Component #1 – Problem Statement (1 page) 

Due by 11:59 PM on Saturday, Jan 30, 2020

Your problem statement should introduce the reader to your topic. (Why should the criminal justice field be curious or want to learn about your subject). Define the problem exactly as it exists.  Try to convey, why the topic is significant, briefly what the literature states (what have researchers concluded or found), while working towards developing a research question(S) also known as a thesis. Describe the nature and magnitude of the problem using updated statistical data (NOT Wikipedia) (UCR, NCVS, NIBRS, BJS, etc.) You must cite the source of your data.  You do not need to explain the symptoms or solutions of the problem only the problem itself. 

Your thesis statement needs to be specific and should reflect what you are going to cover in your paper. A thesis typically appears at the end of the first paragraph. A good thesis will make a claim and will control the entire argument throughout your paper.

Paragraph 1: Intro: define problem & thesis

Paragraph 2: Supporting facts of the problem (scholarly source)

Paragraph 3: More supporting facts/data of the problem

Paragraph 4: The final paragraph should explain your proposed study (how you are going to figure out/ prove your thesis statement or answer your thesis question). This can be done through a survey, collecting past data, observations, etc. This is a short paragraph, which will be expanded during your methodological section.

Example (Short):

As many people know, domestic violence is a criminal act involving victims and offenders who are related to one another. Domestic Violence includes intimidation and simple, aggravated, and sexual assault. What most people may not be aware of is that domestic violence has become a national dilemma, with a crime of this type occurring every 9 seconds. Family members try to ignore what’s happening and neighbors do not want to get involved. The victim is usually helpless to understand the problem, let alone determine the solution to it. Instead of the difficulties being addressed before they can further develop, law enforcement agencies are usually left to handle each case only after a criminal act has taken place and someone has been injured. At this point, the officers themselves are at risk due to the volatile nature of the situation. Despite the stereotypes, domestic violence knows no racial, gender, age, religious, socioeconomic, or sexual orientation boundaries and statistics show that these crimes impact virtually every one of us in some way [1].

Example (Full): (Examples of drafts from previous students)

Drugs and medicines have been used to cure pain and illness for thousands of years throughout human history.  From ancient people in Egypt using herbs to the arrival of penicillin, the first antibiotic in 1928, by Sir Alexander Fleming to the hypodermic needle in 1857 and the wide spread use of morphine, a pain reliever.  Drugs have shaped society throughout the ages, although not necessarily in a good way.  With the easy availability of drugs today more people use drugs not specifically for their purpose but to get “high”.  Today in the U.S., drugs have become a real problem; young children are getting their hands on their parents’ prescription pills and taking them, not knowing what they are or what they can do to them, which can ultimately lead to substance abuse.  Drugs are trafficked, sold, and traded throughout the U.S. and this is becoming a huge problem within the criminal justice system. 

           Many criminal justice professionals believe that the use of drugs can promote violent crime:  “In 2011 in the state of Arizona the Arizona Arrestee Reporting Information Network (AARIN), which provides data on arrestees in the Maricopa County found that in the previous 30 days 56% arrested used marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin (States new service, 2012).”  More than half of the people who were arrested were using drugs. 

           One answer to the drug abuse and violent problem has been attempted in Arizona with a change to prisoner reentries.  In January 2010 Arizona started the use of a Prison Reentry Unit, which changed the way reentering prisoners are supervised.  Every prisoner once released from the Arizona Department of Corrections has to report to the probation department.  “With this new system implemented the failure to report to probation dropped from 23% to 2.3%; the rate in which prisoner’s probation was terminated and were re- incarcerated dropped from 10.1% to 4.9%, and most importantly the rate of new felony arrests dropped from 13.8% to 10.8% with the new program”(AUTHOR, YEAR, p.).  This probation department seems to have helped significantly with released prisoners. 

           An anonymous survey could be put together to try to prove how serious drug abuse and violent crime are and how they can be correlated.  This survey could ask all persons arrested for violent crimes to answer a questionnaire that asked questions such as have you taken drugs before? How many times have you taken drugs in the last 6 months? Do you think that drug use in any way fueled you to commit this crime? This would give some useful information on how serious this matter is or could be.

[1] Retrieved from:

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