Andrea Y Simpson
Focused, comparative examination of legal institutions.
Description. This course explores connections between the economy, politics, and the prison system in the United States. Why have we chosen this area for intellectual inquiry? The number of prisoners in the United States has increased more than 600 percent since 1970. Nearly one in seven (13.4%) of black males between the ages of 25 and 29 were in prison or jail in 2001, compared with 1 in 24 (4.1%) Latino males and 1 in 55 (1.8%) white males. The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We know that prisons are becoming profit centers, and political leaders are more comfortable talking about crime control and safety than prevention of crime and rehabilitation of those who commit crimes. These facts indicate possible links between profit, politics, and prisons. The main goal of this course is to try to locate, define, and illuminate these links.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Texts. The Culture of Control. David Garland Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation. Sasha Abramsky. The Politics of Injustice. Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson. The Corner. David Simon, Edward Burns Inner-City Blues. Paula Woods
Class assignments and grading
Assignments. Five one-to-two page response papers, a group project.
Grading. Papers: 50 % Class Participation: 25 % Group Project: 25 % Total: 100 %