Indiana State University Newsroom

Croatian students complete criminology seminar

June 7, 2006

Ten students and two faculty members from Eastern Europe have returned home with a better understanding of American community-based corrections thanks to a seminar at Indiana State University.

Students from a newly established criminology program at the University of Zagreb in Croatia visited the Vigo County Community Corrections facility as part of a two- week seminar on alternative sentencing in the United States.
The students - all women - from the University of Zagreb are part of a new criminology program being developed at the Croatian university as part of a partnership with Indiana State. The two-week seminar (May 22 through June 2) focused on alternative sanctions in the United States and Europe. In addition to classroom sessions, it included visits to state prisons in central and west-central Indiana and to the Vigo County Community Corrections facility.

"It is always important to collaborate with people from all over the world," said Ljiljana Miksaj-Todorovic, professor and chair of the department of criminology at the University of Zagreb. "I feel American colleagues in the field of criminology are more practical than European colleagues. When we come to America, we see a lot of practical approaches and creativity in practice and that is something my students really need for their future careers."

In April 2005, the University of Zagreb and Indiana State signed a two-year memorandum of cooperation calling for faculty, student and administrative exchanges, joint research and community outreach, including continuing education. The agreement stemmed from ongoing collaboration between Miksaj-Todorovic and Sudipto Roy, associate professor of criminology at Indiana State.

The United States has been increasingly using alternative sanctions since the 1970s, said Roy, whose research focuses on alternative sentencing.

"We discussed a lot about the different types of alternative sanction programs we are offering in the United States, programs such as victim restitution, electronic home monitoring, day reporting centers, therapeutic communities, halfway houses, etc.," Roy said.

Miksaj-Todorovic and Professor Aleksander Budjanovac, as well as their students, discussed alternative sanctions that are being used in various European countries.

"We were introduced to the whole new system that you have here in the United States and it was a very full experience," said Janja Dragajovic, a 22-year-old junior from Zagreb. "You have a lot more money than we do. Your prisons look a lot better than ours, and you have varied community-based programs while we are still developing new programs."

Calling prisons "old-fashioned" and citing overcrowding of correctional facilities in Croatia, Dragajovic said the Zagreb students appreciated learning about alternative sentencing and treatment programs for criminals addicted to alcohol and other drugs as a way "to give them another chance."

American students also can learn from exchanges and Indiana State plans to send five students to Zagreb during the 2006-07 academic year, said Roy. "In this day of globalization, students need to know what is happening in other countries," he said.


Contact: Sudipto Roy, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2198 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, Media Relations Director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or