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Crime and Punishment in the USA

Semester and Year FA 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG1767
Section 001
Instructor Ngina Chiteji
Days TR
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This course examines the way that the United States punishes offenders, including the costs borne at the state and federal levels of government to administer prisons and the criminal justice system more broadly. It also examines the causes and consequences of the rising incarceration rates that the nation witnessed during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, such as the role that politics has played, the labor market effects of having a prison record, and the spill-over effects that incarceration has on formerly incarcerated persons' communities and families. While grounded in the social sciences, the course explores its subject matter from an interdisciplinary perspective, connecting scholarship from history, economics, philosophy, political science, sociology and law. It will combine conceptual and statistical approaches to analysis. It is not a class about policing nor is it about protests or political advocacy, but understanding empirical evidence related to trends in incarceration is a skill that may be useful to students interested in such issues. Possible texts include Bruce Western, Punishment and Inequality in America; Garland, David, Punishment and Modern Society; Mary Pattillo, David Weiman and Bruce Western, eds., Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration; Norval Morris and David Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison; and Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen, Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)