Learning Objectives

  1. To gain an understanding of how politics in the broadest sense affects criminal justice policy.
  2. To grasp the specific ways that U.S. crime policy has been shaped by electoral politics and the media during the past decades.
  3. To become familiar with the rise of mass incarceration in the United States and some of its causes.
  4. To be able to discuss how fiscal crises have contributed to changes in political climate and the positions of the left and right political spectrum.
  5. To grasp the shift in public opinion regarding appropriate crime policy, especially for low-level crime.
  6. To understand some of the data that researchers have been able to provide to the discussion of effective crime control.
  7. To name at least three interest groups that have a stake in maintaining a large prison population.
  8. To grasp the conflict around determining the power of voting districts.
  9. To understand some of the barriers to sentencing reform.