California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 27, 2003
Latest Update: March 18, 2004
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.
* * * * * Week 10: Week of March 21, 2004
Topic: Media and the Courts
- Merlo and Benekos. What's wrong with the criminal justice system: Ideology, Politics and the Media. -- Chapter 3.
- Surette. Media, crime, and criminal justice. -- no chapter readings this week.
- Potter and Kappeler. Constructing crime. -- no chapter readings this week.
Lecture related links:
--- Sociology of Knowledge Files . --- Check out this link -- Ray Surette's website ( found by Bettie Poole).
Concepts to be covered:
- misdemeanor and felony cases
- high-profile cases
- public defender and defense attorneys
- indeterminate and determinate sentencing
- sentencing guidelines
- "three strikes"
- race and sentencing
- capital punishment
- Megan's Law
- sex offender notification statutes
- specialty courts
- restorative justice
- Why does a large segment of the public still believe that crime in increasing? What are the implications of this perception on sentencing policies? What can be done to improve the general public's knowledge about crime trends and crime information? (M&B:82)
- Explain how public defenders affect a defendant's experiences and court proceedings. What can be done to improve the equity of defendant representation? (M&B:82)
- What is the rationale of three-strikes sentencing legislation? What are the politics of this legislation? (M&B:82)
- Discuss the issue of race, crime, and sentencing. What attitudes and perceptions affect the public's understanding of this issue? (M&B:82)
- Why are sex offender notification statutes popular? What does the research suggest about their effectiveness? What does this suggest abou tthe nature of sentencing legislation? (M&B:82)
- What are the goals of the restorative justice model? How does this model affect sentencing policy? Develop an argument in support of restorative justice. What are some obstacles to implementing this model? (M&B:83)
Suggested Creative Activities:
Left/Right Perspectives - Cursor - New York Times
Arts and Letters Daily - The Economist - The Guardian
Wall Street Journal -The Weekly Standard - The Nation
Los Angeles Times - Chicago Tribune - The Washington Post
Cursor's Al Jazeera Archive - Ha'aretz - Palestine Monitor
Indymedia - BBC News - New Profile - Progressive Sociologists Network
Minimum Requirements for Week 10: