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Assignment 1: LASA 2: Centervale’s Citizens Fear of Crime

Here's What Happened . . .

The murder of Jones sent shock waves through the city of Centervale. Jason Rivers was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to six years in prison.

In a strange twist of fate, the state legislature created a new law that addressed multiyear prison sentences, as the state legislature struggled to meet budgetary constraints, by releasing offenders who serve half their sentence if the offenders had no infractions within ninety days of the time they come up for release. Rivers was released after serving three and half years in prison. Unfortunately, within weeks, Rivers brutally assaulted an elderly female in an attempted robbery and his parole was revoked.

The case of Rivers has become the "poster child" for opponents of the new legislation who argue that criminal justice research shows offender recidivism rates are very high for violent offenders. On the other hand, proponents of the new legislation stand on the claim that Rivers is a victim because he did not have adequate programming available to him during his youth that would have steered him clear of criminal behavior; he should be given alternative sanctions to address his issues.

Citizens of Centervale approach the mayor and other city officials with concerns about how the police department operates in Centervale. Some of the citizens want a transparent police department and more stringent background checks before officers are hired. This move comes on the heels of the former detective whose off-duty behavior was brought to the forefront during the murder trial of Rivers.

Citizens are concerned that crime is out of control in Centervale. Citizens are also disappointed by the new legislation that created the situation for Rivers's release because the elderly female who was victimized in the robbery was a beloved, retired, first-grade teacher in the Centervale Elementary School. Overall, citizens are showing little support for local and state law enforcement and are demonstrating little faith in the criminal justice system after the assault on the elderly woman.

As an intern for the DA's office, it is part of your duty to help the DA reach out to citizens in the community. The DA, the Chief of Police, and the Mayor have met on the issues raised by the citizens of Centervale. The DA's office is planning a Citizen's Academy in partnership with the Centervale Police Department.

The goal is not only to address the issues that citizens have with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, but also to educate citizens about the obstacles and challenges that criminal justice professionals face in trying to do the right thing for the community, while balancing numerous variables that are out of their control.

Here Is What You Need to Do . . .

Using in-text citations to cite all sources that are linked to a corresponding reference on a separate page of the report, compose a 8- to 10-page report using APA format, addressing the following:

  • Evaluate and discuss the totality of the situation presented here in LASA 1 and LASA 2. What patterns and cycles can you identify that relate to patterns and cycles in the trends of the US Criminal Justice System? Discuss a minimum of two patterns from the historical perspective to create a foundation for the remainder of your report on the overarching issues.
  • Analyze and discuss the damaging effects of corruption on law enforcement by relating this issue to the arrest of a law enforcement officer for a high-profile crime—property, violent, or white collar. Explain how an officer's choices and behavior might affect an entire law enforcement agency, its reputation in the community, agency funding, and other community or criminal justice-related issues.
  • Discuss how the legislature defines criminal behavior and how money influences every decision they make for the criminal justice system's daily functions. (Often, citizens have no idea of the events going on in their state capitals until new legislation is signed into law. This was the case in Centervale when citizens learned of Rivers's release.) Suggest a plan on how Centervale's criminal justice professionals can help to bridge the gap between the legislature and the citizens by bringing more awareness about legislation that might affect them before it is signed into law (that is, public safety legislation, sentencing trends in legislation, and crime control legislation).
  • Support your position on the early release of violent offenders from prison with criminal justice research on recidivism and other pertinent topics, such as budgetary constraints.
  • Analyze and discuss the citizens "fear of crime" concern that they have brought to the Mayor and other city officials from the violent crime standpoint. In addition, create recommendations as supported by research and examples for how Centervale officials, including the DA's office and CPD employees, can work together to restore the confidence of the citizens. This move comes on the heels of the former detective whose off-duty behavior was brought to the forefront during the murder trial of Rivers. The detective used personal information he collected during investigations to purchase personal items.

Submission Details:

  1. Save the report as M5_A1_Lastname_Firstname.doc
  2. By the due date assigned, submit your report to the Submissions Area.

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