COMPREHENSIVE EXAM – CRIME, LAW AND DEVIANCE TAKE-HOME FORMAT INSTRUCTIONS This is a two-day take-home exam, due Wednesday, November 18th by 3PM. You will pick up your exam on Monday, November 16th; please do so between the hours of 9AM and 11AM so that Evelyn can predictably expect when you will arrive. Return your exam to Evelyn on the 17th at her office in Burdine by 3 PM (if she is out of the office, she will leave instructions about how to contact her). Evelyn will give you written confirmation that she has received your exam. The exam requires you to write answers to five questions and indicates which questions are required and which you are to select from among multiple questions. Read the instructions carefully and be sure to provide answers on all of the required questions. This is an open-book exam. By “open book,” we refer to your being allowed to use notes, texts and readings from classes you have taken and summary materials and books you have using to prepare for the exam. Although nothing prohibits you from consulting additional “new” material during the exam period, you are strongly advised against using the limited take-home time to conduct significant additional research. Regardless of the source you use, be sure to always give proper credit and citation to any books or articles that inform your answer, especially if you are using direct quotes. There is no page limit, but the quality and clarity of your writing will be a factor in evaluating the merits of your answer, together with demonstration of critical/original thinking and accurate representation of the material you have reviewed. You may allocate the time across the questions in any way you see fit. A completed exam consists of six answers that have been typed up and printed using 1” margins, 12-point font, and double spacing. IMPORTANT NOTE: YOU ARE ENTIRELY RESPONSIBLE FOR TURNING IN YOUR EXAM ON TIME. PLEASE VIGILENTLY ENSURE THE BACK UP AND PROPER COMPUTER STORAGE OF ALL OF YOUR WORK. YOU MAY EMAIL EVELYN A WORKING COPY OF YOUR EXAM AS ONE FORM OF BACK UP, BUT THE ACCEPTED FINAL VERSION MUST BE IN HARD COPY FORM AND SUBMITTED IN PERSON. THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS/EXTENTIONS GRANTED FOR COMPUTER CRASHES, PRINTER PROBLEMS, OR OTHER MISHAPS. IT IS ADVISABLE THAT YOU ROUTINELY BACK UP AND PRINT MATERIAL. IF YOU FAIL TO TURN IN YOUR EXAM BY 3PM ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15 th FOR ANY REASON, YOU WILL BE ASKED TO TAKE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS IN SUBSEQUENT SEMESTER. PLEASE LEAVE SUFFICIENT TIME FOR PRINTING, FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNIVERSITY, OR TO COMPENSATE FOR ANY OTHER UNEXPECTED FACTOR. UNIVERSITY HONOR CODE: "The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community." Consistent with this code, you must work on this exam without consultation with others and any form of plagiarism will not be tolerated. Answer questions 1 and 2. 1.) Choose two of the following topics: 1) 2) 3) 4) Self-control and criminal behavior Peers and criminal behavior Age and criminal behavior Sex/gender and criminal behavior Now answer each of the following questions about your two choices: 1) How have criminologists approached this issue theoretically? 2) What is the current state of evidence on this issue? 3) Why is this issue of such importance to criminologists? 2.) Criminal sanctions can prevent, reduce, or even encourage criminal conduct in a variety of ways. Describe six of these. Then choose one of these and summarize the empirical research on this mechanism. Be sure to cite at least a few important published studies. Answer question 3 or 4. 3.) According to Jonathan Simon, “In both its institutional and scientific sources, criminal justice risk assessment stands in a very different posture than it did through the 1970s. Although there are exceptions, classical clinical prediction has been replaced almost everywhere with more or less structured and standardized instruments that incorporate, in style and partially in substance, the actuarially weighted and validated instruments famously used in setting insurance premiums as well as in functions like college admissions” (2005: 399). In your estimation, what conceptual or empirical challenges remain as society leans more heavily on actuarial means of prediction, particularly for predicting future violence? Do you believe that actuarial prediction methods make us safer from violence? Why or why not? 4.) As you know, by most indicators the trial is “vanishing,” and it is far less likely that people today will resolve disputes via trial than through some other form (settling, arbitration, etc.). This is particularly true of civil cases. In one view, removing decisions from juries is a welcome turn because of concerns about the competency of the jury to make just decisions. Using empirical research to buttress your argument, how would you weigh the costs and benefits of jurors’ having less of a voice in civil justice outcomes? Are there legitimate concerns about juror bias in making these types of decisions, and if so, do you think other systems might offer improved decision making? Why or why not? Answer question 5 or 6. 5.) This week the Senate and House both introduced criminal justice reform legislation. The Senate version is the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, and the House version is the Sentencing Reform Act. The key components of these bills are summarized below. * reducing some mandatory minimum sentences for low level, non-violent drug offenders;* reducing the mandatory life without parole for a third drug or violent felony to 25 years: * reducing the mandatory minimum 20 years for a second drug of violent felony to 15 years; * closing the crack-powder cocaine disparity and making it retroactive; * providing judges with more discretion in sentencing selected low-level drug cases: * reducing the 15 and 25 year mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun crimes to 10 years and 15 years * reducing the federal three-strikes law from life to 25 years;* reducing time served for inmates who participate in prison programs; and creating some new mandatory minimum sentences. Taking a big picture view of criminal justice reform, comment on the likely impact of these bills on the justice system. What are the positives in this legislation? What is missing from this legislation? 6.) Most observers would agree that U.S. drug control policy has been a failure. What does the evidence indicate is a reasonable path forward in terms of a workable, effective drug policy? Answer question 7 or 8. 7.) On occasion, researchers in the Crime and Law area use field experiments to study a given phenomenon (e.g., Sherman & Berk, 1984. American Sociological Review, Vol. 49, pp. 261-272, investigating the effect of arrest on misdemeanor domestic assault; Diamond et al, 2003, Arizona Law Review, Vol. 85, pp. 1 – 81 on the effect of jurors’ pre-deliberation discussions in civil cases). What do you see as the major advantages and disadvantages to the fieldexperimental approach? What research topic in Crime/Law do you think would most benefit from a well-designed field experiment and what do you envision as the primary barriers to approaching the topic in that way? 8.) Texas institutes laws all the time that may affect criminal behavior or crime (e.g., expansion of concealed weapon rights, new definitions of self-defense law, “no-refusal weekend” procedures to catch those suspected of DUI, etc.). What would a rigorous before/after study of this legal change look like? What problems of validity/interpretation plague this type of study? What would your design do to address these? (You are free to speak generally about the challenges of legal change studies, or you can pick a legal change– even using a hypothetical law – and talk concretely about studying its effect).