Criminal Justice students, Bethany Herndon, Jason Atchison, and Momoko Suma, were awarded winners at this year’s Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Conference for their poster presentations. Their faculty mentors, Mark Lanier and Ariane Prohaska, were also recognized.

Poster Presentation – Social Sciences
4th Place
Bethany Herndon, Criminal Justice
Jason Atchison, Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Mark Lanier, Criminal Justice
The Effects of Prejudice on the Legal System and Conviction Decisions
MarkWithStudents
Abstract: Justice is meant to be blind, but often convictions are made based on either presumed or real prejudice. Prejudice is an issue that affects us all, and often carries over into the justice system. The statistics reported about current prison populations and crimes may prime juries to be prejudice. These types of statistics and current personal prejudices may create a view that a certain race, ethnicity, religion, age group, or gender is less sophisticated, more likely to commit crime, or more violent. For instance, it is accepted common knowledge that African Americans are more likely to be incarcerated, teens are actively deviant, that the Islamic faith teaches terroristic practices, and that men are much more violent. Although not true, this type of statistical information may be hindering defendants from receiving a fair and just trial.

Poster Presentation – Social Sciences
International Focus Winner
Momoko Suma, Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Ariane Prohaska, Criminal Justice
The comparison of the homelessness in Japan and the United States
2014 Momoko Suma
Abstract: I will compare the situations of homeless people in Japan and the U.S, two of the greatest economic powers in the world. Although economically strong, according to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the poverty rates of these countries are among the highest in the developed world, and in both nations have resulted in problem of homelessness. The poster will show the commonalities and differences of each country’s definition of homelessness, and how these definitions shape the public policies enacted to support the homeless, including supports by both government and nonprofit organizations in Japan and the U.S. I conclude that the definition of homelessness is underdeveloped in Japan compared to the United States, and this results in fewer supports for the homeless in Japan.

The Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Conference is a premier annual event at The University of Alabama that provides undergraduates an opportunity to highlight their research or creative activity. In addition to bringing attention to the excellent work of University students, the Conference allows students to gain experience presenting, compete for cash prizes and form relationships with their faculty mentors and fellow Conference presenters.
For more information about the conference, click here.