CRJ 709, Spring 2018

R. Shelden

Office: GUA 5141

Phone: 895-0251; e-mail: or

Web site:

Office Hours:  Monday and Wed. 10-11AM, Tuesday, 8-11AM


Required Readings:


Books (click on title for ordering information):


1.    Miller, Jerome (1998).  Last One Over the Wall (2nd ed.).

2.  Daniel Macallair (2016). After the Doors Were Locked: A History of Youth Corrections in California and the Origins of Twenty-First Century Reform.

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


Internet and Other Assignments:


1.    Abuse in juvenile institutions:; Southern Poverty Law Center:

2. Reforming the California Juvenile Justice System: A series of reports:

3. Farrell litigation time-line:

4.    Detention Diversion Advocacy Program:

5.    The Missouri Model: Reinventing the Practice of Rehabilitating Youthful Offenders


On the Internet: suggested links for research paper


Here is just a small sampling of the many links related to juvenile justice issues.  For more see my web site (click on “links”).

Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice:

Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention:

National Center on Institutions and Alternatives:

National Center for Juvenile Justice:

Southern Poverty Law Center:


Aim of the Course:


The aim of this course is to provide a discussion of the current and past social context of juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice.  The books that are assigned provide a wide range of topics, with special attention to proposals to reduce the problem of delinquency.  Special attention will be devoted to the recent reform efforts in California.





Assignment                                                                           Points

Class Participation (including talking points)                    40 

Initial “statement of the problem”                                          20

Research proposal                                                              60

State reports on reforms                                                     40

Research paper                                                                  140


Grading: The grading will be based upon the total points accumulated over the semester as follows: 270-300 = A, 240-269 = B, 210-239 = C, 180-209 = D, below 180 = F. 


Content of the Course: Each day that the class meets we will have a general discussion of the assigned readings for that particular day. Bring with you a set of notes and an outline of what you consider to be main “talking points.”  You will turn in a copy of the “talking points” after class.  Each student will, in turn, give a brief overview of their talking points.  This will be followed by a general discussion.


Juvenile Justice Reforms: Each student will select a state and write a report summarizing recent reforms in their juvenile justice system, with specific attention devoted to deinstitutionalization. Details provided when the semester begins. On the due date (see below) each student will give a short presentation of their findings and turn in a short written report (about 5 pages). 


Research paper:  Your research paper should be no longer than twenty-five (25) pages, plus the bibliography. This will be done in three stages.  First, an initial “statement of the problem” will be written (maximum of one page, plus references).  Second, a proposal will be submitted (maximum of five pages plus minimum of five references). Third is the final paper. Note the various due dates for these below. More will be said about this during the course. See guidelines below.


Note: Send assignments (prior to due date) via an e-mail attachment (MS Word) to both of my e-mails noted above.


Schedule of Assignments and Exams


Dates                         Topic                                      Reading Assignments  


1/16             Overview Lecture                         None 


1/23             History                                       Shelden Intro and Chapter 1          



1/30             Abuse in juvenile institutions:; (for your talking points select one specific example that stands out for you)


2/6             Nature and Extent of Delinquency   Shelden, chapters 2-3


2/13               Gangs and Female Delinquency       Shelden, 4-5


Statement of the Problem Due midnight 2/12


2/20             Last One Over the Wall                 Miller, Ch. 1-7  


2/27             Last One over the Wall                  Miller, Remainder of book


3/6               California history                          Macallair, Part I


3/6                 Selection of state for the reforms assignment due.


3/13               After the Doors were Closed          Macallair, Part II 


3/20             After the Doors were Closed          Macallair, Part III


Research Proposal Due midnight 3/19


3/26               Spring Break


4/3               After the Doors were Closed          Macallair, Part IV


4/10               Contemporary Juvenile Justice        Shelden, chapters 11-13



4/17             Reforming Juvenile Justice            


Reforming the California Juvenile Justice System: A series of reports:;     Detention Diversion Advocacy Program:;  The Missouri Model: Reinventing the Practice of Rehabilitating Youthful Offenders


4/24               Student reports of state juvenile justice reforms due – Interview with Dan Macallair via phone


5/1             Solutions                                    Shelden, chapter 14


Research Papers Due by mid-night, May 4



Research Proposal: Some Guidelines


The “initial statement of the problem” entails presenting to the reader the nature of the problem to be explored; this should be about a page or two. 


The “research proposal” is a brief summary of a particular “problem” or one or more “key questions/issues” that will require some research to explore and will involve some literature review.  The “problem” could be the relationship between two or more variables. This will be a more detailed elaboration of the “initial statement of the problem.”  A minimum of five pages is required, along with at least five references. 


Much later (when you start your thesis/professional paper) would come a brief summary of the methods you will use to conduct this study (e.g., field research, existing/secondary data research, survey research via a questionnaire or interview, etc.) and, finally, what do you expect to find (i.e., what are your major hypotheses) and how will you present these findings.


You can use this as a general guide for the thesis you may write for this graduate program.


For specific examples look at a few that have been written by graduate students in the recent past, shown on my web site:


The structure of a research paper:


1.       Title Page & Abstract - a brief summary of the paper (a short paragraph of about 100 words). 

2.       Introduction - introduces key terms and the research focus (here’s where your initial statement of the problem will come in handy, along with the research proposal).

3.       Literature review - detailed examination of existing research relevant to the topic. Divide into sub-headings based upon specific topics covered

4.       Discussion – brief examination of the findings of your research and any policy implications.

5.       Conclusion – this is where you finally can express some of your own opinions on the problem you have researched.

6.       References, notes, and/or appendices.


Format of Research Paper: Fonts, pagination, etc.


There are many different formats used by writers these days.  I would prefer you use a font size of 12 using “Times New Roman” or font 10 using “Verdana” (which is what is being used to type this syllabus). Put page numbers at the bottom, either in the center or on the right (title page should not have a page number, so start pagination on the second page). There is a standard recommended by the UNLV Graduate College, which you can get from the UNLV web site (I don’t like this one at all).  There are plenty of other examples and formats available by just reviewing some standard academic journals.  Examples can also be found on my web site, under the heading “Research Articles.”  You may use the style found in many academic journals or in one of the books assigned for this class.


A word on “notes” and “references”


In many research papers/books/articles there is a section at the very end, just before or after the references section, known as “endnotes” since they appear at the end, in contrast to “footnotes,” which are found at the bottom of the page.[1] References are put at the very end of the paper/report, after the endnotes (except whenever I write a paper the “notes” are literally at the end, after the references), usually following some standard practice (e.g., APA style).  Sometimes the endnotes contain all the references in addition to “explanatory notes.”   Or you can use the “Chicago Style” where the references are inserted within the body of the paper (e.g., Shelden, 2012, p. 144) and each one cited in the paper is listed at the end of the paper under a section called “References.” 



[1].  Some have called this an “explanatory note” where you want to make a point or provide some additional information (e.g., a suggested book to read) that does not really need to be in the body of the text.