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College of Arts and Sciences Criminal Justice and Criminology

Study finds minimal effect on major crime from legal marijuana sales

Plastic bag containing marijuana.Legalizing recreational marijuana has had minimal effect on violent or property crime rates in Washington and Colorado, a WSU study funded by the National Institute of Justice has found.

“As the nationwide debate about legalization, the federal classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, and the consequences of legalization for crime continues, it is essential to center that discussion on studies that use contextualized and robust research designs » More …

With justice for all

Matt DeGarmo with students at a mock crime scene.Why do people commit crimes? There are a lot of theories, says Matt DeGarmo (’14 PhD criminal justice). Reasons range from needing to steal for simple survival to performing a cost-benefit analysis and deciding that crime does indeed pay.

When DeGarmo came to WSU to work on his doctorate, he says, “I was doing a lot of theory building,” trying to organize all the various theories of why people » More …

Helping non-violent offenders take the first step

View of a prison block from behind bars.Two criminal justice faculty members are playing key roles in a national effort to free thousands of non-violent prisoners and help them transition smoothly to civilian life.

The First Step Act signed into law late last year is designed to create a path to release for prisoners convicted of non-violent drug offenses. The prisoners earn credit for good behavior and are issued a risk profile based on a number of factors. That’s where WSU’s Zach Hamilton and Alex Kigerl come in. » More …

Passion for service leads to faculty development role

Melanie NeuillyAssociate Professor Melanie Neuilly knows a thing or two about managing personal and professional challenges.

When she landed a WSU seed grant that would fund a summer of research in Nice, France, she dreamed of an enriching research experience by day, romantic dinners on café terraces, and strolls on Mediterranean beaches by night. But once she began her research project, reality set in. » More …

Criminal justice, Spanish student selected to carry CAS gonfalon

Jordan SykesOutstanding senior in criminal justice and criminology Jordan Sykes will carry the College of Arts and Sciences gonfalon during all three WSU Pullman commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 4, in Beasley Coliseum.

“Attending WSU has been the best the decision that I have made in my life, and I am beyond proud to be a Coug,” Sykes said. “I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities that are available for students to grow.”

The honor of being selected as the » More …

Undergraduates’ data analysis, proposals could help reduce impaired driving

highway road and driver seen from back seat of carWhen Savanna Obernberger, a junior studying criminal justice, learned that drunk and drug-impaired drivers in the state kill nearly 200 people a year, she wanted to help solve the problem but didn’t know where to start.

A few months later, Obernberger and four classmates presented to the state Traffic Safety Commission a set of four innovative ways to tackle the problem of impaired driving. Their proposed solutions ranged from insurance cost incentives for safe driving to a smart phone app that helps » More …

Practical solutions to real crime issues

David MakinAfter leading police on a slippery, high-speed chase through snowy Spokane neighborhoods, running red lights and stop signs, driving through a resident’s yard, and slamming his stolen Subaru into a Jeep, a chronic car thief finally was caught, several minutes — and thousands of dollars in property damage — later.

Could anything have been done to prevent this crime spree?

A team of undergraduate researchers in David Makin’s Crime Prevention Strategies class would say yes, based on the in-depth study of vehicle theft prevention the students conducted » More …

FBI data show positive policing changes after cannabis legalization

David MakinWSU researchers have found that marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not hurt police effectiveness. In fact, clearance rates for certain crimes have improved.

Clearance rates — the number of cases solved, typically by the arrest of a suspect — were falling for violent and property crimes in the two states before they authorized retail sales of marijuana late in 2012. The rates then improved significantly in Colorado and Washington while remaining » More …

15 CAS students earn leadership, engagement awards

LEAD award title slideFifteen undergraduate students plus two faculty and one staff member from across the College of Arts and Sciences were recognized during the 2018 Leadership and Engagement Awards of Distinction ceremony on April 17.

Award recipients demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the university and the community and support the leadership development and engagement of WSU students. Recipients were selected through a nomination process » More …

Psychology senior chosen as 2018 WSU Student Employee of the Year

 Jackie BaltazarClerical assistant Jackie Baltazar’s presence in the WSU Dept. of Criminal Justice and Criminology provides a friendly atmosphere to visiting students, and staff rely on her as a trusted employee who strives to help everyone who comes through her door.

“I really like this job,” said Baltazar, a two-year employee and senior psychology major from Los Angeles. “It doesn’t feel like a job because I want to be here.”’ » More …