SOC 372 A: Crime, Politics, and Justice

Autumn 2021
MW 3:30pm - 4:50pm / THO 135
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
LSJ 375 A
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

Crime, Politics, and Justice

Issues of crime, policing, incarceration, and justice, have been at the forefront of political debates. If you follow the news, you will have heard discussions and debates about mass incarceration, the prison-industrial complex, police brutality, defund/abolish the police, and more. In this course, we examine how the US addresses crime, how criminal justice policy and practice have changed over time, and we grapple with questions such as: why does the US have the world’s largest prison population? How can we explain that those arrested, brought to justice, and sentenced, are overwhelmingly from poor and racial minority communities? How does the US compare to similar Western democracies in the way it handles crime? What can be done to address the inequities and harms of the criminal justice system? The course will start with an examination of what crime is and who gets to define it. Then, we will look at criminal justice policy over the past few decades, and analyze the social, political, and historical factors that shaped the criminal justice system that we have today. Next, we will go over each stage of the criminal justice process – policing, justice, and punishment – and analyze how they produce and maintain inequalities of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The course ends by engaging with contemporary debates about reform and abolition.

Download the full syllabus.

Catalog Description:
Examines role of police, courts, and corrections in criminal justice; investigates critical legal and sociological factors and perspectives that shape criminal procedure; considers the relationship between criminal procedure and wider concerns of justice and equality in society. Offered: jointly with LSJ 375.
GE Requirements Met:
Social Sciences (SSc)
Last updated:
June 13, 2024 - 5:21 am