According to the “writing instructions” below, write a response to 4 out of the 5 following topics:
Note: in addition to the texts that are attached in the documents, you will need to find and read parts of the following texts in order to answer the questions: Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis (chapter 3), The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (chapter 3 and chapter 5).
1. Read LeGuin’s piece, “The Ones Who Walk away from Omelas,” (attached document). This piece invites us to consider the ethics of imprisoning even just one person in a just society. Pick one of the following concepts to analyze in relation to Omelas’ single prisoner: freedom, autonomy, dignity, or well-being.
2. Read the Duff and Hoskins PDF (attached) on theories of punishment, pick one to explain in detail: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation, restitution.
3. Read Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Y. Davis (Chapter 3). According to chapter 3 of the Davis text, prisons resulted as a reform away from corporal punishment, and this, in part, as a result of the 18th and 19th century recognition of equal rights and liberties. Explain how this reform effected citizens of the United States (where “all men are created equal”). That is, did the reform effect all of its citizens (men, women, workers, Africans, Indians) equally?
4. Read Chapter 3 of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. In The New Jim Crow, Alexander describes American criminal justice as “formally colorblind,” though in practice it is anything but. Explain the role (according to Alexander) of conscious and unconscious bias in such a system. [chapter 3, among others]
5. Read Chapter 5 of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. In The New Jim Crow, Alexander states that mass incarceration is “a stunningly comprehensive and well-disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow.” Contrast and compare the “old” Jim Crow with Alexander’s New Jim Crow. [chapter 5, among others]
1) Structure: Answers must be organized by topic on separate, clearly labeled pages. Your name and the prompt number (i.e., 1-5) at the top of the page will suffice. Answers should cut right to what you take to be the most important bits about the topic. You are strongly encouraged to use your own examples. Write in paragraph form. Please put your name and the prompt number in the header for each individual question.
2) Length and Style: No less than 4 full pages (1” margins, 12pt font, double spacing). Each answer is to be a minimum of one *full* page in length with, again, each answer starting on a new page. Thus, you will likely end up with more than the 4 pages.
3) Quotations and Documentation: You may use shorts selected quotations from the texts mentioned in the prompts above. As mentioned in class, you should explain you use in your own words. Forced to put a number on it, I would say no more than 15% quoted material per prompt. Other sources are allowed, so long as they are cited properly.
4) Grading: Essays will be graded according to the following four categories: formatting and grammar, completeness, summary of material (accuracy), and critique (evaluation).
6) Plagiarism: Cases of plagiarism will be handled according to university policy.