Criminal justice departments recognize the value of connecting students to real-world problems through service-learning activities. Yet, challenges exist in exposing students to diverse populations. The current study stepped outside the classroom, involving an extra-curricular group of criminal justice students, in a unique service-learning project. Students from a rurally located university traveled to the most poverty-stricken area in Los Angeles, California, known as Skid Row. Students partnered with The Burrito Project, making and serving 950 burritos to people living on the streets. To assess the impact on exposure to poverty, students completed a pre and post-test utilizing the Undergraduate Perceptions of Poverty Tracking Survey. Four years later, follow-up interviews were conducted. Survey results suggest no significant changes pre/post project completion while longitudinal interviews yielded rich data on the project impact. Future directions including criminal justice students within service-learning projects are discussed, especially considering inclusion of students early within their academic careers.
Journal of Criminal Justice Education
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Terry, A., & Lockwood, A. (2020). Exposure to Urbanized Poverty and Attitude Change: A Longitudinal Case Study on Service-Learning with Rural Undergraduate Criminal Justice Students. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 31(4), 489–508. https://doi.org/10.1080/10511253.2020.1803387