UMass Amherst Sociology Department Inaugurates New Criminal Justice Concentration

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts sociology department is inaugurating a new criminal justice concentration with a meeting and reception Thursday Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Faculty Club. In attendance will be numerous city and state officials who make up the program’s advisory board. Elizabeth Scheibel, district attorney for Hampshire and Franklin counties, and advisory board chairperson, will welcome board members and outline the objectives of the program.

"The criminal justice concentration will provide undergraduates with an introduction to all aspects of the criminal justice system," says sociology department head Randall Stokes. "This will prepare students for further training at the graduate level, or for a career in criminal justice."

The program will stress interdepartmental links to give students a broad range of experience in the study of criminal justice, Stokes says. Depending upon his or her interest, for example, a student taking a course in criminology in the sociology department could complement that course by taking criminal justice policy in the legal studies department or the social context of law in the political science department.

In addition to their coursework, students will be able to serve as interns in a diverse range of organizations, including local correctional institutions, probation departments, victims’ assistance programs, and national, state, and local law enforcement agencies, Stokes says.

Sociology professor Anthony Harris, a specialist in the relationship between gender and race and crime, is director of the criminal justice concentration. Other primary teaching faculty from the sociology department include Robert Faulkner, a specialist in white collar crime; Pamela Quiroz, a specialist in youth gangs; and Roland Chilton, an expert in the use of crime statistics.

Members of the advisory board for the new concentration span a wide range of institutions and organizations within the criminal justice system. In addition to Scheibel they include: Michael Ponsor, Western Massachusetts federal district court judge; Francesca Bowman, chief federal probation officer for the district of Massachusetts; Paul Desmond, federal marshal in the U.S. Marshall’s Office in Springfield; Robert Garvey, Hampshire County Sheriff; John Luippold, chief of the University police department; Michael Smith, special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Springfield; John Gibbons, sergeant of the Massachusetts State Police, Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force; Jeff Kinder, chief federal prosecutor for Western Massachusetts; Paul Kingston, chief probation officer for Hampshire County Superior Court; Donald Maia, chief of the Amherst police department; Joseph Nicholson, assistant superintendent of the Western Massachusetts Residential Correction Center; Monica Perez, director of western area operations for the department of youth services in Springfield; Russell Sienkewicz, chief of the Northampton police department; and Kevin Warwick, assistant superintendent, Hampden County Correctional Center at Stonybrook.