Sentencing, Corrections, and Criminal Justice Policy
This introductory course will familiarize students with the history, structure, and performance of America's sentencing and corrections system. Sentencing is the process by which criminal sanctions are imposed in individual cases following criminal convictions. Corrections deals with the implementation and evaluation of criminal sentences after they are handed down. In fact, the two subject areas are inseparable. The course will examine sentencing and corrections from global and historical views, from theoretical and policy perspectives, and with close attention to many problem-specific areas. We will explore sentencing theories and their application, the nature, scope and function of corrections, the impact of mass incarceration on crime and communities, the effectiveness of rehabilitation, the relationship between sanctions and crime, and the consequences of prisoner reentry. These topics will be considered as they play out in current political and policy debates. Guest lectures may include presentations by legal professionals, victims, offenders, and correctional leaders. We also plan to visit a correctional facility. This course is open to 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls in the Law School. Special Instructions: Grades will be based on class participation, and either: (1) three reflection papers of 5 to 7 pages each, or (2) a longer research paper. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02) which meets the research (R) requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class participation, reflection papers or research paper.