CJ511 - Nature of Crime



Kenneth W. Mentor J.D., Ph.D.




144 Breland Hall


(505) 646-5898

Office Hours:

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Course Structure

This is a "traditional" course with several web-based components. Our interactions will occur in the classroom as well as online. Assignments are arranged in course "modules." Each module includes reading, internet, and other assignments. Links to these modules are found on the course modules page. 

Throughout this course our focus will be on the analysis of several issues. Please think about these issues as you move through your assignments:

Definition of Crime and Criminals

What behavior and offenders have been defined as "criminal?" What is the process through which this definition occurs? 

How does the definition, and the process of defining, of "Crime" differ from the definition of "deviance?"

What activities, arguably criminal or deviant, are ignored in the process of definition?

Do these definitions introduce bias into our society and system of justice?

Are actions and behaviors defined as crime because they threaten existing social structure?

What is the role of norms and customs?

Why do People Commit Crime?

Are some people "born to be bad?"

Are criminals sick?

Do people learn to be bad? If so, from whom, and how, do they learn?

Is criminal and deviant behavior simply a result of rational choices?

What is the interaction of social status and crime? What about age, intelligence, and other factors?

Can we more clearly understand crime and deviance by examining gender?

Do crime rates differ among various populations? If so, can the varying rates be explained by cultural, social, or environmental factors? Does the definition process lead to different crime rates among different populations?

How has our understanding of crime changed over time?

Course Outline and Schedule

Click on the "Course Outline" and "Course Module" buttons to review the outline and schedule for this class. Assignments and due dates for modules are included in each module page. Be sure you review the entire Outline and Calendar within the first few days of the semester.



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Page last modified August 2003
Copyright 2003 - Kenneth W. Mentor, J.D., Ph.D.