LAW 6251

LAW 6251

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2023-2024.

Since Lyndon Johnson called for a "War on Crime" in 1965, the United States has adopted a uniquely punitive agenda that has led to an unprecedented growth of the prison population. Nowadays, almost two million people are detained in prisons, jails, correctional facilities, and immigration detention centers. Moreover, nearly four million people are under community supervision. During the last two decades, however, the law-and-order narrative has been met with resistance and skepticism. Despite certain consensus among politicians on the need to reform the criminal justice system, a growing social movement has called for more radical transformations, such as abolishing the prison industrial complex. Against this backdrop, this course explores the modern US criminal justice system and emerging critiques of it. We will analyze the forces that shaped the United States as a carceral state and discuss its perceived problems, including structural police violence, crimmigration, the war on drugs, and collateral consequences. In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the interplay of race, class, and gender. We will then shift our attention to the US abolitionist movement and explore this on two main fronts. First, we will discuss the challenges of this movement's demands to the current criminal justice system. Second, we will examine the challenges this movement faces to advance alternative ways of dealing with social and interpersonal conflicts that do not rely on police forces, surveillance, and punishment.

When Offered Fall.

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Syllabi: none
  •   Regular Academic Session. 

  • 3 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 20585 LAW 6251   SEM 101

  • Instruction Mode: In Person