Policy Paper

Students will complete a policy writing assignment that aims to reinforce their understanding of the ideas and concepts discussed in class. The writing assignments are described in detail below.

You will write a 3-4 page policy paper arguing both for and against one of the policies or correctional practices listed below. If you prefer to study an issue outside of those outlined below, you must submit an outline to me for consideration and get my approval. Please keep in mind that this is a research paper that will require you to identify and critically analyze empirical evidence; any opinions that you provide must be supported by relevant evidence. You will be required to use ideas, concepts, and theories we have discussed in class or in assigned readings.

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You will write a paper arguing both for and against whichever policy/practice you select from the approved list. To be eligible for full credit on this assignment, you must:

  • Define/describe the policy/practice and its origin (Provide an introduction to the topic and paper).
  • Argue for this policy basing your argument in academic/scientific evidence, not your opinion
  • Argue against this policy basing your argument in academic/scientific evidence, not your opinion
  • Conclude by taking one side or the other personally and use scientific/academic evidence to broaden & expand, alter or change OR abandon this policy (This will of course depend on whether you take the pro or con side). Your view is your opinion but the suggested solution must be evidence-based.
  • Provide a reference list with at least four citations. Your reference list must be in APA format to receive full credit. Your reference list does NOT count towards your total page length for this assignment.

Approved pro/con paper topics:

  1. Mandatory minimum sentences
  2. Determinate sentencing laws
  3. Three strikes law
  4. Probation (as alternative to incarceration)
  5. Private Prisons
  6. Incarceration (Effectiveness of Incarceration)
  7. Death Penalty
  8. Intensive Probation Supervision
  9. Solitary confinement/isolation in prisons
  10. Sex offender registration
  11. Specialty Courts (I.e., Drug Courts, Veterans Treatment Court—Chose one)
  12. Risk-Need-Responsivity (Interventions)

Paper Logistics: Please use black ink with 12-point font and 1 inch margins on all four sides. Please double space. Also, include a reference list of works you cited in your paper. Please use APA citation style. All papers must be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date. Late papers may be accepted on a case-by-case basis, but will suffer grade reduction penalties.

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