discuss the variety of sentencing schemes that have been proposed to address the crime problem.  Do they work?

18. Discuss the various models of the criminal justice system – wedding cake, crime control, funnel, etc.  What are the key features and differences between the models.

19. Discuss diversion programs as a way of treating offenders without the normal formal processing – distinguish between those for juveniles and those for adults.

20.  Discuss the exclusionary rule and its role in case processing.

21.  Discuss the specialized programs within policing that are designed to aid in the mission of the system – zero tolerance, COMPSTAT, smart policing, hot spots, etc.

22. Discuss the pros and cons of sex offender registration policies.

23.  What is evidence based policy and how does it differ from other forms of policy?

24. Discuss the importance of theory and research in policy formulation.

25. Discuss the reasons why a failed policy or program might be retained.

Research Methods

1. What is the role of theory in criminological/criminal justice research?
2. Choose a recent journal article and identify (1) the research problem, (2) research design, (3) data-gathering strategy, (4) dependent variable(s), (5) independent variable(s), and (6) operationalization of the key dependent and independent variables.
3. Research in criminal justice and criminology faces many ethical hazards. How concerned should researchers be with ethical conduct in research? What are some elements of a code of ethics for criminology/criminal justice research?
4. Define quantitative and qualitative research and discuss the application of each in the study of criminal justice.
5. Discuss the general steps in empirical research in criminal justice.
6. Discuss the issue of confidentiality and the protection of subjects in criminal justice research.
7. Distinguish between causality and correlation.
8. Discuss the three general types of experimental designs.
9. Discuss the Uniform Crime Report as a measure of crime in the United States. Identify and discuss the UCR index offenses.
10. Define sampling and discuss the various probability and nonprobability samples.
11. Identify the preferred methods of questionnaire wording and construction.
12. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages to mail and internet surveys. How might researchers increase responses in these surveys?
13. What problems might criminal justice researchers encounter with self-report surveys? Discuss ways of checking the validity of self-report surveys.
14. Define and discuss the three basic forms of interviews. What are the pros and cons of each
15. Identify and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of participant observation. Identify and discuss methods in which participant observers may validate research findings.
16. Identify and discuss the primary arguments that have been presented against quantitative studies such as surveys and experiments in criminal justice.
17. Identify and discuss the major types of unobtrusive measures.
18. Define content analysis and provide some examples of criminal justice research that has employed it.
19. Define validity.  Identify and discuss the various ways of determining validity. Provide examples of how this can be accomplished.
20. Define reliability. Identify and discuss the primary methods of attempting to demonstrate reliability.
21. Identify and discuss the four levels on which variables may be measured - Nominal, ordinal, internal, ratio.
22. Identify and discuss Likert’s scaling procedures. Discuss other scaling options that may exist.
23. Identify and discuss the various methods used to standardize data so that useful comparisons can be made between unequal populations.
24. Identify and discuss the various types of graphic presentation – graphs, pie charts, etc.

Homeland Security

  1. Discuss the flaws of our security for the country before the terrorist attacks and what Homeland Security is doing to overcome these flaws.  Are these changes making us more safe?  Are they doing something else for us?
  1. How does the Department of Homeland Security affect our response to other national problems such as natural disasters?
  1. Discuss the need for Homeland Security to work with other agencies within the country to prepare for and respond to future terrorist attacks - who are these other agencies and what would their roles be?
  1. Discuss some of the new technologies that are being used to help with Homeland Security.  Assess their potential to keep us safe, and their potential to have other consequences - negative or positive - on our society.
  1. What gaps exist in our national security and how are we filling them through Homeland Security?  Do you think we focus too much in one area and not enough in others?  Which areas?
  1. Discuss the role that businesses and other private entities can play in Homeland Security.  Are we making effective use of these potential resources?
  1. Why do the various police and intelligence agencies fail to share information or work together to fight crime and terrorism? What methods are now in place to help overcome this issue?
  1. Discuss the differences in the threats posed by domestic and international terrorists.  Is the police role different for these different types of threats?
  1. Discuss the role of state and local law enforcement under Homeland Security?
  1. Discuss the threat Bin Laden and al Qaeda posed to the US before 9-11.
  1. Discuss the idea of incident command and how this helps police respond to both terrorist and non-terrorist situations.
  1. Discuss the Patriot Act - its various sections and the legal challenges each section faces
  1. Discuss the various pieces of legislation that create and define Homeland Security and its parts, duties, etc.
  1. Discuss the 9/11 Commission and its work/findings.
  1. Discuss the concept of critical infrastructure – components, threats, methods of security, etc.
  1. Discuss the Department of Homeland security and its major directorates.
  1. Discuss the issues surrounding security at our nation’s borders.  What methods are we using to enhance that security and what vulnerabilities remain?
  2. 18. Discuss the issues surrounding illegal immigration - crimes and other threats by the immigrants, agencies and methods involved in control, etc.