LAW 9601: PUNISHMENT: THEORY AND PRACTICE
This offering meets 2 hours per week, but is worth 3 points of credit. The additional point of credit reflects the instructor's certification that the course assignments require student engagement and responsibilities beyond that found in a two hour lecture course.
Why does the United States of America punish more heavily and frequently than other societies with similar political regimes? What theories fuel an American understanding of punishment and how have they come into being? How should we characterize punishment regimes in the country today? These questions will be central concerns as we move from the role of the punisher to the often ignored experience of the punished. Early sessions will seek provisional answers to the questions asked through accounts of American punishment regimes and their relation to original theories of punishment.
The second part of the course will use court cases, law review notes, articles, other essay forms, and autobiographical writings to look at what it means to be in prison. The punished are rarely heard from in the legal process, and so short fictional and non-fictional works that address their plight and point of view will play a role, along with court cases, in class discussions. Another goal of the course will be consideration of legal writing in its three most available forms to law students: note, article, and essay. In a last goal connected to writing, we will work on the art of the efficient memorandum as a legal form of communication.
Students will write one-page memoranda early in the course on the theoretical writings covered in class. They will also write a research-length paper on their choice of topic in consultation with the instructor.
1. Reading and preparation in accordance with the schedule.
2. Informed and constructive participation in all seminar meetings.
3. Several very short written assignments.
4. Two-page summary of projected research paper topic due on or before Tuesday, February 28th.
5. Short report on work in progress late in the Semester
6. Two copies of a twenty-page seminar paper [single-sided and double-spaced) on a topic that has been approved by the instructor on or before Tuesday, April 24th at 12 noon.