Podcasts

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Downside of “Stop and Frisk”

July 13, 2010 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

Since 2003 the number of “stop and frisk” encounters by the New York City Police Department has more than tripled, from roughly 161,000 to 576,000 in 2009, but only about 12 percent of those people were charged with criminal activity, according to a report by the Center on Race, Crime and Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Opponents of this practice call it racist–the majority of those stopped are black and Hispanic–as well as ineffective. “The return rate on these stops is minuscule,” says Delores Jones-Brown, director of the center and the lead author of the report, “Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer.” “We would not accept that kind of return in any other profession.” Jones-Brown discusses how the policy has impacted the relationship between the NYPD and the public and what could be done to improve the communication between the two. “There needs to be a survey of police officers,” says Jones-Brown, “to determine what’s motivating them to engage in stopping.”
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Climbing the FDNY Ladders to the Top

June 29, 2010 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

For Salvatore Cassano, nothing compares to the rush he would get from fighting fires. “The excitement of being able to help people never goes away,” says Cassano, who was appointed the 32nd commissioner of the New York City Fire Department in January 2010. “I hear a siren now and I figure I should be responding some place–I miss it every day.” In his forty-year career, Cassano has held every job in the department including chief, the highest-ranking uniformed position in the FDNY. In an interview in his Brooklyn office, Commissioner Cassano talked about his years of service, starting as a firefighter in 1969, as well as his experience at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science in 1976. “My professors understood if I was late for class,” recalls Cassano. “They could smell the smoke.”
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Resistance and Hope

May 21, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Arguably no other historian alive has researched the legendary civil rights leader and scholar W. E. B. DuBois more thoroughly than David Levering Lewis. His two volumes on the life of DuBois won him the Pulitzer Prize twice, in 1994 and 2001; he is the only author to win two awards for biography for back-to-back volumes. A history professor at New York University, Lewis gave a lecture entitled “Two Giants of Resistance,” part of the “Justice and Injustice in 1950s America,” series at John Jay College. “Without DuBois’ militant ideals, mobilizing language and persistent demands for change,” said Prof. Lewis, referring to the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University, “President Obama’s audacious hopes would never have made him such a visionary.”
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The Unfinished War

April 9, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Marilyn Young believes the Korean War was the Cold War era’s most significant conflict, even though it’s called “The Forgotten War” and historically has been overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War. “The conflict, where more than 30,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives, ended with an armistice, but officially Korea still is at war,” said Young, a professor of history at New York University. In her lecture “From the Korean War to Vietnam-American Foreign Policy in the 1950’s,” Young noted there are now 39,000 troops stationed in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. As part of the “Justice and Injustice in 1950s America” series at John Jay College, Prof. Young, author of “The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990,” discussed how actions by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to divide the country in 1945, without consulting the Koreans themselves, led to years of civil and international conflict. Listen Now >>

McCarthyism’s Lessons

March 19, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

According to Victor Navasky, author of the National Book Award-winning book “Naming Names,” the Cold War really consisted of three simultaneous conflicts: “the confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; internally in the U.S. between what I called the hunted and the hunters, led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy; and a civil war in the liberal left between the anti-communists and the so-called progressives.” Currently a Columbia Graduate School of Journalism professor and chairman of the Columbia Journalism Review, Navasky participated in the “Justice and Injustice in 1950s America” lecture series at John Jay College. In his talk, “The Lessons of McCarthyism,” he discussed the first wave of hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947, which led to the “Hollywood Ten” blacklist. “There are many lessons we can take from that period,” said Navasky, publisher emeritus of The Nation, “and resistance to an unjust authority is one.”
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Presidential Secrets

March 16, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

As chair of the Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Blanche Wiesen Cook helped draft the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which permitted public access to presidential records through the Freedom of Information Act, but also allowed Presidents to invoke restrictions. “When Ronald Reagan became President, he reclassified most of the controversial documents,” said Prof. Cook, a distinguished professor of history and women’s studies at John Jay College and the Graduate Center. “Some of that secret insanity remains today, a legacy of the George W. Bush era, under which no presidential papers will ever be released.” The author of the New York Times best-seller “Eleanor Roosevelt: A Biography,” and “The Declassified Eisenhower,” Prof. Cook spoke about the importance of transparency in government, as part of the “Justice and Injustice in 1950s America” lecture series at John Jay College.
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Forensics: Hard Science, Not Glamor

January 6, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Television shows such as CSI:NY and Law and Order, have fueled the public’s interest in forensic science careers because of their thrilling depiction of detective work. But Prof. Lawrence Kobilinsky, chair of the Department of Forensic Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says people have a distorted view of the field. “It’s not glamorous,” he said. “There are times when evidence has to be collected from a dumpster where a decomposing body may have been.” He added, “The people that do the work are not always beautiful, tall, thin, and blond, carrying a badge and a gun while chasing a suspect.” In his lecture “Genes in the Courtroom: Science and Justice for All,” part of the Serving Science Cafe series, Kobilinsky explores the revolutionary impact DNA technology has had on forensic science since its introduction in 1985.
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Eggs, and Chickens, Grow in Brooklyn

November 23, 2009 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

Raising backyard chickens for eggs is a growing trend as the locavore movement gains ground in the city. But Declan Walsh is taking the process further. “We had been raising layer hens for six years and raising chickens for their meat seemed like a natural progression,” said Walsh, who, when not tending his brood in his Red Hook backyard, is director of community outreach at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Walsh raises the same breed used by commercial hatcheries — Cornish rock broilers — until they are ready for the local slaughterhouse. Walsh, who is organizing an event at the college in December with Just Food, a non-profit working to unite city residents and local farmers, discusses the pros and cons of raising chickens in the city. “It’s easier to find somebody to take care of them than a dog,” said Walsh, “because there’s a built-in incentive — a great egg.”
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Books on Crooks

July 27, 2009 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

Before there was Bernie Madoff, there was Charles Ponzi, the infamous swindler for whom the crime of bilking investors is named. The Lloyd Sealy Library at John Jay College of Criminal Justice recently acquired the original and never published manuscript, The Ponzi Story, which recalls the life of Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who stole $10 million from investors during the 1920s. Written by William H. McMasters, Ponzi’s personal publicist-turned-journalist, who helped break the Ponzi story, the manuscript is part of a collection of 2,200 books, manuscripts and pamphlets penned about hoaxes, con games and the criminals perpetrating them. “I don’t know of any other collection that has the depth and breadth on frauds and swindlers,” said Professor Larry E. Sullivan, John Jay’s associate dean and chief librarian, of the recently acquired collection, which can be seen by appointment. “We have just about every swindler and con (artist), going back to the 16th century.”
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Abortion and Faith

July 9, 2009 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

A three-year study that examined the behavior of unwed pregnant women, 26 and younger, produced surprising results. It showed that those who had either attended, or who had graduated from private religious schools were more likely to have had abortions than their public school peers. The report, “Understanding the Effects of Personal and School Religiosity on the Decision to Abort a Premarital Pregnancy,” by Amy Adamczyk, assistant professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, also found “no significant link” between abortion and one’s religious affiliation. “Not all women who regularly attend church, are necessarily going to be pro-life,” says Prof. Adamczyk, “even though the majority of Christian faiths in America disapprove of abortion.”
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