PubPol 495 is open to students in the Public Policy BA program, by permission only.
This course examines crime and criminal justice policy in the United States. In the first part of the course, we will develop a framework for evaluating criminal justice policy organized around four values: Safety, censure, liberty, and equality. Through a brief review of recent reforms and critiques of criminal justice practices, we will examine how this range of values both justifies public efforts to control crime and motivates important policy actors. In the second part of the course, we will use our framework to analyze contemporary proposals for reform in each of the three major criminal justice institutions: The police, the courts, and corrections. Topics are likely to include drug courts, order maintenance policing, indigent defense, prisoner reentry, gun control, marijuana legalization, and victim's rights, among others. In each case, we will review current research and analysis of different strategies, seeking to understand which proposals strike a tolerable balance among the competing aims of the field.