Of the 26 college students who teamed up this semester to participate in Wednesday’s debate over the issue of gun control at the Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, only half boarded the bus at the end of the day to make the long drive back to Washington State University in Pullman. The remaining 13, enrolled on-site in programs offered through Walla Walla Community College, instead rejoined the inmate population of the all-male correctional facility.
For the undergraduates from WSU – juniors and seniors working on majors within the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology – the trek to Coyote Ridge was the fourth and final one of the semester. And while second amendment rights may have served as the focus for their debate, most of the Criminal Justice students were drawn to the experience primarily for the opportunity to develop something more than an abstract notion about the realities of working within the corrections system.
Building on earlier research in which they challenged the widespread belief that rural communities can create job growth by hosting state prisons, researchers at Washington State University have now found local job growth is often impeded in communities that become hosts to privately operated prisons.
“Our most recent research, which relies on a large, comprehensive national dataset, is consistent with our prior work showing that prisons really make little contribution to local economic growth,” said Gregory Hooks, professor of sociology at WSU. “Moreover, our study reveals that, in states moving quickly to turn over management of their prison systems to outside companies, the privatization of prisons often has a negative impact on employment prospects in host counties.”
NBC’s Bay Area Investigative Unit found, on average, there is a crash every other day in California, caused by an emergency driver who is distracted.
The report features Bryan Vila, a professor of criminal justice and a researcher associated with the WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center at WSU Spokane. The study reviewed more than 2.4 million collision reports recorded by the CHP from 2006-2011. Click the following link to see the NBC video report.
Vila and his team have been examining the impact of fatigue and distractions on law enforcement officer driving performance. They also have been comparing collision risks for those who work day shifts with those who work night shifts.
The work is being done under a two-year contract with the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
The study is part of a continuing line of research related to police officer performance, safety, and health spearheaded by Vila, who heads a simulation laboratory that is designed to mimic police officers’ work environments and is located in WSU Spokane’s Sleep and Performance Research Center.
Washington State University will launch an online master of arts in criminal justice in fall 2013, said David Brody, chair of WSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.
Brody said the program emphasizes theoretically based applied research, which will benefit both working professionals and recent graduates looking to enter the field or pursue a Ph.D.
“The degree provides skills that help students advance their careers, be intelligent decision-makers, evaluate information, and conduct important research,” he said. “We don’t just teach them how to do something. We teach them theory and its application so they’ll understand why to do something.” Continue story →
Washington State University’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice has been ranked third in the nation by TheBestSchools.org.
The ranking cites WSU’s long history in criminal justice education as well as the professional experience of the faculty.
The ranking follows several other top national rankings for WSU Online in the last year:
Sixth place for supporting the military in the 2012 Guide to Online Schools.
Fourth place for the overall degree program from the SuperScholars website.
Sixth place from U.S. News & World Report for student services and technology.
WSU Online, part of WSU’s Global Campus, offers eight online undergraduate programs and eight master’s programs, including the new master’s in agriculture with a food science and management specialization.