Political Science and Criminal Justice

Faculty Research And Accomplishments


Ryan Patten Delivers Keynote Address at 2014 Faculty Colloquium

Dr. Ryan Patten, Associate Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, presented the findings of his recent book, Hunting for ‘Dirtbags’: Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities, at a faculty colloquium on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. Patten studies a range of local and national criminal justice policy issues. His book, which he coauthored with former CSU, Chico political science professor Lori Beth Way, includes themes of race, ethnicity, social class, culture, law perceptions and policy. Patten and Way conducted an ethnographic study to explore how law enforcement officials use their discretionary time on the job. Their research included participant observation and in-depth interviews with police officers in two major United States cities. Providing highly textured insights into police discretion, their work suggests that America’s “tough on crime” approach to justice is more often used to control people deemed undesirable than as an effective strategy for reducing crime. Patten is an active scholar; in addition to his recent book, he has published six peer-reviewed journal articles since 2013. He has given presentations to criminology societies nationally and internationally, most recently in Budapest, Hungary. Hunting for ‘Dirtbags:’ Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities was published by Northeastern University Press in Boston in July 2013. The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences’ Faculty Colloquium Series is an annual event recognizing faculty members who have received national and international accolades for their work.

--Sarah Langford, CSU, Chico Public Affairs and Publications  

Brad Mahler Honored by Phi Eta Sigma

In fall 2014, political science department lecturer Brad Mahler was honored as a faculty inductee into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. Phi Eta Sigma members honored Brad as the faculty member who made a difference in their educational experience.

Jonathan Caudill Receives Professional Achievement Award

Criminal justice professor Jon Caudill was one of five faculty honored by the Chico State Faculty Recognition and Support Committee for 2014-2015 Professional Achievement Honors. This honor recognizes faculty who have excelled as teacher/scholars during the past three years. Professor Caudill has been instrumental in making the North State safer with his co-founding of the Consortium for Public Safety Research at CSU, Chico. Through Dr. Caudill’s leadership, the CPSR has evaluated Butte County’s approach to Assembly Bill 109 (prison realignment), written two technical reports, and through these reports has been able to provide suggestions to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on how to maintain public safety while rehabilitating inmates. In the last three years, Dr. Caudill earned accelerated promotion and tenure to Associate Professor two years early, has co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and one book. He has presented several times to the Butte County public safety leaders and is an advisory member of the Community Corrections Partnership in Butte County. Currently, Dr. Caudill is the Criminal Justice Program Coordinator for the Political Science Department.

James Jacob Participates in Roundtable Discussion on the Future of the Middle East

In February 2015, political science professor Jim Jacob, former dean of the College of Behavioral & Social Sciences, joined Allen Weiner, senior lecturer in International Law at Stanford Law School and co-director of the Stanford Program in International and Comparative Law, and Allan Stam, Dean of Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, at CSU, Chico, for a roundtable discussion on “The Future of the Middle East.” Professor Jacob is the author of Hills Of Conflict: Basque Nationalism In France.

Robert Jackson Publishes Wherever I Go … A War Baby’s Tales

Political science professor emeritus Bob Jackson, former dean of Graduate, International, and Sponsored Programs, as well as former interim dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, has recently released his new book, Wherever I Go … A War Baby’s Tales. Since retiring, Professor Jackson has turned to his favorite past time, writing, and gathered into a memoir a collection of stories focusing on the political climate he was born into and the evolution of his life-long interest in politics and international relations.

Jonathan Caudill, Ryan Patten, Matthew Thomas, and Sally Anderson Publish Research on Jail Violence

A new study led by a team of California State University, Chico researchers has found that jail violence in California has increased significantly since passage of the state’s 2011 Realignment Legislation Addressing Public Safety (AB 109). In its third year, AB 109 was designed to reduce prison population by making low-level felony offenders ineligible for state incarceration, effectively diverting them to county jails to serve the remainder of their sentences. It also diverted those already in state prison from state to county-level community supervision once paroled and allowed convicted felons to await sentencing while on parole. The study, conducted by Jon Caudill, Ryan Patten, Matthew O. Thomas and Sally Anderson of the political science department and University of North Texas professor Chad Trulson and University of Texas at Dallas professor James Marquart, looked at data from California county jails from 2006 to 2013. The researchers found that after reaching a low in the fourth quarter of 2010, inmate-on-staff assaults generally increased from 2011 to the third quarter of 2013, suggesting a link between AB 109 and jail violence. Their findings were published in the November-December 2014 issue of the Journal of Criminal Justice. “Our findings suggest that the criminal justice system is interconnected,” said Caudill, who led the study. “We’ve seen some fluctuations in the incarceration rates in jails, suggesting a decrease in jail utility: They can’t incarcerate all the people they feel they need to. This might help to explain an increase in crime in our communities and may help explain an increase in arrests prior to sentencing found by the Public Policy Institute of California.” The study also found a decrease in local jail utility since 2011 when the realignment laws took effect, suggesting that fewer suspected and convicted criminals were held in county jails. “One of the reasons we think we’ve seen a decrease in local jail utility is that now they’re having to house more sophisticated offenders for longer periods of time,” Caudill said. “The takeaway is we might not have a taste for incarcerating all these people, but we have to acknowledge that if we go down that path, we may have more crimes being committed in our communities.” The article’s authors are part of the CSU, Chico Consortium for Public Safety Research. In addition to bringing expert consultation to criminal justice issues in the community, the consortium is focused on providing CSU, Chico students with experiential learning opportunities. Students have participated in earlier faculty-led studies of California’s criminal justice system, and this most recent research may be used by the consortium to research the efficacy of potential policies aimed at reducing jail violence. The study is titled “Correctional Destabilization and Jail Violence: The Consequences of Prison Depopulation Legislation.”

--Sarah Langford, CSU, Chico Public Affairs and Publications

Political Statements is the official newsletter of the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at California State University, Chico.

With over 1,000 total majors, the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice is one of the largest departments at Chico State. Students choose courses from a rich curriculum, providing close student-faculty contact in each of the following majors of study: U.S. politics, legal studies, criminal justice, international relations, and public administration. The department also offers a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Political Science.

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