Buies Creek, N.C.-Students in Campbell University's Criminal Justice program had the opportunity to experience what they learned about British law and justice during a study abroad program to London, England this summer, May 21-June 11. The students were accompanied by Professor Catherine Cowling.
The infamous Tower of London, a session of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Old Bailey and a tour of the Inns of Court or British equivalent of the American Bar Association were part of an event-packed agenda relating to a course that Cowling teaches called British Common Law and Constables.
"Most of our system of justice derives from the British system," Cowling said. "The students learned a great deal about the similarities and differences between America and Britain."
The crime rate, punishment and the use of weapons are where some of the greatest societal differences occur between the U.S. and British justice systems, Cowling said.
"The British murder rate is much lower than that of the U.S. Few British policemen even carry weapons and sentencing is more likely to include probation and community service rather than incarceration," said Cowling.
Cowling attributes these differences to cultural dissimilarities between America and Britain.
"Although I haven't seen any studies to support this, I believe we in this culture have been taught to reach for the â€˜American Dream,' that we should have everything that we want all of the time," Cowling said. "The British aren't raised with these kinds of expectations."
The students who made the trip, Criminal Justice majors Katie Williams, Benjamin Gongora, Donna Diaz and Jacqueline Wilson, were required to complete assigned readings each night relating to the next day's itinerary and to share what they learned by presenting a paper dealing with the experience to classmates and faculty.
"I can't say enough about the Study Abroad program at Campbell," Cowling said. "It's not only a learning opportunity for students, but an opportunity to broaden their focus. The experience is well worth it."
The study abroad trip to London in connection with Cowling's class and the Criminal Justice program at Campbell will be offered again in 2011. For more information, contact Professor Catherine Cowling at 910.893.1487 or Dr. Donna Waldron, coordinator of Campbell's Study Abroad program, at 910.893.1576.
Photo Copy: Campbell students visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum during a study abroad trip to London this summer. Left to right are Jacqueline Wilson, Donna Diaz, Benjamin Gongora, and Katie Williams.