WGC’s Department of Criminology has established a reputation for excellence, and is attracting students from outside of the local region. This increase in demand, which translates into a large number of students entering the department of criminology, enables us to offer a greater variety of seminars and elective courses. In addition to the traditional required courses in the discipline which includes courses in theory, introduction to sociology and psychology, psychopathology, elements and principles of the penal code and penology, we offer a variety of elective courses such as white collar crime, drugs, organized crime, sexual abuse, dimensions of violence, and more. In addition we emphasize strongly the proficiency of students in research methodology and statistics, which is taught along with a more advanced level of computer use. The department maintains high standards and in return provides extensive academic support to its students.
The department aims to expose students to issues and dilemmas that workers in the field might encounter. Therefore, we provide an option for the students to volunteer during the second and third years of study in various organizations such as prisons, youth clubs, mental facilities, centers for drug addiction, etc. The feedback from the students, as well as from the places in which the students are placed, has been wonderfully positive.
The department's staff meets weekly and discusses issues related to teaching and required standards, and once a month there is a presentation by one of the faculty of a research project or a relevant issue from the field of criminology. Each semester the staff meets with each cohort for an exchange of ideas, impressions and feedback. Such meetings seem to be helpful to the faculty and the students alike as they are a very good means for mutual communication.
In recent years greater emphasis has been placed on research, and several research projects are underway. One area which seems to be dominant in teaching and research has been the whole issue of children and youth at risk. A reflection of this is a major national evaluation project led by Dr. Hagit Turjeman, which is handsomely financed by the RASHI Foundation and the Office of Social Security.
WGC Center for Research on Youth at Risk
Established by the Department of Criminology, WGC’s Center for Research on Youth at Risk is dedicated to estimating the scope, characterization, and methods for dealing with the youth at risk phenomenon in northern Israel. Research topics include exploration of gender differences, prevention methods, tools for enhancing self-image, wilderness therapy, and more.
In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic rise in juvenile delinquency, together with an increase in the severity of the crimes. In the Northern periphery, the percentage of at-risk youth is above the national average. Furthermore, many of the characteristics that describe the North are known to be common features of the settings which amplify risk, notably: lower socioeconomic status, higher rates of unemployment, and lower access to services.
Despite the expanding population of youth at risk in Israel, there is no Israeli scientific body dedicated to estimating the scope, characterization, and treatment methods. WGC’s research center enables, for the first time, the compilation of professional scientific knowledge, and will enhance insight into the phenomenon and its relation to various characteristics of society.
The primary goals of the WGC Center for Research on Youth at Risk include:
Creation of a comprehensive database for longitudinal monitoring and mapping of the scope, characteristics and causes of risk, and the risk factors and protective factors of youth poised on the risk spectrum (from the bio-psychological, familial, social, legal aspects, and more).
Mapping and assessment of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs in the region.
The WGC Center for Research on Youth at Risk was made possible by the generous support of the Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation.
Head of the Department of Criminology
Professor Gideon Fishman