Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

The 8 Most Dangerous Border Towns in America

For many years, border towns were safe and attractive places for tourists to visit and get a taste of foreign culture, food, shopping and nightlife. Today, these towns have a very different image that is often overshadowed by violence and crime happening on the border. Here are the 8 most dangerous border towns:

  1. El Paso: The West Texas city of El Paso shares a border with Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua, Mexico, which is the most dangerous city in Mexico and one of the worst in the world. In recent years, the violence in Juarez has begun to spill over to the U.S. side, endangering El Paso residents, law enforcement officers and first responders. Juarez is a battleground for drug-related violence and these gangs have shown no mercy to Americans. In 2010, stray bullets from a gun battle in Juarez struck El Paso’s city hall and a university building, causing police to shut down a major border highway.
  2. San Diego: Along the border of San Diego, California, lies Tijuana, one of the most dangerous and violent cities in Mexico. Tijuana’s drug and human trafficking rings have infiltrated into San Diego, resulting in several homicides and kidnappings every year. Gun battles between drug cartels and auto theft crimes are also very common along the border. Another concern along the San Diego-Tijuana border is the brutal raping of women and young girls by human smugglers.
  3. Calexico: Calexico, California, rests on the border of Mexicali in Baja California, Mexico. Calexico has more than 60,000 people pass through the town every day. Drug smuggling is a major issue in Calexico, where numerous smuggling tunnels have been discovered and ultralight planes have been seen dropping bins of marijuana on to the American side. One of Calexico’s most dangerous spots is the All American Canal, which is three miles from the U.S. Port of Entry at Calexico. Every year dozens of illegal aliens drown trying to cross this dangerous body of water and enter America. Border Patrol agents are often assaulted when trying to rescue illegal aliens along the canal.
  4. Brownsville: Brownsville, Texas, lies across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas in Mexico, where drug wars and violence have become more and more common. This city’s proximity to Mexico has caused several problems along the border, including gun battles that have struck buildings at The University of Texas at Brownsville and forced police to shut down border crossing bridges. Brownsville also sees its fair share of drug, weapon and human trafficking crimes across the border.
  5. Columbus: The small town of Columbus, New Mexico, shares a border with Puerto Palomas in Chihuahua, Mexico. In recent years, Columbus has become a breeding ground for organized crime, where an estimated 10 percent of the 2,000-person population may be involved in illegal activity. Drug smugglers have made their homes here and the town’s small police force is scandal-ridden and constantly in disarray. This was made obvious in March, when the mayor of Columbus, the town’s police chief and the village trustee were among several city officials indicted for trafficking firearms to Mexico.
  6. Laredo: Laredo is a South Texas city located on the north bank of the Rio Grande that borders Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico. For many years, Laredo has been the target of cartel violence and drug trafficking for Mexican gangs, and has added ransom kidnappings, a high speed chase and a record-breaking weapons bust to the list of criminal activities happening there. In 2010, the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo was damaged from an explosive that was thrown over the wall by Mexican gang members.
  7. Nogales: Nogales, Arizona, shares a border with Nogales in Sonora, Mexico. The Mexican city of Nogales is ridden with violence and gang activity, which has managed to creep into the U.S. side over the last few years. The ongoing fight for control of drug trafficking routes along the U.S.-Mexico border has put Nogales, Arizona residents in greater danger. Last year, an Arizona rancher was killed on his property by a Mexican smuggler, and a massive gang-related gun battle broke out near the border, killing 21 people and wounding six.
  8. McAllen: McAllen is located at the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and is five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. There lies the Mexican city of Reynosa in Tamaulipas, which is notorious for drug trafficking and border violence. In 2008, one of Mexico’s most brutal drug cartels, Los Zetas, found its way into McAllen to regain control of drug trafficking routes in America. Mexican gang reinforcements have led to increased drug smuggling, money laundering, arms trafficking and immigration problems in McAllen.

10 Politicians Defined by Indiscretion

In the topsy-turvy world of politics, a respected career can plummet in just a matter of moments. With today’s ever-present media, few secrets are safe, as evidenced by the recent revelations that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a mistress, his former housekeeper, and the disgraced managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a maid in a New York hotel. They join an extensive list of public officials who are defined by their indiscretions despite the work they’ve done, good or bad, in their respective positions. Read on to reflect on the who’s who of political bad boys.

  1. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund: Headlining our list is the aforementioned Strauss-Kahn, whose alleged behavior has repulsed Americans, some of his fellow countrymen in France — though certainly not all of them — and onlookers worldwide. The former lawyer and favorite to supplant current French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012 supposedly has a history of misbehavior. In 2002, a French journalist accused him of attempted rape, and in 2008, the IMF investigated allegations that he used his power to coerce a subordinate into an affair. He was forced to resign as the IMF Chief after his bail plea was rejected and he was lodged in a jail. He was granted bail on Thursday.
  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California: During the early stages of his campaign for governor in 2003, several women came forward alleging that Schwarzenegger made unwanted sexual advances toward them, leading to "Gropegate." Even though he admitted that he used to partake in bad behavior, his campaign flourished and he won the election by a comfortable margin. Eight years later, after splitting with Maria Shriver, his wife of 25 years, the news surfaced that he fathered a child with their former housekeeper more than a decade ago. Not a good situation for the purported family man.
  3. Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy: The plight of Berlusconi’s PDL party in recent elections can be attributed to his most recent sex scandal and the three corruption trials he faces. A poster child for how not to behave while in power, his indiscretions are too numerous to go over here, which is why we provided a list in the link. The man who once said the left "has uglier women" isn’t the most popular among women in Italy, many of whom find his attitude toward their sex repulsive. Currently, he’s in trouble for allegedly paying for sex with a nightclub dancer who was under 18. Fittingly, Berlusconi’s sex parties have become the talk of the world, as opposed to, say, his economic policies.
  4. John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States: He wasn’t the first Kennedy to have an affair and certainly wasn’t the last, but John’s were a little more memorable. It’s alleged that he had dalliances with numerous women, most famously Marilyn Monroe. Some say their first tryst occurred in Bing Crosby’s house in Palm Springs in 1962, at which point Monroe’s lust for the president evolved into an obsession, worsening her already fragile mental state. Other alleged Kennedy mistresses: Judith Exner, Gunilla von Post and Mary Pinchot Meyer.
  5. Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States: American presidents certainly haven’t been above womanizing. John F. Kennedy had Marilyn Monroe (among others, as previously mentioned), Dwight Eisenhower had Kay Summersby and Franklin Roosevelt had Lucy Mercer. More than one supposed mistress comes to mind when thinking of Clinton, but Monica Lewinsky was the one who actually managed to cripple his presidency. He had several sexual encounters with her in the White House, most of which took place in the Oval Office. His initial steadfast denial of the affair, which included false testimony under oath, resulted in his 1998 impeachment. Even still, the highest approval rating of his presidency, 73 percent, came on the day he was impeached.
  6. Charles, Prince of Wales: Sure, he’s more of a figurehead than a politician, but his high-profile marriage to Diana Frances, better known as Princess Diana, and the drama that unfolded while they were together captivated the world. Their "fairytale" marriage was disrupted by Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife, whom he had known several years before he met Diana. The affair made headlines in the ’90s after transcripts of an intimate phone conversation between Charles and Camilla were published in the British tabloids. After Charles and Diana separated, Diana cited the affair as the reason their marriage failed.
  7. Newt Gingrich, 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and current presidential candidate: Because he was so instrumental in securing a Republican majority in the House in 1994 and the subsequent unified opposition against President Clinton’s policies, there will always be a soft spot in the heart of conservatives for Gingrich. Although he’s an early favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, his reputation isn’t exactly squeaky clean. In 1997, he was sanctioned by the House over ethical questions and was unanimously reprimanded. More infamously, while he was a leading investigator during the Clinton scandal, he carried on an affair with House of Representatives staffer Callista Bisek, whom he married in 2000. She will become a familiar face during the upcoming primaries, one that’ll serve as a constant reminder of his hypocrisy.
  8. John Edwards, former United States Senator from North Carolina, vice presidential candidate and presidential candidate: A promising 2008 ended in a thud for Edwards when he admitted in August, several months after his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination had officially sunk, that he had an affair with former campaign worker Rielle Hunter. She gave birth to a child in February of that year, and Edwards’ campaign aide Andrew Young initially claimed to be the father, which, according to Young, was urged by Edwards. The former senator admitted that he fathered the child in January 2010, 11 months prior to the death of his wife Elizabeth, who had been battling breast cancer since the day John Kerry and Edwards conceded defeat to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
  9. Rudy Giuliani, 107th Mayor of New York City and former presidential candidate: Over the last few years, Giuliani’s personal life has been the subject to scrutiny from the press. He’s been married three times, once to his second cousin, and the relationship with his third wife, Judith Nathan, began while he was still married to his second wife, Donna Hanover. In 2000, he announced his separation from Hanover in a press conference without discussing his plans with her beforehand. Hanover responded by saying their relationship was strained due to his relationship with a staffer, a reference to his former mistress Cristyne Ford Lategano. As a result of his misdeeds, Giuliani became estranged from his two kids — his daughter Caroline supported Obama in 2008.
  10. Gary Hart, former United States Senator from Colorado and presidential candidate: Hart’s name will forever be tied to Donna Rice, the 29-year-old model with whom he had an affair during his failed bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. A frontrunner when he entered the race, the campaign deteriorated with the help of the press, which tailed him until they found evidence of his relationship with Rice. Once the news broke, it became the focus of his campaign, and his poll numbers dropped drastically in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He eventually dropped out of the race, returned and then dropped out again, and Michael Dukakis won the nomination. Hart is proof that Monkey Business can ruin a once promising political career.

10 Incredibly Inspiring Prison Programs

For many years, hard labor and prison ministries were the only forms of rehabilitation and support a prisoner could get. Since then, prisons have opened up their doors to non-profit organizations, education programs and rehabilitation services that are dedicated to helping prisoners live better lives and prepare for the challenges of reentering society. Here are 10 incredibly inspiring prison programs:

  1. Prisoner’s Reading Encouragement Project: The Prisoners’ Reading Encouragement Project (PREP) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to enhancing literacy and education for inmates. This 11-year-old program also strives to teach the public about the educational needs of correctional facilities, as well as establish scholarship funds for inmates’ tuition and textbooks while in prison. PREP collects new and gently used books, videotape, audiotapes for prison libraries and inmates enrolled in courses or doing independent study. This inspiring prison program has donated more than 55,000 books to 23 different prisons in New York, bringing literacy and education to eager inmates.
  2. Just Detention International: Just Detention International is a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to ending widespread sexual abuse of male and female prisoners and providing resources and support for survivors of prison rape. Since 1980, this Los Angeles-based organization has been working with policymakers, advocates, corrections leaders and prison rape survivors to end this devastating problem, as well as ensure government accountability for prison rapes. JDI also strives to educate the community about sexual violence in detention and how the system continually fails to protect inmates.
  3. Human Kindness Foundation: The Human Kindness Foundation is a non-profit organization that created the inspiring Prison-Ashram Project. This North Carolina-based program is committed to encouraging prisoners and prison staff to recognize their strength and purpose as human beings and help them behave accordingly. The teachings of the Prison-Ashram Project are centered on "simple living, service and personal spiritual practice," which the founders believe is more achievable for inmates who are free of distractions and outside influences. The program also encourages inmates to take responsibility for their prison and communities, as well as focus on their behavior and actions towards others.
  4. Fortune Society: Fortune Society is a non-profit social service and advocacy organization that’s committed to helping inmates reenter society after prison and promoting alternatives to incarceration. Fortune Society helps incarcerated or formerly incarcerated inmates through education, drop-in services, employment services, family services, health services, housing assistance, substance abuse treatment and many other rehabilitative services that are essential to their success in and out of prison. This program serves nearly 3,000 men and women at three New York area service centers.
  5. Prison Fellowship: Prison Fellowship is a national, non-profit organization created by the former Special Counsel for President Nixon, Charles Colson, who was incarcerated for Watergate-related charges. After serving seven months in prison, Colson launched Prison Fellowship to help prisoners develop or rebuild a relationship with Christ. Prison Fellowship accomplishes this goal through Transformational Ministry, which allows local churches and volunteers to reach out to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. This program also helps prisoners reconcile and strengthen their relationship with family members, friends and their community.
  6. Prison S.M.A.R.T.: Prison S.M.A.R.T. is a program sponsored by the International Association for Human Values, which strives to enhance the lives of all prisoners, correctional employees and people working within the criminal justice system through stress management and rehabilitative training. Participants will learn how to reduce stress, heal trauma and handle negative emotions so that they can live a healthier life and give back to society in a positive way. IAHV Prison S.M.A.R.T. has worked with more than 350,000 participants, many of whom have experienced the benefits of increased self-esteem, realistic conflict resolution, decreased violent behavior and balanced sleep patterns.
  7. National Center on Institutions and Alternatives: NCIA is dedicated to helping all those involved in the criminal justice system, whether they are prisoners, ex-prisoners, correctional workers or family members of prisoners, through specialized advocacy, prevention and counseling programs. NCIA helps clients make the adjustment to confinement, as well as inquire on chances of parole or strategies to increase chance of parole. This inspiring organization also focuses on several different areas of prison reform, as well as youth and adult residential issues.
  8. Pathways to Hope-Prison Dog Project: Pathways to Hope’s Prison Dog Project provides inmates the opportunity to work with often unwanted dogs while developing a strong, loving bond with man’s best friend. Prisoners learn how to take care of another being, as well as give and receive love. The Prison Dog Project has made such a lasting impression on prisoners that many former convicts have even started their own grooming shops, training centers and worked with the handicapped and guide dogs.
  9. The Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program: The Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program is made up of a group of Princeton students and townspeople who go to nearby New Jersey prisons to teach and assist inmates in their reading, writing and math skills. The volunteers teach or tutor based on their interests and the inmates’ needs. This program has been operating for three years and has significantly helped inmates improve their skills and become confident in academics.
  10. Insight Prison Project: The Insight Prison Project is a rehabilitative program for prisoners that strives to prevent relapse into crime and improve public safety. Former convicts and professional teaching staffs will teach prisoners the skills and life tools needed to positively change their lives and become responsible, productive members of society when they’re released. Some areas of focus include: victim impact accountability, rational restructuring, emotional competency and intelligence and embodied integration.