Chapter Activities

Activity 1: Social Justice and Collateral Consequences

Split the class into two groups. Assign one group to speak in favor of collateral consequence on clients and the other group to speak against. Each group should compose their argument, while also defining collateral consequences and discussing how they inhibit social justice.

Gather the two groups back together and have each group speak for several minutes. 

Activity 2: Current Trends in Policing

In groups of three, students should identify some of the social functions of the police department. One student should be a notetaker, documenting their list and their answers to the following questions: 

  • Are there surprise details that you never knew about?
  • Should the United States have a federal police department and get rid of policing at the local level?

Students can use their computers and other handheld devices to look up materials. After that, each group will have about 5–10 minutes to do their findings and suggestions.

Activity 3: Roles of Social Workers in the Criminal Justice System

Working on their own, students should do the following:

  • Identify the branches within the criminal justice system
  • Identify the roles of social workers with each of the branches
  • List their answers on the whiteboard.

Activity 4: Self-Reflection

Have students write their responses to the following prompts:

Think of a current surveillance or oversight practice that you may have experienced, such as random drug testing, traffic cameras, searches of school lockers, or pop quizzes.

  1. What do you think this practice is designed to accomplish?
  2. Do you think it is effective?
  3. What benefits/detriments does this practice have on individuals who are targeted by it? Who witness it?
  4. What benefits/detriments does this practice have on different groups and broader society?

Activity 4: Mass Incarceration Research

Provide students with the following instructions. They should turn in their responses, listing what resources they found. 

  1. Look for some articles in the popular media or on the Internet that use the term “mass incarceration.”
  2. Think about how the term makes you feel and react in each instance.
  3. Reflect on how the framing of the issue in this way is beneficial or detrimental to policy discussion.
  4. Do you recommend continuing to use this term? Why or why not?
  5. What alternative terms might you consider and why?