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NCJ Number: 201770 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Tour as a Pedagogical Tool in Undergraduate Criminal Justice Courses
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:28  Issue:8  Dated:August 2003  Pages:1-2,4,23,26
Author(s): Jacqueline B. Helfgott
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 7
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the pedagogical issue of integrating professional, field-based experiences with the achievement of curricular goals in current criminal justice undergraduate programs.
Abstract: Criminal justice undergraduate programs are growing in popularity in universities across the country. Today’s criminal justice major is more than likely to be a typical undergraduate student with little or no criminal justice work experience who has chosen the criminal justice major as part of a liberal arts education. As such, it becomes important to examine how universities can integrate a look at the real-life criminal justice profession with academic achievements required by the major. The article presents results of a study spanning a 10-year period in which students reflected in writing about their experiences of a prison tour that was included as part of their undergraduate criminal justice course. Eighteen papers were analyzed and results revealed 4 dominant themes illustrating the benefits of the prison tour as a learning tool. Students discussed the importance of the prison tour in debunking myths and stereotypes of prison life and offenders; the importance of the experience in terms of offering an opportunity for affective learning; and how the prison tour impacted their personal ambivalence toward offenders and criminal justice policy and practice. Overall, the use of prison tours was a useful way of stimulating critical thinking and active learning that an academic lecture could not accomplish on the same level. Prior to the prison tours, student attitudes toward offenders and the justice system were shaped by stereotypes and media images that the single prison tour was able to debunk in one afternoon. While this study brings up important pedagogical issues, more research is needed on the benefits and effects of how professional experiences of criminal justice impact criminal justice studies. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice education
Index Term(s): Criminal justice careers; Criminal justice program evaluation; Degree programs
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