Fall 2017 - 60824 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy
Crime, Punishment and Inequality
The American criminal justice system is unprecedented in size and scope by both historical and international comparative standards. This course will trace social inequality through different phases of the criminal justice system, beginning with deviance and crime commission, through policing, adjudication and sentencing in the courts, mass incarceration and its collateral consequences, community supervision including parole and probation, and concluding with technologically-mediated surveillance throughout broader society.
We will examine social inequalities from two angles at each stage: First, how is selection into the criminal justice system a reflection of existing social inequalities in American society? Second, to what extent the criminal justice system itself is an institution implicated in the reproduction of social inequalities? We will examine the relationship between involvement in the criminal justice system and social inequalities in institutions including but not limited to labor markets, education, politics, healthcare and civil society. The course concludes by offering directions for law, policy and future research.