Annotated Bibliography: Criminology Majors

The following sample Criminal Justice annotated bibliography is 1151 words long, in APA format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 19 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.

Annotated Bibliography

Garberg, N. M., & Libkuman, T. M. (2009). Community sentiment and the juvenile offender: Should juveniles charged with felony murder be waived into the adult criminal justice system?. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 27(4), 553-575.

The Felony Murder Rule holds that if a murder takes place while a felony has been committed, everyone who took part in that felony can be charged for murder. Since adolescents are more likely than their adult counterparts to engage in group criminal behavior, they are more susceptible to the felony murder rule. In this study, the researchers consider how community sentiment of its participants would react to sentencing for juveniles engaged in group criminal activity in which a murder was committed based upon the felony murder rule or the just deserts philosophy. The just desserts perspective holds that for juveniles especially, the punishments should fit the crimes. Thus, in this study, when there are four different roles the juveniles may be engaged in, triggerman, sidekick, lookout, and getaway driver, the driver, and lookout would receive sentences proportionate to the responsibility they had in the murder under the just desert’s philosophy.

In this study, the hypothesis was that the community would first naturally tend toward a proportional sentencing manner than follow the felony murder rule. Secondly, it was hypothesized that defendants who were charged with premeditated and accidental-death were both more likely to be transferred to the criminal justice system than those in a no-death condition. Finally, the triggerman who actually killed would receive the steepest punishment. The experimenters initiated three experiments in which case studies of such instances were presented to participants.

They found that the community members, more so than student participants, were more likely to send juvenile defendants to adult court in every experiment. Overall, the defendants were more transferred to adult systems based upon the nature of their crime rather than the felony murder rule. They suggest this finding should be taken into account in the courts. In sum, this is a strong study which, in it focus to answer one question, managed to answer several others. The study successfully confirmed its hypothesis and explained why with theory this may be. Future research could explore even more variations in the case study considerations shown to the participants. For my research, this study is especially valuable in demonstrating a significant trend among students to adopt proportionate sentencing measures.

Lambert, E., & Clarke, A. (2004). Crime, capital punishment, and knowledge: are criminal justice majors better informed than other majors about crime and capital punishment?. The Social Science Journal, 41(1), 53-66.

In this study, the problem identified is the discrepancy in knowledge about the justice system shown between those with criminology education and the general public. Although much of law is determined by public opinion, those with specialization in the field, such as students with criminal justice education, may have a greater understanding of the criminal justice field and its hardships than the general public. To test this theory, the researchers sampled 730 college students of all years and majors at a Michigan 4-year public university on matters such as the death penalty and related criminal justice effects.

While there was some effect in the answers based upon the student’s majors, the difference was not as substantial or consistent as expected by the authors. They explain this discrepancy as possibly be due to the emotionality of criminal justice issues, like the death penalty, which may override learned facts on the subject. In addition to such ‘biased assimilation,’ the authors argue that the participants may not understand how numerical values apply within the context of social problems, the innumeracy theory. The greatest limitation of this study was that all the participants were chosen from the same Michigan University and, therefore, may have found effects that are more particular to that college rather than criminology majors in general. This study is of high relevance for my own study because it discusses both the theoretical background for differences in criminology major’s perceptions of crimes, as well as possible pitfalls to avoid in designing surveying research questions.

Mackey, D. A., & Courtright, K. E. (2000). Assessing punitiveness among college students: A comparison of criminal justice majors with other majors. Criminal Justice Studies, 12(4), 423-441.

In contrast to the previous study, the authors here hypothesized that students with criminal justice education would have more punitive views on crimes than all other majors. This tendency may be due to personal characteristics in those who entered the criminal justice field rather than changes that have occurred since they have become educated. To test their hypothesis, a ‘punitiveness’ survey test was created and administered across five schools in the North East for a total of 633 participants with 60% of them being criminal justice majors. In sum, there was an increasing trend amongst the criminal justice majors towards punishment than non-majors, a finding that confirms their hypothesis.

The strength of this study was the robustness of its sample which drew upon several different schools for its study. Conversely, its measurement of ‘punitiveness’ as a quality as opposed to actual sentences derived from case studies, may not as much application as other studies. In other words, while criminal justice majors may be more punitive, this study does not effectively measure how this punitiveness is actually applied in the sentencing of criminals for their various crimes. This should be considered a key area of future research. Also, a possible limitation may be present in a confirmation bias since the authors state that the reason for hypothesizing that criminal justice students have an increased tendency towards punitive measures is from a discussion they had with students in their own courses. Questions, therefore, from their survey, may be skewed to confirming factors that the authors already knew about the students.

Nevertheless, the discrepancy between this study and the previous one on how criminal justice students perceive punishments for crimes is a controversy that gives my own study the benefit of addressing an important gap in the research. Are criminal justice students more likely to be punitive because they have a pre-established motive for entering the field, or are they less punitive because they have learned more about the difficulties of criminals in the systems? My own research may help to solve this query.

References

Garberg, N. M., & Libkuman, T. M. (2009). Community sentiment and the juvenile offender: Should juveniles charged with felony murder be waived into the adult criminal justice system?. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 27(4), 553-575.

Lambert, E., & Clarke, A. (2004). Crime, capital punishment, and knowledge: are criminal justice majors better informed than other majors about crime and capital punishment?. The Social Science Journal, 41(1), 53-66.

Mackey, D. A., & Courtright, K. E. (2000). Assessing punitiveness among college students: A comparison of criminal justice majors with other majors. Criminal Justice Studies, 12(4), 423-441.