We spent the first six weeks of the semester studying the central challenges and approaches to the management of jails and prisons, followed by critical engagement during Weeks 7-15 with leading scholars’ work on mass incarceration. This iterative pedagogical approach was designed to help students transition from passive consumers of information to active producers of knowledge.
Our final exam is an opportunity for students to put their critical reading and thinking skills into practice. To this end, students will write a minimum of six double-spaced pages that include the following information:
· Choose one of the central problems that we have studied in U.S. jails and prisons and state a clear argument regarding how to best address it. You can choose any problem as the basis of your argument, but some examples might include overcrowding, high prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders, disproportionately high incarceration rates among people who are poor, or the difficulties associated with preparing offenders for reentry into the community.
· Provide evidence from a minimum of 5 different sources in support of this argument. These sources must come from readings assigned between 9/28 and the end of the semester and must use a standard academic citation style (APA, Chicago, or MLA) that includes in-text citations of the page numbers on which students located the evidence cited. You may also cite additional sources from peer-reviewed articles, but this is not expected or required.
Students should consider the following questions as they write:
Why have previous attempts to address the problem failed (or been less effective than hoped), and why will your proposed solution succeed?
What evidence from our class’ assigned readings suggests this is the most feasible approach?
Who/which institutions will be responsible for implementation of your proposed solution?
Which individuals or groups will benefit and which individuals or groups will be disadvantaged?
What are the plan’s weaknesses?
Evaluation method: 23 points of the final grade
· 3 points for polish and style. The expectation is that the midterm will be free of errors and that the bibliography will be formatted in one of the standard academic citation styles (APA, Chicago, or MLA).
· 4 points per question (a total of 20 points)
The topic I have chosen to address is mental health reform in prison. Some possible solutions can be retraining prison staff and judicial staff in mental health problems, readdressing rehab vs punishment and when each scenario fits best, and overall advocating for more mental healt resources for those who are already incarcerated