Honors Course of the Day


DRUGS & CRIME (Criminal Justice 4902.01, CRN: 23950)

Days/Times: Tuesday & Thursday, 2 to 3:20
Professor: Steven Belenko (steven.belenko@temple.edu)

About: This course examines the role that psychoactive and illegal drugs play in U.S. society and its criminal justice system. Topics covered include the types of illegal drugs; the history of U.S. drug prohibition; patterns, trends, and scope of illicit drug use; the relationship between drugs and crime; criminal justice policies toward drug-related crime; drug legalization and decriminalization; the consequences of current anti-drug policies, and alternative strategies for reducing drug crime. Through the lens of drug policy history, government laws, policies and regulation of drugs and drug use, and theories of drug use and crime, students will gain a deeper understanding of such key issues as the social construction of crime and deviance; the social, psychological, and biological determinants of drug use and abuse; the development and reform of antidrug policy; and the interactions of the criminal justice and public health systems. Students will increase their knowledge about the historical and political foundations of drug policy development, enhance their ability to think critically and argue effectively about alternative social and health policies, and improve written and oral communication skills.

Grades will be based on two short papers based on the readings and class discussions, a research paper discussing the benefits and drawbacks of different drug policies, an in-class debate, and thoughtful participation in class discussions.

About the Professor: My research has focused on the impact of drug abuse and drug offenders on the criminal justice system, substance abuse treatment and other health services for adult and juvenile offenders, HIV risks and service needs for offenders, drug courts and other alternative programs, and improving drug policies. I have written four books on topics related to drug abuse and drug policy. I also hold a degree in flute performance from the Mannes College of Music and remain active as a performing musician. I also enjoy hiking, gardening, traveling to interesting places, and playing softball.