Psychology in Criminal Justice

Operant Conditioning in the Criminal Justice System
According to our textbook author, operant conditioning “…is learning to either make or withhold a particular response because of its consequences.” (Bartol&Bartol,

2011, p. 91)
The student will:
1) Describe, in their own words, the theories of behaviorism and operant conditioning/learning.
2) Describe the application of operant conditioning in each of the following component of the criminal justice system:
a) Enactment of Criminal statutes
b) Enforcement of statutory laws
c) Prosecution of criminal cases
d) Sentencing of convicted offenders
e) Inmate sanctions within correctional institutions
f) Conditions of community-based supervision
3) For each component, the student will answer the following questions:
a) How does the theory of operant conditioning/learning apply?
b) What learned behaviors are the goals of the conditioning?
c) What consequences are applied to stimulate the conditioning/learning?
4) The student’s assessment of the current success and potential success of operant conditioning/learning in the criminal justice system.
5) The student’s work must be supported by a minimum of two outside sources in addition to course materials.
Grading of this project will be based on:
1. Comprehensiveness of the subject psychological theories
2. Appropriate application of the theories to criminal justice
3. Clarity and efficiency of the writing
4. Compliance with format requirements
1. A minimum of 2,500 words (approximately narrative 6 pages) not including cover page and references page
2. The cover page should include the name and number of the course, the name of the student, title of the project and the date of submission.
3. The narrative composition is to be 12 pt. font, double spacing, with 1 inch margins
4. Resources, including course materials, must be cited both in the narrative where appropriate and on a separate references page, using APA citation rules.
5. Projects should be submitted using the WebTycho Assignment Folder unless instructed otherwise.
6. At the instructor’s discretion, this project may be submitted to Turnitin or other service for verification of originality.

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