Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.
234.2 sec. 001 - Criminal Justice Reform (Spring 2021)
Instructor: Jonathan Simon (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction
- W 08:00 AM - 09:50 AM
From January 20, 2021
To April 30, 2021
Course End: April 30, 2021
Class Number: 32267
Enroll Limit: 25
As of: 05/08 05:45 AM
“In thinking specifically about the abolition of prisons, ...using the approach of abolition democracy, we would propose the creation of an array of social institutions that would begin to solve the problems that set people on the track to prison, thereby helping to render the prison obsolete.”
-Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)
This class investigates how criminal justice reform is changing as a result of the unprecedented Black Lives Matter movement. Just since June, some of the largest demonstrations in American history have issued calls for “defunding,” “shrinking” or even “abolishing” police and other institutions of criminal justice have joined the usual fray incremental policy improvements. This seminar aims to explore the shifting terrain of technocratic reform and abolition democracy across the various institutions that make up the criminal justice system. Some of the questions we will take up include: What makes some institutions reform worthy, and other one’s candidates for abolition? Given that the criminal justice system cannot change all at once, or disappear in an instant, when do reforms approach abolition? And when should reforms be resisted? Is it possible to be an abolitionist Public Defender? Prosecutor? Warden? Police Chief? Judge?
To facilitate collaboration and discussion in the challenging terrain of Zoom, the instructor will make frequent use of short pre-recorded videos offering an overview of the weekly topic that will be available well before the class so that we can devote our time together to discussion. Watching these videos will be part of your assigned preparation and readings will be shortened accordingly. A short final paper (12-15 pages) that meets the Option 1 Writing Requirement will be due at the end of the final exam period.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.