Criminal Justice Policy: Crime, Politics, and the Media

This course will focus on various changes in criminal justice policy that occurred in the last 30 years (e.g., changes in sentencing law and policy, increased incarceration rates, and the "war on drugs") and seek to identify the factors that brought about those changes. To what degree were these changes responses to changes in the rates and types of crimes experienced in the U.S.? To what degree were these changes prompted by political campaigns and strategies, or by a media produced sense of crisis? Readings will include legal materials which will probe and analyze statutory and administrative changes, as well as interdisciplinary readings. Each student will prepare six short (4-5 page) papers responding to the course readings, and will take part in a group presentation on a topic selected by class members.

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