Building a Curriculum for the 21st Century: Crime, Criminal Justice and Information Technology

Chris Marshall, University of Nebraska at Omaha
T. Hank Robinson, University of Nebraska at Omaha

A criminal justice curriculum for the 21st century must take into account advances in information technology and the impact of those advances upon crime and the criminal justice system. Currently, there seems an infinite variety of deviance made uniquely possible by modern information technology--and new forms of deviance evolve almost daily. The impact of this "new deviance" is already being felt throughout an already strained criminal justice system; that system is endeavoring to cope with this new influx. A modern criminal justice curriculum aimed at helping prepare new persons to take a place in this system will include courses examining the current state of crime related to information technology, including viruses, money laundering, identity theft, unauthorized penetration of information systems, sabotage of individual computers and networks, espionage, privacy infringement, copyright and intellectual property violations, comsumer fraud, transmitting harmful and/or illegal information related to drug dealing, illegal arms trade, terrorism, child pornography and obscenity, hate speech, and defamation. Additionally, courses dealing with law--its procedural and substantive aspect--related to cyberspace, policing cyberspace, ethics, research methods for studying cybercrime, and cybercrime theory would be important inclusions in the curriculum. Ideally, some courses of the curriculum might be cross-listed with computer science departments enabling an important cross-fertilization of ideas--a truly inderdisciplinary aspect of the curriculum.

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Updated 05/20/2006