Division of Criminal Justice Newsletter

December 1, 2017

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A Note from the Chair

I hope you enjoy the first edition of the CSUS Criminal Justice Newsletter.

This publication is produced by the newly formed Criminal Justice Newsletter Committee, and is scheduled for several issues per academic year.

It is my hope that this forum will share useful information and promote connectivity among faculty, staff, students, alumni, a

Ernest Uwazie
Dr. Ernest Uwazie,
Professor and Chair

nd the greater Sacramento community as well as partners.

Contributions to the newsletter are invited and strongly encouraged. Articles and ideas for coverage should be submitted to Jennifer Noble .

On behalf of the faculty, students and staff, I wish you and your family a very happy holiday and prosperous, peaceful new year!


Ernest Uwazie
Professor and Division Chair


Criminal Justice Elects a New Chair-Dr. Ernest Uwazie

Sacramento State's Division of Criminal Justice last spring elected Dr. Ernest Uwazie, who specializes in peace-making and conflict resolution. He is serving a three-year term as the Division's Chair.

"I’m very honored and privileged to be elected by my esteemed colleagues to serve as the Division Chair,” said Uwazie. “I consider it the crowning of my over 26 years of service as teacher, scholar, faculty advocate, and community leader. I will serve in representing the division’s best interests and advancing its programs with a commitment to transparency, fairness, diversity and inclusion,” division.”

The previous chair, Dr. Mary Maguire, was appointed as the Associate Dean of the Division's parent College of Health and Human Services.

In 2010, the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS) Foundation awarded Uwazie, director/founder of the CSUS Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR), the Judge Warren Knight Award for outstanding work in conflict resolution. In same year, Professor Uwazie received the CSUS Outstanding 


Scholarly Achievement Award for his work on peace and alternative dispute resolution, and a recipient of the 2016-17 CHHS Faculty Outstanding Community Service Award.

Uwazie arrived from his native Nigeria to Texas at 21. After earning his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Criminal Justice, and his Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University, specializing in Conflict Resolution, the Hornet campus hired him in 1991.

Like about half the people in the most populous African country of Nigeria, Uwazie is Christian. The other half are Muslim. Nigeria’s ethnoreligious relations have been sometimes challenging and often misused for political motives or sometimes a source of grievance. "If not well managed," said Uwazie, "Nigeria’s delicate interethnic-religious relations will be quite disastrous. Not just for Nigeria, but for Africa and for the world. I don't believe that I lose my Christian-Catholic identity when I embrace and respect other beliefs like the Muslim religion."

When he was nine years old, he lost his father during the Nigeria civil war. The conflict erupted over political-military coups in Nigeria that led to the massacring of Igbo people especially in northern Nigeria. It lasted three and a half years, delaying Uwazie's education.

It was his older sister who financed Uwazie's move to the U.S. and his pursuit of higher education, convincing the company she worked for to loan her an entire year's salary. His village-community raised money to help partly fund his flight and initial expenses.

"The whole village came together -- old, young, and middle-aged... I could have gone the other way, but I saw that the community believed in me. I saw the faith they had in me, and became more encouraged and inspired to succeed. I’m often reminded of the classic African proverb that it take a village to raise a child"

Uwazie achieved his Bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years, followed early completion of his two other advanced degrees about 4 years later. Along with teaching at CSUS, he has worked with like-minded people to promote peaceful relations and awareness of social justice issues.

In addition to the CAPCR, he created Afripeace Foundation, a non-profit that provides learning exchanges where American teachers and young people spend time engaging in African communities through peace education.

He also coordinates and sponsors youth leadership peace conferences, bringing young people from Africa to the U.S. for training in conflict resolution, plus the annual Africa-Diaspora conference at CSUS, going into its 27th year in 2018.

Uwazie's goal is to urge "a shift from violence to a sustainable culture of peace and nonviolence."

This perspective, and his nearly three decades of experience in education and conflict resolution, resonates with professors and staff members in the Division of Criminal Justice.

"I appreciate Dr. Uwazie's vision for the future of our Division," said Dr. Jennie Singer, a criminal justice professor, author, and researcher. "We are very fortunate to have him as our new Chair."

Collegiate criminal justice divisions are sometimes assumed to focus mostly on law enforcement. But the Division teaches students about all aspects of criminal justice, from the roles of the courts, enforcement agencies, and the legislature, to social justice issues that play both obvious and inherent roles, such as ethnicity, gender, and economic class. The Division also teaches research methods, and many of its professors are regularly engaged in researching criminal justice programs and issues at local, state, national and international levels.


2017 Convocation

The 6th Annual Criminal Justice Convocation, The Future of Justice, brought together four experts to debate “Guns, Violence, and Public Health” in the University Ballroom on October 10. The convocation was held just days after a mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which 58 people were killed and nearly 600 were injured when a man fired on a crowd at a concert.

“We’re never going to solve this problem if we don’t engage the people involved in the violence [in order to] understand the path that led to violence,” said Keynote speaker Dr. Deanna Wilkinson, a researcher from Ohio State University. Wilkinson has studied gun violence for decades, focusing on the decision-making process of shooters.

“There is no one problem when it comes to 

Convocation Keynote
Dr. Deanna Wilkinson

gun violence, but multiple problems that must be addressed, including homicides, suicides, and accidental gun deaths,” she said to a large crowd, made up mostly of students studying criminal justice.

In her experience, the most effective anti-gun violence efforts engage the community in a manner similar to public health solutions. “It’s a total systems approach,” Wilkinson said. “Much like criminal justice isn’t just one system, public health intermixes a whole variety of fields.”

Dr. Bill Durston, president of Americans Against Gun Violence, brought his experience as an emergency room physician to the panel discussion that followed Wilkinson’s presentation. “Since 1968, more U.S. civilians have died of gunshot wounds than all the U.S. soldiers killed in all the wars in which the U.S. has been involved,” he said. 

 Durston was joined on the panel by Wilkinson and two CSUS professors from the Criminal Justice Division, Dr. Jennie Singer and Dr. Ryan Getty, to discuss solutions to the country’s gun violence problem.

convocation audience
Audience at the convocation.

While panel members had different takes on the causes of gun violence, all agreed that more should be done to find solutions. “Despite repeated mass shootings, despite the daily loss—now 99 lives a day lost in gun violence—the United States hasn’t taken definitive steps to stem gun violence,” Durston said.

Singer, a clinical psychologist who teaches research methods, noted that current research refutes the notion that most perpetuators of gun violence are mentally ill. “Databases that restrict guns for the mentally ill miss the mark, as only about three percent of shooters have severe mental illness… Fewer still will have any history of gun crimes in their past.”

Singer warned that “there is already stigma around receiving treatment and treating those with mental illness as if they are dangerous reduces the likelihood that they’ll seek help.”

Getty, a professor of criminological theory and research design, said that gun violence is “vastly underfunded when it comes to research.” But Durston was passionately in favor of regulation over more research.

“It’s a myth that we need more research before adopting gun control,” Durston said. He urged swift and bold action by imposing stringent gun control legislation. “More research, in the absence of definitive gun control laws, is only going to document more senseless, preventable gun-related deaths and injuries.”

 Getty noted that national gun violence has fallen by half since its peak in 1993, but conceded that there are still “pockets of violent crimes -- certain places that have more gun violence.” He lamented that “… policymaking is fragmented. Because gun violence is a multifaceted problem, the country lacks a national policy on it.”

convocation panel
Covocation panel, Dr. Ryan Getty in foreground.

Durston pointed out that other countries with far lower rates of gun violence place the burden of proof on gun buyers to prove that they can handle a firearm safely and that they have a reason to own it, rather than placing the burden on the government to prove that a person cannot handle a gun safely.

This was the Division’s sixth convocation. The annual event focuses on solutions to criminal justice issues and how the University can play a role in the future of justice. Next year’s convocation will also serve as a kick-off to the 50th Anniversary of the Division of Criminal Justice, which will be celebrated throughout the 2018-2019 academic year.

The video of the keynote address and panel discussion can be viewed online here.


Filmmaker Promotes Criminal Justice Reform

Project Rebound and the Division of Criminal Justice hosted a filmmaker and two parolees in a screening and panel discussion event for students on November 8.

project rebound event
Life After Life panel discussion.

Students viewed the movie Life After Life, directed and produced by Tamara Perkins. Filmed over several years, it depicts the true story of three men who paroled from San Quentin. One of the men returned after recidivating; the other two, Harrison Seuga and Noel Valdivia Sr., have successfully integrated into mainstream society.

Seuga earned a degree from San Francisco State, and Valdivia got married and started a family.

Both men, along with Perkins, participate in events such as this to promote reform of America's criminal justice system. Seuga and Valdivia visit youth to help deter them from crime.

Life After Life is available in the Sac State library. Visit this link to see the trailer and learn more. http://www.lifeafterlifemovie.com/

Project Rebound is a program to help formerly incarcerated students prepare, apply, enroll and graduate with a high-quality degree from California State University, Sacramento. Visit the Project Rebound website for more information


Call for Faculty & Student presenters for 2nd Annual Colloquium of International Education in Criminal Justice

 The International Education Committee for the Division of Criminal Justice will hold its 2nd Annual Colloquium of International Education in Criminal Justice on April 20, 2018. The committee is seeking speakers from the Criminal Justice faculty and student body to present on the theme of “Teaching and Learning through Global Engagement.” This year’s theme focuses on faculty experience of incorporating global education components in existing classes or proposals to do so; foreign education experiences; and how internationalizing curriculum aids in teaching and learning outcomes.  If you wish to present at the Colloquium, please email your presentation title and a short abstract to Prof. Jennifer Noble at noble@csus.edu.  The deadline to submit abstract (250 words) is February 23, 2018.



LECS Cohort 2017 Updates

It has been just over one year since the Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars’ (LECS) program celebrated its official launch in October 2016 on the campus of Sacramento State. The LECS program is a “scholars to officers” career and leadership development and pathway program designed for upper division Sacramento State students

LECS classroom
LECS classroom

from all majors who desire careers as sworn law enforcement officers in Sacramento and throughout the state of California. The LECS program (located in the Division of Criminal Justice ) is presently partnered with two law enforcement agencies: the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Sacramento Police Department (SPD). The LECS program is also supported on the campus by Instructionally Related Activities, Associated Students, Inc. and University Enterprises, Inc. External Grant funding.

The LECS program consists of a two-phase, two academic year process for students: workshops/training in year one and an academic internship with the partnering agency in year two. The phase one training includes leadership in law enforcement, pre-employment application, written test preparation, communication and cultural competence, academy tour, oral interview preparation, defensive driving, de-escalation force options, defensive tactics, and physical training. Each workshop topic is designed to prepare LECS students to be change agents in their communities and to create realistic scenarios to educate and enhance their existing skills.  The academic internship (CRJ 195) in phase two is an opportunity for LECS students to gain additional practical hands-on experience working with the partnering agencies and the community. Because of frequent collaboration with the partnering agencies, physical fitness training has been added into phase two which allows the candidates to maintain consistent physical fitness performance requirements needed for entry into law enforcement academies. Learning assignments and student reflections following the LECS workshops and training suggest that LECS candidates have responded well to LECS learning outcomes. In addition, quantitative and qualitative survey data along with grade point average and job placement data are being collected and analyzed to determine the impact of the program on academic success, recruitment and hiring, and police-community relations. A Certificate of Academic Achievement in Law Enforcement successfully passed the Faculty Senate and is in the Catalog for 2017-2018.

LECS at academy
LECS students at CHP academy.

The LECS program builds bridges with the community by offering learning and training opportunities to advance the development of LECS students such as hosting law enforcement Chiefs and personnel from partnering and neighboring agencies; LECS student tours of partnering law enforcement agencies; LECS students actively involved in community service by assisting at campus and community events such as Black Family Day, Future Hornet Day, faith-based community event, the Waking in Oak Creek screening and the Mentoring in Law Enforcement (MILE) event to name a few. In addition, the LECS program brought in law enforcement and community leaders to focus on social justice and cultural awareness issues such as homelessness in the Sacramento region, undocumented high school and college students, LGBTQ communities, unconscious bias, reentry and rehabilitation into communities, and other contemporary topics. The LECS program is also working with the campus’ Student Affairs, University Advancement, Public Affairs and Advocacy, and the California state legislature to further promote the LECS program in the community.   

A point of pride for the LECS program is the 43 candidates originally selected to participate as members of Cohort 1 and 39 candidates selected to participate in Cohort 2. Collectively, the LECS students are a diverse group of young women and men (39% Latino/a, 33% White, 9% Black, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 11% other), reflecting the broad multiculturalism found at Sacramento State and in the general population of California.  Nearly half (46%) of the students accepted into the program identified as female. The data is significant because nearly every law enforcement agency across the United States has professed insufficient racial and ethnic minorities and females within their departments.

LECS students

A reception to celebrate the success of the LECS program and honor the first four young women and men from Cohort 1 to be accepted into a law enforcement agency academy will be held on Friday December 8 at 1pm in the foyer of Sacramento State’s Folsom Hall. The event will include law enforcement agency leaders, local and state legislators, dignitaries, faculty, students, family and friends. In addition Cohort 2 candidates celebrate the successful completion of their first semester in the LECS program.

Lastly, we anticipate the 2018 year to be as busy as the previous year. We expect approximately 20 more Cohort 1 graduates to enter law enforcement academies after graduating from the LECS program and Sacramento State in the spring of 2018. Cohort 2 candidates will be completing the second half of phase one in the spring of 2018. They will begin their phase two training in the fall of 2018 and are expected to graduate in 2019. LECS information sessions to recruit current Sacramento State students and community college transfers for participation in Cohort 3 will begin in the spring of 2018 as well. The LECS selection process for Cohort 3 will be completed by June and Cohort 3 will commence in the fall of 2018.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Moffatt, LECS Director, at moffatt@csus.edu or (916)278-5157.


Chinese Scholar Completes Year at Sacramento State

Hanjing Chen, a visiting scholar from China, completed a year of study in the Division of Criminal Justice in October. Chen, an assistant professor at Fujian Police College in Fuzhou, China, audited classes in police management and criminal law during her time in Sacramento.

uwazie and chen
Dr. Uwazie and Dr. Chen

“I didn't know what kinds of academic resource the university had. I had an initial plan at the beginning to do the research on the American crime prevention and social control. I planned to collect as much as possible material on this topic,” Chen said.

Chen said her experience at CSU Sacramento will help her when she returns to the teaching, including using crime data analysis and the use of technology in the classroom.

It was Chen’s first overseas study experience. Dr. Xin Ren was the sponsoring faculty for Chen’s visiting scholarship. Chen credited faculty, staff and students in the Criminal Justice Division who helped her adjust to Sacramento.

“I hope the academic exchange between China and the USA will continue,” Chen said.