Not all who wander are lost. So says a nondescript sign on Edinburgh, Scotland’s Royal Mile, the well-travelled, shop-lined street leading up to the castle that has stood witness to Scotland’s history from its vantage point high above the city.
That was one of the first sights seen by Niagara University criminal justice faculty members Dr. Dana Radatz and Dr. Paul Schupp and 21 students who had just completed CRJ 397/585: Justice in the United Kingdom, as they began a 14-day study-abroad excursion to the UK.
The program, created by Dr. Radatz and Dr. Schupp and organized around criminal justice themes, began in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, and included stops in Cardiff, Wales, and London, England. In each city, the Niagarans visited criminal justice sites related to policing, courts, corrections, and victimization. They also held seminars with criminal justice officials and practitioners.
In Edinburgh, the students met with Fiona Thomson of Scotland’s Victim Support Services and retired Scottish police official Tom Wood to learn more about responding to the needs of crime survivors as well as crime control policies in Scotland.
In Wales, officials at the Cardiff Police Station hosted the Niagarans, where they discussed similarities and differences in how police in the United Kingdom and the United States respond to crime problems such as drug trafficking while maintaining positive community relations. Although the tour of the local jail revealed mostly empty cells, the custody inspector assured everyone that the jail would soon be filled for the weekend, as it was a holiday weekend.
The megalithic structure at Stonehenge was well worth the stop along the way to London, where the students spent five days exploiting London’s subway, the Tube, to explore as much culture and history as one can on a good night’s rest. Criminal justice experiences included tours of the Royal Courts of Justice and the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court), as well as the Tower of London, where Beefeaters recounted the stern justice meted out there for centuries.
The United Kingdom program was the fourth annual study-abroad excursion focused on criminal and social justice themes created by Dr. Radatz and Dr. Schupp. The two professors collaborated with Dr. Trisha Rhodes, an assistant professor in the criminal justice department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Dr. Diana Falco, ‘01, M.S.’02, a former criminology and criminal justice professor at Niagara University who founded her own educational tour operation, ExplorEd, which infuses “education through exploration.”
The criminology and criminal justice study-abroad program is a brief, affordable, faculty-led option for students who want to add such experiences to their résumés but cannot afford, or are uncomfortable with, studying abroad alone for an extended period of time. It is open to all Niagara University students, regardless of major.
The Niagarans enjoyed their farewell dinner at the restaurant right next door to the Chelsea Football Club stadium. The final night ended with several students sharing their fondest educational and social experiences, and all raising a toast to their time in London and, for those who are not yet graduating, to next year’s trip, wherever that may be.