RCSSCI 357 - History and Theory of Punishment
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
Credits:
4
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Ever been curious about the history of crime, punishment and prisons in the United States? What is crime? How is it counted? Why does it fluctuate? Are there important distinctions between crimes? Which is more effective, punishment or rehabilitation? How far should either go? Who should administer either? How has the administration of law and order, corrections, sentencing, parole, etc. changed over time? Does region matter? Does race, gender and/or class matter? And how is this system actually experienced by those on the inside?

Through primary and secondary source readings, as well as documentary film, this course will look closely at the history and theory of punishment, and at how prisons and detention have been used to address social ills over time in American history. It will pay close attention to the importance of historical context and political moment when considering how the judicial system as well as prison system operates, and it will assess the ways in which race, gender, class, and sexuality shape both prison politics and populations. The course will explore the importance of regional difference vis-à-vis the administration of punishment, and will also grapple with some of the questions that Americans find most troubling today with regard to crime and punishment. These include: debates over the death penalty, the law regarding youth offenders, the ethics of drug laws, prisoner civil liberties vs. victims’ rights, mandatory sentencing guidelines, and how the criminal justice system deals with the mentally ill. Finally, students will address the question of how the United States might best remedy the criminal justice problems it now faces—both in theory and in practice.

RCSSCI 357 - History and Theory of Punishment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
P
26012
Closed
0
 
-
M 2:00PM - 5:00PM
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