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dc.contributor.authorStacer, Melissa J.
dc.date.accessioned2020-02-04T20:57:39Z
dc.date.available2020-02-04T20:57:39Z
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12419/515
dc.descriptionPresentation. 2nd Celebration of Teaching & Learning Symposium, January 25, 2018, the University of Southern Indiana
dc.description.abstractStudents' negative perceptions of inmates are a challenging aspect of teaching criminal justice. It is not uncommon to hear an "us versus them" dichotomy when criminal offenders are discussed. Despite an abundance of television and "infotainment" shows introducing correctional facilities to the public, these facilities and those living and working within remain largely unknown and subject to negative stereotypes. Some scholars suggest exposing students to the criminal justice system may provide a realistic approach to understanding offenders and those who work within the system. Correctional facility tours are one way to create this real-life exposure. In two courses, CRIM 234 Introduction to Corrections and CRIM 370 Prisons, attending a jail or prison tour and writing a 500-word essay reflecting on the tour are course requirements. The original goal was to expose students to the criminal justice system in action and to allow students an opportunity to correct inaccurate perceptions. Beginning in 2014, I began conducting research to assess the effects of the correctional tours on students. This included a pre-test/post-test design wherein students were asked to complete a survey with Likert items and open-ended items before and after attending a prison or jail tour. Students were also asked if I could use their essay for research. This study was approved by the IRB, and data were collected in the Spring 2014, Fall 2014, and Spring 2015 semesters. Correctional tours are quite popular across criminal justice curricula, but competing perspectives exist on the impact of these tours on students. Some scholars illustrated the positive impacts, such as being able to apply concepts (Brown, 2001, Helfgott, 2003), being able to link class material to the real world (Smith et al., 2010), and changing prejudicial attitudes (Boag & Wilson, 2013). Other scholars (Payne, Sumter, & Sun, 2013) argue these tours are often seen by students as entertainment and thus are not educative, and illustrate issues with tours being "staged" and that inmates are objectified (Piche & Walby, 2010). The results of the study were both expected and unexpected. As expected, most students wrote about the influence of the media on their perceptions of corrections and revealed holding stereotypes about those who work and are confined in correctional facilities. Unexpected were results indicating that students reported more positive attitudes towards correctional staff after attending the correctional tour, and in their essays many students discussed how correctional careers were something they would now would consider.
dc.subjectlearning in specific settings or contexts
dc.titleBroadening career opportunities and breaking down stereotypes: Correctional facility tours and the criminal justice student
html.description.abstractStudents' negative perceptions of inmates are a challenging aspect of teaching criminal justice. It is not uncommon to hear an "us versus them" dichotomy when criminal offenders are discussed. Despite an abundance of television and "infotainment" shows introducing correctional facilities to the public, these facilities and those living and working within remain largely unknown and subject to negative stereotypes. Some scholars suggest exposing students to the criminal justice system may provide a realistic approach to understanding offenders and those who work within the system. Correctional facility tours are one way to create this real-life exposure. In two courses, CRIM 234 Introduction to Corrections and CRIM 370 Prisons, attending a jail or prison tour and writing a 500-word essay reflecting on the tour are course requirements. The original goal was to expose students to the criminal justice system in action and to allow students an opportunity to correct inaccurate perceptions. Beginning in 2014, I began conducting research to assess the effects of the correctional tours on students. This included a pre-test/post-test design wherein students were asked to complete a survey with Likert items and open-ended items before and after attending a prison or jail tour. Students were also asked if I could use their essay for research. This study was approved by the IRB, and data were collected in the Spring 2014, Fall 2014, and Spring 2015 semesters. Correctional tours are quite popular across criminal justice curricula, but competing perspectives exist on the impact of these tours on students. Some scholars illustrated the positive impacts, such as being able to apply concepts (Brown, 2001, Helfgott, 2003), being able to link class material to the real world (Smith et al., 2010), and changing prejudicial attitudes (Boag & Wilson, 2013). Other scholars (Payne, Sumter, & Sun, 2013) argue these tours are often seen by students as entertainment and thus are not educative, and illustrate issues with tours being "staged" and that inmates are objectified (Piche & Walby, 2010). The results of the study were both expected and unexpected. As expected, most students wrote about the influence of the media on their perceptions of corrections and revealed holding stereotypes about those who work and are confined in correctional facilities. Unexpected were results indicating that students reported more positive attitudes towards correctional staff after attending the correctional tour, and in their essays many students discussed how correctional careers were something they would now would consider.
dc.contributor.affiliationUniversity of Southern indiana


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