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SOC 179A: Crime and Punishment in America (SOC 279A)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the way crime has been defined and punished in the United States. Recent social movements such as the Movement for Black Lives have drawn attention to the problem of mass incarceration and officer-involved shootings of people of color. These movements have underscored the centrality of the criminal justice system in defining citizenship, race, and democracy in America. How did our country get here? This course provides a social scientific perspective on America¿s past and present approach to crime and punishment. Readings and discussions focus on racism in policing, court processing, and incarceration; the social construction of crime and violence; punishment among the privileged; the collateral consequences of punishment in poor communities of color; and normative debates about social justice, racial justice, and reforming the criminal justice system. Students will learn to gather their own knowledge and contribute to normative debates through a field report assignment and an op-ed writing assignment.
Terms: Win | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ED, WAY-SI
Instructors: Clair, M. (PI)
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