Politics and Punishment in the Mass Incarceration Era

This seminar explores the dramatic shift in criminal punishment discourses, institutions and practices in the United States from the post-WWII era to the contemporary period. Students will engage with historical, sociological, legal and political science scholarship to discuss the dynamics of and explanations for the shift from a rehabilitation to an incapacitation rationale and from community corrections to mass incarceration.Particular attention will be paid to the way that politics and state institutions, such as forms of democratic representation, legislative policymaking and legal systems, have shaped the trajectory of criminal punishment in the United States. Students will also be given the chance to explore specific topics of their choosing, such as prosecutorial discretion, the war on drugs, sentencing guidelines, prison privatization, restorative justice, or the consequences of mass incarceration on communities. COURSE REQUIREMENTS The class will meet once a week for two hours to discuss and analyze assigned readings. Grades will be based on weekly class participation (15%), participation in one group presentation (25%), and one 20-25 page research paper (one or two drafts) on a topic of the student's choice (60%). Class Participation (15%): The seminar will be interactive and participation is required. Group Presentation (25%): Each student will be required to participate in one group presentation. Students will work together with 2-3 other students to choose a specific topic, case study, and readings for the class session (in consultation with the instructor). Group presentations will be 15 to 20 minutes and provide an overview of the topic and an introduction to the case study. (See below for further details.) Research Paper (60%): Each student will be required to write a one or two draft 20-25 page research paper on a topic of the student's choice. Students are encouraged to choose a topic that coincides with their group presentation topics. Students will submit a one-page topic proposal for approval.

Catalog Number: CRIM 634
Practice Areas: Criminal Law Practice AreaPerspective viewpoint
Additional Course Information: 1 Draft degree req may be met with class

Course History

Spring 2011
Title: Politics and Punishment in the Mass Incarceration Era
Faculty: Schoenfeld, Heather
Section: 1     Type: Seminar     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 4