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Course Descriptions

BMS 571: Introduction to Criminalistics
The course includes an overview of the science and technology that is used in the modern forensic laboratory. This lecture is designed to provide the practical application of criminalistics procedires in the context of the different sections of a forensic laboratory. The student will recognize the role of evidentiary procedure in the investigation and analysis of a crime scene. Students will identify the role of social work related to the integration of criminalistics from evidence collection, through the forensic laboratory, and into the judicial process. 3 credits

Note: The four courses below are offered through the Department of Social Work's Master of Social Work Program, as part of the Forensic Social Work concentration within that graduate program. For more information on the Master of Social Work Program, click here.  

SWK 630: Forensic Social Work & the Criminal & Juvenile Justice System
The course provides an overview of the specialty of forensic social work and its interface with the criminal justice system, from arrest to sentencing and conviction. Legal and ethical aspects of professional practice, including issues associated with competency of the accused as well as the preparation of the presentence forensic evaluation. The debate regarding punishment versus rehabilitation is explored along with a multi-systemic perspective on the causes and prevention of crime and juvenile misconduct. The interface with sexual, religious, racial and other sub-group involvement will also be discussed and realized. 3 credits

SWK 631: Interviewing, Evaluating, & Offering Treatment as a Forensic Social Worker
The clinical overview leading to an accurate understanding of the underpinnings of the pathology which led to the involvement in the judicial system is a critical part to the successful practice of forensic social work. This course scrutinizes this vital component of the forensic social work process. The course also focuses on separating the various components associated with the forensic social work role, e.g. tasks and potential ethical conflicts. The principles of generalist and clinical practice are applied to the assessment and treatment of individuals charged with a range of criminal and juvenile offenses with special attention to the specific issues associated with sentencing, diagnosis, incarceration, and release. Macro tasks related to mediating the needs of individuals and the purposes of institutions are also addressed. 3 credits

SWK 632: Forensic Social Work with Drug & Alcohol Populations in the Criminal & Juvenile Justice Systems
The course focuses on the role of the Forensic social worker in drug and alcohol related treatment and crime. Heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs, "club drugs" (i.e. MDMA, etc.), and alcohol will be placed under a clinical microscope. Different drugs are sought by different populations of people which generally lead to different types of criminal activity. The impact of drug and alcohol abusing offenders" behavior on their children will also be explored. The legal and ethical issues associated with the forensic social work population are explored. Attention is focused on the relationship and potential role conflicts between social work practice and 12 step self-help programs. 3 credits

SWK 633: Forensic Social Work & Domestic Violence – Legal, Cultural, Ethnic, and Religious Issues in the Criminal & Juvenile Justice
The course focuses on the role of the forensic social worker in understanding, assessing, preventing, and managing domestic violence. The cyclical nature of domestic violence and its association with alcohol and substance abuse is addressed with special attention to the needs of adult children of alcoholics who often perpetuate a pattern of violent behavior which leads to intergenerational involvement with criminal and juvenile justice systems. The course incorporates a multi-systemic perspective with an emphasis on assessing and treating the perpetrator, as well as the victims of domestic violence and also focuses on the forensic social worker"s role in impacting the institutions associated with the efforts to reduce domestic violence. 3 credits