Derby students to see the dark side of California in stateside trip

14 May 2015

Criminology students from the University of Derby will embark on a trip of a lifetime to the USA tomorrow (May 15) to experience the American criminal justice system first-hand.

Eleven students will be joined by Dr Philip Hodgson, Head of Criminology at Derby, Dr Michael Teague and Charlotte Fletcher-Morgan, both senior lecturers in Criminology at the University.

The 12-day tour of the American criminal justice system in Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco will provide a rare opportunity for the students to see what goes on in court in the US and how it works, compared to the UK.

Gang prevention will be covered with tours of Homeboy Industries and the City of LA Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) Office. Both organisations offer support and training to former gang-involved men and women.

This will be followed by a tour of the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, LA County Jail, along with a tour of housing projects in the city, including talks from the LA Police Department (LAPD), GRYD and community intervention workers about the Community Safety Partnership.

Students going to the USA

Students will also experience visits to the Eastlake Juvenile Delinquency courts, Central Juvenile Hall, and tour the crime laboratory at California State University with Wes Grose, Director at Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Once in San Francisco, the group will visit the infamous Alcatraz Island, spend the day with the City of Berkeley Police Department, and tour San Quentin State Prison, which is the oldest prison in California and has the largest death row in the US.

Dr Hodgson said: “This is the first trip of its kind for Criminology students at Derby. We wanted to give students the best learning experience possible and to compare the UK criminal justice system to that of the US. It will be a big eye opener and it is a unique opportunity for our students.”

Speaking ahead of the trip, BSc Criminology student, Simon-Lewis Menzies, said: “I am excited to experience a different criminal justice system and looking forward to the probation visits and gang work project. The trip will expand my knowledge in criminal justice and the experience will be invaluable.”

Jennifer Curzon, also studying at Derby, added: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn first-hand about the American criminal justice system. I hope to gain a new perspective on criminology, which will enhance my future career opportunities.”