Link to What's New This Week UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:Week of November 10, 2002

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UWP Commentary from Lectures - Week of November 10, 2002

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 6, 2002
Latest Update: November 15a, 2002

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Site Teaching Modules UWP Commentary on Recent Lectures:
Week of November 10, 2002

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

* * * * *
Comments grouped by course.
Subject of comment in green.
susan's commentaries in bright blue. Template:

  • Student Name: CRMJ/SOCA 233 - Criminology, CRMJ/SOCA 363 Corrections, CRMJ/SOCA 365 Race, Crime, Law

    For All UWP classes:

    On xxxday, September xx, 2002, xxx wrote:



    On xxxday, September xx, 2002, xxx wrote:



    On xxxday, September xx, 2002, xxx wrote:



    From CRMJ/SOCA 233: Criminology

    On Sunday, November 10, 2002, Jeff Galley wrote:
    On Friday's "Experiment"

    I was actively involved in Friday mornings experiment in playing the roles of social economic classes, but the experiment was much more than that. It resembled the relation of ones economic status and social labeling theory. I was fortunate enough to be in the group of the lowest economic class with a whole .37 cents to spend on sufficient food to distribute equally amongst ourselves. While attempting to buy food at the cafeteria we openly shared with the lunch ladies that we only had .37 cents and had to feed the entire group. They merely laughed at us and told us good luck. However, there was much more than that. I could read their facial expressions by the way they looked at us, and I could tell that they had passed judgments on us based on our lack of funds. I don't take any of this to heart because it was only a hands on activity, but I understand the influences that people have on those of differing economic statuses such as embarressment, loss of self-confidence and even question themselves of being a good person or citizen. I think it's very easy for people to internalize these judgments and label themselves throughout the course of their lives.

    On Monday, November 11, 2002, LaShay Holley wrote:
    On Friday's "Experiment"

    I think that the group project that we did on Friday was fun. It also showed me that we as rich people trend to take what we have for granted. Because my group had the most money we got things that we didn't really want, but because we had the money we bought it.

    jeff and lashay -- a good discussion! we'll be talking about labeling theory this week and then marxism after that.

    On Monday, November 11, 2002, Anne Braun wrote:
    On family name and stratification

    Today in class we were talking about class status and if a person is able to tell if someone is lower or upper class by their last names. My boyfriend's dad is Mexican and his mom is caucasion. I remember him telling me that his mom got so many jobs just because of her last name. I just kind of thought it was interesting.

    anne -- that's interesting. why do you think this happened?

    On Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Nick Contreras wrote:
    On comparing labeling theory with social strain theory

    so in class we were discussing the differences between the two theories. i said that one difference was that in gangs, they tend to have their own set of norms/values. was there anything else that made the two different? what was the piece that separated the two enough to have to seperate theories? was it just that soc. strn. said the envir. caused criminality, and labeling said it defined it? nick -- unfortunately in class today we ran out of

    On Thurssday, November 14, 2002, Jessie DuBois wrote:
    On comparing labeling theory with social strain theory

    One of the commentaries that I read, I though explained the difference between social strain and labeling theory. It was the one given by Nick Contrares. He said that social strain is a social structural idea and labeling theory was a social process. It was nice to understand the difference and he even gave an examlple of how they were different by saying, "that social strain thoerists use UCR's and labeling theorists use feild research." That cleared up some confusions I had. jessie -- i'm glad that you found my response to nick's quetion helpful. we'll be discussing these comparisons in class on monday.

    On Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Krista Lindemann wrote:
    On criminology journals

    After browsing through the journals I found at the UWP library about criminology, I came across an intersting topic in the "Journal of Crime and Justice". This study was about testing the two theories, strain and self-control, on occupational crimes in nursing home. It was intersting to see that they found that the strain theory to be more applicable with these sort of crimes. they said the self control theory states that offenders will participate in a variety of types of crimes. but in this study of the nursing homes, these offenders only abused the patients and didn't steal from them. I found many different articles to have interesting topics. I'm glad I discoverd these journals because they apply some of the theories we have learnd about to recent and actual situations.

    krista -- good idea! i'm sure you're finding lots of interesting research in those journals!

    On Friday, November 15, 2002, Nicole Powers wrote:
    On reactions to "Thug Life in D.C."

    This video was heartbreaking. I think that a lot of these juveniles could have a future if the system was on their side. Does the warden, who took special interest in some of the inmates, have any power over what happens to these boys in the system? If not, then who does?

    nicole -- you raise a very important question here. we'll be discussing this documentary in class on monday, november 18th.

    On Friday, November 15, 2002, Heidi Schneider wrote:
    On reactions to "Thug Life in D.C."

    Labeling theory jumped right out at me when the mother of Andrew was describing his school situation. Having to ride the "retard" bus and being put in "slow" classes mad him feel as though he had to prove he was not slow... it's too bad he choose violence to prove it but really what else was he to do? He was already labled as a devient child.

    heidi -- good point! we'll be discussing this on monday!

    On Friday, November 15, 2002, Kristin Sorvick wrote:
    On reactions to "Thug Life in D.C."

    The young man at the beginning of the film really caught my attention. He in fact labeled himself as a thug. Throughout the movie that is what I thought of him. But when he was talking to his younger brother I was surprised by the change in him. He wasn't in fact a thug as he pretended to be... Maybe a self-fufilling prophecy?

    kristin -- a good observation. he seemed like a different person in one setting and totally different in another.

    On Friday, November 15, 2002, LaShay Holley wrote:
    On reactions to "Thug Life in D.C."

    I wanted to say that the movie thug life showed me that thre are alot of young people that is in the system and they seem to not have any hope for what tomorrow may bring, and that is sad. Also that they look for love in all the wrong places

    lashay -- how can we begin turn things around?

  • From CRMJ/SOCA 363: Corrections

    Nikki Rosa wrote on Sunday, November 10, 2002:
    On "Voice from Inside"

    I was very impressed with this film since it left the viewer with an it could happen to you feeling but i also found it quite odd compared to male prison videos we have seen.....i am wondering if women's prison vary that much from male prisons since women are generally seen in society to be caring and nurturing...I also did some research on women in prison with children and found that between 50-70 percent of women in prison have children and the average women in prison has between 2 and 3 children and many of these children are under the age of 3..if leaves you left wondering about these children and how they are affected.....

    nikki -- might want to compare female prisoners with their male counterparts.

    Heather Schultz wrote on Monday, November 11, 2002:
    On "Voice from Inside"

    I thought that the movie that we finished on Friday gave an alternative to women in prisons. I hated the part about the Hijackers. I don't understand how he can only serve 1/5 of his time and she serves 1/2 but he was the one who initiated it all. She just happened to go along with it. I don't understand what happened there.

    heather -- might want to research sentencing disparities along gender lines?

    Anel Garza wrote on Wednesday, November 13, 2002:
    On "The Farm" documentary

    Out of all the movies we have seen this semester I would have to say that I really enjoyed watching this one the most. I liked the part where, I think his name was George, said that anything that he did that he didn't get caught for before has caught up with him. I didn't like the part where the man went up before the board and even before he entered the room one man said that he didn't have anything to say to him. Also after he spoke and exited the room it was like these men didn't care. I know that they probably hear stories all the time but they should take more interest in it since all these peoples lives are in their hands.

    Michelle Sims wrote on Wednesday, November 13, 2002:
    On "The Farm" documentary

    Today after we watched some of the movie on Angola, I was interested know more about the prison, since it is the largest. I decided to jump on the internet, go to google search page, and see what I could find. It was very disturbing to find out that they have a museum, that you can go and visit. In the museum, they have pictures of contrabands, places where inmates hid in to exscape, pictures of people who escaped, an actual cell, and many other things. This greatly disturbed me because I don't understand the purpose. Angola is a prison where criminals go, most of who will be there for the rest of their lives. It made me think of the RYOC site visit, when the one offender didn't want us to go in his cell. He said that we were acting like they were exhibits in a musuem or something. I disagreed at the time, but now I'm thinking differently. It makes me wonder by going on site visits, do we make the inmates feel like they are not human because we simply go in and want to look around like at a musuem.

    anel and michelle -- i'm glad that you like this documentary. we'll be looking at the second half in class on friday. this documentary was nominated for an academy award for best documentary.

    Julia Starr wrote on Wednesday, November 13, 2002:
    On "The Farm" documentary

    i really like the video so far. but i have to tell you that i was furious about the part where the man was at his appeals hearing and they didnt even look at what he had to say and already decided that they were not going to grant him parole! he had evidence that would show his innocence!!!! even the picture of the lineup!! if this is the way the system is working i am appauled and angry!

    julia -- yes, there are so many aspects to this documentary to be discussed.

    xxx wrote on xxxday, September xx, 2002:



    xxx wrote on xxxay, September xx, 2002:



    From CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime and Law

    On Sunday, November 10, 2002, Anel Garza wrote:
    On the real winners

    I have to say that u are very creative! I didn't understand why u had us take those quizzes in class the other day and I wasn't sure how it tied into the class. But it was interesting to see how those who actually touch are lives are the real winners that we remember while the others are often forgotten about.

    anel -- i'm glad you liked friday's exercise on the winners vs. the true winners. it's not an original idea but something i borrowed which illustrates fellman's ideas well.

    On Monday, November 11, 2002, Queina Staszewski wrote:
    On race and the death penalty

    I think that the Death Penalty should be abolished just because even though some one may kill another human being it doesn't make it right to kill another human being. I also think that the Death Penalty does not deter individuals from committing crime. I think it just makes them worse. The whole prison system is supposed to deter individuals from ever having to go there in the first place, but instead it is considered to be a vacation spot for other individuals. What would Fellman have to say about the Death Penalty? Well he would say abolish it all together.

    queina -- why would Fellman want to abolish the death penalty?

    On Monday, November 11, 2002, Tracy Blauser wrote:
    On race and the death penalty

    Susan, our discussion today prompted me to check on mental illness and the death penalty. It comes down to a definition of insane. (the UN states in international law that no death sentance can be carried out on anyone insane). Insane is a legal term, very strict requirements. A measure to change the wording (to "Suffering from any form of mental disorder") is repeatedly being urged for countries to adopt. Looking at the list supplied by Amnesty International of countries that retain the Death Penalty (retentionists) we are among some vey bad company, countries often cited for human rights violations. We should be embarassed and concerned about this.

    tracy -- good idea to take initiative to find out some information after yesterday's class discussion. i'll add this to the commentaries page for others to read about.

    On Monday, November 11, 2002, Julia Starr wrote:
    On race and the death penalty

    in class today i voted that i was against the death penalty and have ive been thinking about ever since. for some reasons im for it-but overall i do believe that there can be other ways of punishing criminals to the full extent. that is what restorative justice is all about. i just dont think there is anyone on this earth who should have the power to take some ones life. doesnt that make us just as bad as the person who committed the crime?

    julia -- the death penalty is probably one of the most hotly debated issues in criminal justice. no easy answers, are there?

    On Tuesday, November 12, 2002, Mohammad Farhan wrote:
    On race and the death penalty

    We were talking about the death penalty in class Monday and I am for the death penalty and it should be enforced in every state.

    mohammad -- why should every state have the death penalty?

    On Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Charity Briggs-Harris wrote:
    On "Witness to Execution"

    this movie was so hard for me to watch. Death should come by old age or sicknesses. I wanted to cry. I cant quite handle these kinds of movies. Only the poor get excuceted that kind of a true statement, you think?

    charity -- makes one wonder, doesn' t it? might want to take a look at jeffrey reiman's book, The Rich get Richer, and the Poor get Prison

    On Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Chrissy Knox wrote:
    On "Witness to Execution"

    I really enjoyed the film in class today. As a firm supporter of the death penalty, I got to see the views and perspectives of others. Although I am unsure that the execution was morally fair considering the man was mentally retarded, I do however think that people need to understand that he commited a very harsh crime. I think that if mental retardation was taken into account here, all criminals would try to plead it.

    chrissy -- i'm glad you enjoyed this documentary and i'm sure friday's class will be filled with lively debate.

    On Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Tracy Blauser wrote:
    On "Witness to Execution"

    while trying to find answers to my questions about the film today-here are some interesting stats: 1. since 83, until Bush became governer in TX, 87people were executed . From 95 until 2000 (W's reigning years) there were 155 executed. 46 since. 2. except for 4 times (and each only by 1) there have been more whites executed by years than blacks (TX) 3.TX has lead with executions since the supreme Court reinstated TX has a great web site with specific details of the executed (including the cost per execution for the drugs-86.08 dollars) and last words and last meals of each. (all prisoners names I got from the film today have been executed) More will come later

    tracy -- good! i'll add this to the commentaries page for others to read.

    On Thursday, November 14, 2002, Erica Gavins wrote:
    On stereotyping

    I was thinking about our class session last week and how we talked about how Kennedy addresses that there are problems with racism, but he never addresses solutions to the problem. One thing that I can say is that last week when we discussed racial biases we spoke about stereotypes among minority groups. When we addressed white stereotypes, many people got offended. In my mind I came to the conclusion that this is one of the problems that can lead to a solution. If we don't learn to be honest about stereotypes that we have about other groups and we continue to keep these ideas to ourselves than it is not possible for us to become educated. Therefore, we have to become uncomfortable by discussing issues in order to become comfortable.

    erica -- good point! you raise an excellent question. that's why in a class like this it is so very important that we create a learning environment where we can share ideas and listen in good faith to the perspective of the Other. And it also has to do with trust and respect. You're right -- if we can't discuss these issues in a classroom, where else would we feel safe in doing so?