CRJ 409-on line, Spring 2018
Youth, Crime and Society
R. Shelden
Office: GUA, room 5140
Phone: 895-0251; e-mail:

Web site:

Office Hours: Tuesday 8-11AM; Wednesday 8-11

Graduate Assistant: Sheila Carver:


Course Description:

This course will explore the problem of youth crime and delinquency in modern society. The course will also focus on solutions to the problem by addressing several alternatives to institutionalization.

Teaching Method:

This class will be highly interactive as it encourages students to engage in discussions among themselves and with the instructor. For each chapter there is a module that helps guide you throughout the course.

Required Reading (available at the bookstore or order on line by clicking title; make certain you order the second edition and not the first):

Randall G. Shelden,
Delinquency and Juvenile Justice in America (2nd ed.). Waveland Press, 2012.

On the Internet:

Ex Parte Crouse:;

Suggested web sites for further reading:

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice:

Justice Policy Institute:

Center on Children Exposed to Violence:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention:


Course Grading and Exams:

Your grade in the course will be based upon your scores on four exams (each worth a possible 100 points). For each exam, the grade will be based upon the following formula: 90% or more = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D, below 60% = F. Final grades are based upon the following formula: 360-400 = A, 320-359 = B, 280-319 = C, 240-279 = D, below 240 = F. Grades of plus or minus will be given in borderline cases. There will be an opportunity to earn some extra credit points by participating in a question and answer session two or three times during the semester. Dates are provided below. Each exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice and true and false questions.

Academic Misconduct – Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the campus community; all share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility and professionalism. By choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Academic Misconduct Policy and are encouraged when faced with choices to always take the ethical path. Students enrolling in UNLV assume the obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV’s function as an educational institution. An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another, from the Internet or any source, without proper citation of the sources. See the Student Academic Misconduct Policy (approved December 9, 2005) located at:

Copyright – The University requires all members of the University Community to familiarize themselves and to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The university will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies. Additional information can be found at:

Disability Resource Center (DRC)– It is important to know that over two-thirds of the students in the DRC reported that this syllabus statement, often read aloud by the faculty during class, directed them to the DRC office. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) coordinates all academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The DRC is the official office to review and house disability documentation for students, and to provide them with an official Academic Accommodation Plan to present to the faculty if an accommodation is warranted. Faculty should not provide students accommodations without being in receipt of this plan. UNLV complies with the provisions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, offering reasonable accommodations to qualified students with documented disabilities. If you have a documented disability that may require accommodations, you will need to contact the DRC for the coordination of services. The DRC is located in the Student Services Complex (SSC-A), Room 143, and the contact numbers are: Voice (702) 895-0866, fax (702) 895-0651. For additional information, please visit:

Religious Holidays Policy -- Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other class or lab work because of observance of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor no later than the last day at late registration of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. This policy shall not apply in the event that administering the test or examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the university which could not be avoided. For additional information, please visit:

Tutoring -- The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring and academic assistance for all UNLV students taking UNLV courses. Students are encouraged to stop by the ASC to learn more about subjects offered, tutoring times and other academic resources. The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex, #22 on the current UNLV map. Students may learn more about tutoring services by calling (702) 895-3177 or visiting the tutoring web site at:

UNLV Writing Center – The following statement is recommended for inclusion in course syllabi: One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center, located in CDC-3-301. Although walk-in consultations are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance. Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. The student’s Rebel ID Card, a copy of the assignment (if possible), and two copies of any writing to be reviewed are requested for the consultation. More information can be found at:

Rebelmail – By policy, faculty and staff should e-mail students’ Rebelmail accounts only. Rebelmail is UNLV’s Official e-mail system for students. It is one of the primary ways students receive official university communication such as information about deadlines, major campus events, and announcements. All UNLV students receive a Rebelmail account after they have been admitted to the university. Students’ e-mail prefixes are listed on class rosters. The suffix is always Any other class specific policies (e.g., absences, make-up exams, extra credit policies, plagiarism/cheating consequences, policy on pagers/mobile phones, specialized department or college tutoring programs, bringing children to class, policy on recording classroom lectures, etc.)

Course Assignments and Exams: The following schedule should be viewed as an ideal plan, subject to change. If there are any changes, they will be announced in class. Students will be responsible for coming to class and being aware of any changes.



Schedule of Assignments and Exams


Dates                                     Topic                                      Reading Assignments
(week of)

1/15                       Myths and Facts       Shelden, Delinquency and Juvenile Justice in

America (hereafter “text”), Introduction

1/22                       Historical Overview             Text, chapter 1; Ex Parte Crouse

1/29                       Extent of Delinquency         Text, chapter 2

Nature of Delinquency         Text, chapter 3


2/5                 FIRST EXAM (covering above assignments) to be taken between 8:00AM 2/5 and 11:59PM 2/7

2/12                       Youth Gangs                               Text, chapter 4


2/19                       Female Delinquency                      Text, chapter 5

2/26                       Theories of Delinquency                Text, chapter 6

3/5                        Theories of Delinquency                Text, chapter 7

3/12               SECOND EXAM (covering assignments since 1st exam) to be taken between 8:00 AM 3/12 and 11:59PM 3/14

3/19                       The Social Context                       Text, chapter 8

3/26                           Spring Break           


4/2                        The Family                                  Text, chapter 9

                             Schools                                      Text, chapter 10

4/9                 THIRD EXAM (covering assignments since 2nd exam) to be taken between 8:00AM 4/9 and 11:59PM 4/11

4/16                       Juvenile Justice Processing             Text, chapter 11

                             Juvenile Institutions                      Text, chapter 12


4/23                       The Double Standard                    Text, chapter 13


4/30                       Sensible Solutions                        Text, chapter 14

5/7                 FINAL EXAM (covering assignments since 3rd exam) to be taken between 8:00AM 5/7 and 11:59PM 5/9 


Learning Modules – This provides students with some of the key goals and resources for each chapter. 

Module 1        Introduction

Goals: learning the various Myths about delinquency

Learning resources: (1) Text, Introduction; web sites such as Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP):

Module 2        Delinquency and Juvenile Justice in Historical Perspective

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) the development of the concepts of Childhood and adolescence; (2) emerging definitions of “juvenile delinquency” in early 19th century; (3) origins of the doctrine of Parens Patriae and the emergence of the first juvenile institutions (Houses of Refuge, etc.); (4) the Ex Parte Crouse case (5) the “child saving movement” and the founding of the first Juvenile Court; (6) 20th century developments in juvenile justice.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 1; Ex Parte Crouse:;

Module 3        The Extent of Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) sources of data and pros and cons of each source; (2) How Much Delinquency Is There? (recent trends, variations according to race and gender); (3) Juveniles as Victims.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 2; (2) Uniform Crime Reports, Bureau of Justice Statistics.


Module 4        The Nature of Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Varieties of delinquency; (2) Property crimes; (3) Violent crimes; (4) Public order crimes; (5) Status offenses.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 3; (2) OJJDP, Juvenile Offenders and Victims: A National Report; (3) National Child Abuse Statistics -



Module 5        Youth Gangs

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) History and definitions; (2) Types of gangs and gang members; (3) Gang Classifications (race, etc.).

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 4; (2)  National Gang Center; (3) Gang; (4) Female Gangs

Module 6        Female Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Extent and recent trends; (2) nature of female delinquency and how they compare with male delinquency; (3) common forms (shoplifting, etc.); (4) status offenders; (5) girls as victims; (6) Girls and violence.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 5; (2) Meda Chesney-Lind, “Girls and Violence: Is the Gender Gap Closing?”; (3) Girls Study Group,

Module 7        Individualistic Theories of Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following topics (1) Classical and Positivist Schools; (2) Due process and crime control models; (3) Biological theories (genetics, new research on the adolescent brain, etc.); (4) Psychological theories (psychoanalytic theories, personality trait theories, mental illness and crime)

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 6; (2) Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders; (3) High mental illness rates, little help for youth in detention.


Module 8        Sociological Theories of Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following theories: (1) Social Disorganization; (2) Strain/Anomie; (3) Cultural Deviance; (4) Control; (5) Learning; (6) Labeling; (7) Critical

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 7; (2) “Within South L.A.'s killing zone, a haven from violence”;

Module 9        Delinquency in Context: Inequality in U.S. Society

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) various dimensions of social inequality; (2) capitalism and recent economic changes; (3) Poverty and Family Structure; (4) the impact on children and delinquency

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 8; (2) -; (3) Child Poverty; (4) Children left behind – a UNICEF report


Module 10      Delinquency and the Family

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) myths about the family; (2) Family Breakdown as a Cause of Delinquency (broken homes, parenting styles, conflict and abuse; (3) single-parent families; (4) Girl offenders and their families; (5) Gang members and their Families; (6) Children with parents in prison.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 9; (2) Effects of Single Parenthood on Poverty; (3) Kids count data center


Module 11      Schools and Delinquency

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Social class and schooling; (2) Schools as “day prisons”; (3) “Zero Tolerance” policies; (4) How safe are schools? (fact v. fiction); (4) the role of suspensions and expulsions (racial differences); (5) Tracking; (6) school failure and delinquency; (7) gangs in schools.

Learning resources: (1) text, chapter 10; (2) the school to prison pipeline; (3) Truancy and street violence are linked


Module 12      Processing Offenders through the Juvenile Justice System

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Juvenile Laws and juvenile rights; (2) The Juvenile Court: structure and process; (3) Race, the “War on Drugs,” and Referrals to Juvenile Court; (4) Finding alternatives: diversion; (5) Probation; (6) Certifying youth as adults.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 11; (2) Two landmark Supreme Court decisions: In re Gault and Kent v. U.S; (3) OJJDP study of waiver to adult court; (4) Justice Policy Institute report on the effects of waiver


Module 13      Prisons or “Correctional” Institutions: What’s in a Name?

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Short-Term Facilities (adult jails, juvenile detention, etc.; (2) Long-term facilities (training schools, boot camps, etc.); (3) institutional populations: racial differences; (4) Negative effects of incarceration; (5) The inmate social system; (6) Girls institutions; (7) The California Youth Authority (CYA) and its demise; (8) Arizona: a reform that failed; (9) Aftercare and parole; (10) Barriers to successful re-entry.

Learning resources: (1) Text, chapter 12; (2) The Costs of Confinement”; (3) Closing down the CYA; (3) OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book

Module 14      The Double Standard of Juvenile Justice

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) Girls and the founding of the Juvenile Court; (2) The Double Standard of Juvenile Justice; (3) Deinstitutionalization; (4) Continuing evidence of gender bias; (5) Comparing girls and boys in the Juvenile Court; (6) Girls, race, and the new double standard of Juvenile Justice.

Learning recourses: (1) Text, chapter 13; (2) Trauma among Girls in the Juvenile Justice System; (3) Why More Girls are Getting Arrested; (4) Human Rights Watch report: “Custody and Control: Conditions of Confinement in New York’s Juvenile Prisons for Girls.”



Module 15      Some Sensible Solutions

Goals: Learning about the following topics: (1) The need for a new paradigm; (2) Radical nonintervention; (2) Prevention and intervention strategies; (3) Components of successful programs; (4) A blueprint for juvenile justice reform; (5) The Missouri model; (6) Detention Diversion Advocacy Project (DDAP); (7) Other model programs (youth court, drug courts, Community mental health programs, etc.); (8) Restorative justice; (9) National strategies; (10) Addressing the problem of social inequality; (11) Programs for girls.

Learning resources:  (1) Text, chapter 14; (2) An evaluation of DDAP; (3) Blueprint for Change; (4) Community Options for Youth