Chapter Activities

Activity 1:

Free Writing on Facility Design and Security

Offer students an opportunity to free write their reactions to the safety concerns of correctional management after a lecture or reading on facility design as it relates to maintain security. Students could write about their reactions to the reading/lecture material or respond to prompts such as:

  • What are the primary issues related to facility security in modern prisons?
  • How does facility layout contribute to or detract from facility security?
  • What is the most appropriate facility design for high-risk offenders? Low-risk offenders? What are the benefits and drawbacks to these different designs?
  • What would it be like to live as an inmate or work as a correctional officer in various types of facilities?

Activity 2:

Security in a Solitary Confinement

Describe to students how solitary confinement is used as punishment for infractions while detained as well as protection of inmates at risk of inmate-on-inmate attacks (e.g., gang activity, sexual assault).

Divide students into two groups: inmates in need of protection and correctional officers. Smaller within subsection groups may be created to facilitate discussion. Ask students to create a list of concerns persons in their group would have related not only to protection, but inmate rights such as education and recreation. After 10–15 min, ask student groups to share their concerns with the larger class. For an extended activity, record the concerns of each group (inmates and correctional officers) on a whiteboard and then have the correctional officer group to respond to the inmate group’s concerns with suggestions to address all or major topics highlighted (have the inmate group also respond to the correctional officer group’s concerns). End the discussion by generating ideas to meet the needs of both groups.

Activity 3:

Inmate Housing Classification

Draw on recent criminal cases in the media or court cases in your local jurisdiction to provide a variety of scenarios to students for this application. Alternatively, use high-profile cases (e.g., Charles Mason, Bill Cosby, Kalief Browder, Martha Stewart) to demonstrate various types of crimes and offenders. Use student polling software or an alternative method to count votes to collectively decide appropriate classification levels for the offenders in the cases described. When disagreements arise, have students create a detailed profile for the offender to support their chosen classification level. Ask for volunteers to present their classification argument to the class. Administer the classification poll again to gauge the impact of student discussion and support for the varied positions.

Activity 4:

Kalief Browder Classification

In this activity, students will describe and assess the classification of Kalief Browder who was held on Rikers Island after being arrested for robbery.

Students may learn about the case from a variety of sources:

Assign students to choose one of these sources (or another approved source discussing the case) and write a response paper. For an in-class writing assignment, the teacher will want to either assign reading/documentary prior to class or set aside class time for this portion of the activity.

The response paper should include the following information:

  • Describe the case and demographic history of Kalief Browder.
  • Highlight the circumstances that led to his detention at Rikers despite not having appeared at a trial or been found guilty.
  • Summarize the housing situation during his stay at Rikers.
  • Reaction to the outcome of this case.

Prompts for discussion could include:

  • What actions did the correctional system take to protect Kalief Browder when he was processed through Rikers Island, an adult jail system?
  • How should have the correctional system handled Kalief Browder’s case as a juvenile?
  • What type of custody level could have resulted in a different outcome in this case?