An inside look at the U.S. criminal justice system

April 17, 2008Duke Law News

Four LLM students visited federal and state correctional institutions located in Burtner, N.C. on February 15, with a group of JD students. This visit was part of the Advance Issues in Criminal Justice seminar, taught by Professor Robinson O. Everett at Duke Law School. The purpose of the tour was to look inside of correctional facilities and compare the underlying federal and state philosophy on correction of inmates.

The students visited the Federal Medical Correctional Complex (including a federal medical center and a medium security federal correctional institution) and the North Carolina State Prison, Polk Correctional Institution.

The LLM students found the tour very informative and helpful in understanding the criminal justice system in the United States. Masaya Tsuda LLM '08 of Japan especially appreciated this learning opportunity, as his doctorate concentration in his law school in Japan is about criminal law. The major difference between federal and state prisons, said Masaya, is that the federal system is more open where inmates can communicate with each other and correctional officers, while state prison sets up physical walls and allows few communication opportunities.

Masaya added that a federal medium security institution provided job training for inmates to re-enter into community, which would prevent ex-inmates from committing crimes again. After the visit, Masaya concluded that the federal system provides a more effective program for inmates and community by providing open communication and job training for inmates to re-enter into community.

Other LLM's touring the facilities included Hae Jung Song and Shiwon Lee from South Korea, and Masayuki Nagai from Japan.
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