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Corrections Class Opens School of Public Affairs Spring 2013 Semester
The School of Public Affairs hit the spring 2013 semester running. Just three weeks after Commencement, Mike Martinez, Director of the Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice program, was meeting with 24 students and studying Corrections.
The Corrections course is an overview of the field of penology and corrections with specific attention being paid to conflicting philosophies of punishment, criminological theory as it applies to the field of corrections, the selectivity of the process through which offenders move prior to their involvement in correctional programs, alternative correctional placements, and empirical assessments of the short- term and long-term consequences of one’s involvement in correctional programs. Students will study the origins, philosophies, and goals of adult and juvenile institutions within the American correctional system.
On the first day of class, students were immersed in their subject matter when Deputy Warden Daryl Vigil and Lt. Steve Lucero, both from the Arkansas Valley Correctional facility, highlighted the extent of the prison and security threat group influences within the Colorado Department of Corrections and the State. Mr. Vigil and Mr. Lucero’s duties include ongoing monitoring of gangs as well as the influence of gangs in the community. The Colorado Department of Corrections works with local law enforcement agencies and community-based corrections to provide insight into ongoing gang activities.
Mr. Vigil opened the 2.5 hour presentation by explaining to the students that the field they were entering was evolving. Because of budgetary constraints, criminal justice was needing to study the best ways to handle corrections. Corrections, he noted, starts with the first contact with an individual by law enforcement officials. “Diversity” is the word he used to describe the field of criminal justice that is emerging.
Mr. Lucero put cold hard facts to the more theoretical vision of criminal justice that Mr. Vigil presented. Mr. Lucero drew not only from his experiences at correctional facilities; Mr. Lucero is the President of the Colorado Security Threat Intelligence Network Group (STING). Colorado STING provides yearly training conferences to law enforcement related to street and prison gangs as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to understand the roles and functions served by the various entities in the Corrections system and have a sensitivity to the legal and practical limitations placed on corrections agencies, to understand and describe the function of probation, parole, and community-based corrections programs, and to have a deeper understanding of the retribution and rehabilitation pendulum associated with sentencing strategies.
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