Each question will require students to go back to the reading(s) covering the topic of the question and apply this material in order to earn full credit. The suggested length of answer per question is about two to three pages, or about 750 – 1000 words. Questions should be answered fully, including each specific part of the question, and the responses to the essay questions should be informed by the readings. What I am assessing with these essay exams is (a) your understanding of the course material, (b) your ability to synthesize multiple pieces of information related to a topic into a cohesive answer, and (c) your application of the course material. You must cite your work, your response is not based on your opinion, but, on empirical literature (assigned readings and publications listed on Canvas) to validate your position.
Please answer the following question(s) provided below:
- Based on your previous reading(s): Review and discuss (a) trends in incarceration and crime rates since the 1970s and (b) the empirical literature that examines whether changes in incarceration rates led to a reduction in crime rates during that time period, what has currently changed within the criminal justice system? Does the empirical evidence support the assertion that increasing the use of incarceration reduces crime/recidivism? Please discuss issues of reliability and validity with regard to the empirical studies (assigned reading) you reviewed.
- Utilizing your previous readings, there has been a longstanding concern with incarceration and who is most likely to be incarcerated. Considerable attention has been devoted to the issue of race differentials and poverty at several phases of the criminal justice process. Evaluate the problem(s) in the American Criminal Justice System (all components: Police, Courts and Corrections). Write an essay which clearly defines the issues, review the empirical literature (assigned readings), and critiques that literature.