California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: July 27, 2003
Latest Update: November 15, 2003
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 14: Week of November 30, 2003
Topic: Crime-and-Justice Attitudes and Policies
- Surette. Media, crime, and criminal justice. -- Chapter 7.
- Merlo and Benekos. What's wrong with the criminal justice system: Ideology, Politics and the Media. -- Chapter 6.
- Potter and Kappeler. Constructing crime. -- Epilogue.
Lecture related links:
--- Sociology of Knowledge Files . --- Check out this link -- Ray Surette's website ( found by Bettie Poole).
Concepts to be covered:
- fear of crime
- public and media agenda
- echo effects
- drug courts
- crime reduction
- Discuss a local criminal justice policy that has been influenced by news media coverage or a media-based lobby effort to pass crime-related legislation. (S:238)
- Discuss the implications of the increasing entertainmentization of crime-and-justice media. (S:238)
- Discuss how the media have influenced your social construction of crime-and-justice reality. (S:238)
- Does the mass media have too much influence on society? What should be done in the area of crime and justice concerning the media? Why. (S:238-239)
- What specific aspects of content of the media do you find most troubling? Why. (S:239)
- Explain the reduction in officially reported violent crime in the United States. Who is to be partly credited for this decrease: back-enders or front-enders? Why. (M&B:186)
- Provide an argument of guarded "optimism" regarding the criminal justice system and its crime policy in the next century. Now, prepare an argument of "pessimism" regarding the criminal justice system and its crime policy in the next century. Which view do you expect to predominate? Why. (M&B: 186)
- What's "right" with criminal justice? Respond to the criticisms of the system. (M&B:186).
- Identify a current serious criminal justice problem or issue. Evaluate the influence of ideology, the media and politics on it. What is the current approach being utilizaed? What do you recommend for the future? (M&B:186)
- Do you agree or disagree with Potter and Kappeler's conclusions? Why.
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 14: