Sample Exam

Sample Exam

Sample Exam

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
Rowan University
Comprehensive Exam Spring 2018

Choose ONE of the following two sets of questions.  Both ask you to 1) describe a current issue, 2) discuss two theories and apply them to that issue, 3) discuss two policy or program recommendations, and 4) describe how you would evaluate ONE of the policy or program recommendations.  The two issues are sentencing policies and delinquency prevention.

Use APA format to cite the sources that you use to support your answer in the text (e.g., Robbins and Murphy, 2010). You do not have to list the references at the end.  Be careful not to overuse quotes and, of course, do not plagiarize. As you know, you are not allowed to use the Internet or sources other than the materials used for class.

Sentencing Policies

A1)  Recently there has been bi-partisan support for reducing the U.S. prison population, and the Governor of New Jersey wants your suggestions for how that could be done in New Jersey.  Describe the sentencing policies of the past forty years, how they have affected incarceration trends, how U.S. incarceration rates compare to the rest of the world, and the costs and benefits of these policies.

A2)  Describe Reintegrative Shaming and General Strain Theory, including who developed each theory, what type of theory it is considered, and how each theory explains crime.  Be sure to identify and describe the constructs of each theory and how they could be used to support changes in sentencing policies that would reduce prison populations.

A3) Assume you have been hired by the Governor to recommend two pieces of legislation that would change sentencing policies in New Jersey so that prison populations would be reduced.   Describe two sentencing policies or changes in policies you would recommend (either something that already exists or something new that you would design).  Briefly justify your recommendations based on the theories and the practical results. 

A4) Describe how you would evaluate the effectiveness of one of your recommendations.  Be sure to discuss the research design, sample selection, and measurement of the variables of interest (identifying which is independent and which is dependent).   Be sure to address both how the program or policy would be implemented and monitored (“process evaluation”) as well as the how the program or policy impacted the problem it was trying to address (“outcome evaluation”).

Delinquency Prevention

B1)  Discuss delinquency prevention, including why it is important, why it is currently getting more attention, the range of approaches to preventing delinquency,  and the arguments for and against the different approaches.

B2)  Describe Social Learning Theory (aka Differential Reinforcement Theory) and Self-Control Theory (aka General Theory of Crime), including who developed each theory, what type of theory it is considered, and how each theory explains crime.  Be sure to identify and describe the constructs of each theory and how they could be used to support a program or policy aimed at preventing delinquency.

B3) Assume you have been hired by the Governor of NJ to advise her on how to design a policy or program to reduce delinquency in NJ.   Make two recommendations for two different approaches for delinquency prevention that have been found effective.  Briefly justify your recommendations and discuss how they can be implemented. 

B4) Describe how you would evaluate the effectiveness of one of your recommendations.  Be sure to discuss the research design, sample selection, and measurement of the variables of interest (identifying which is independent and which is dependent).   Be sure to address both how the program or policy would be implemented and monitored (“process evaluation”) as well as the how the program or policy impacted the problem it was trying to address (“outcome evaluation”).