Answer these 7 questions to write a minimum of 8 pages (double space, 12pt font). As always, use information from the book to answer the questions but you must use critical thinking and your own input as well. Some of the following questions are designed to not be ‘chapter specific’ but instead challenge you to use information from several chapters as well as what you have learned in class, information from the videos, and your critical thinking skills.
1. Do you think the criminal justice system “works” in the United States? Why or why not?
Your answer may be based upon the values that you assign to individual factors such as
deterrence, rehabilitation, crime prevention, and crime education. You may feel that the system
works overall, but nearly everyone can find room for improvement.
2. Do you think the news media is obligated to present a balanced picture of the overall crime
problem and reduce their presentation of sensational crimes? Why or why not? Consider the fact that the media is often the only source of information when it comes to what Americans ‘know what they know’ about crime and the criminal justice system. Expand your answer.
3. Do you think that other institutions such as the family, schools, and organized religion are
better institutions of social control than the criminal justice system? If so, which ones? Why?
Your answer will partially depend upon how efficient you believe the criminal justice
system is. It also depends on your personal beliefs regarding the importance of family and other
social institutions in regulating behavior. You may also cite family, schools, and organized
religion as more important institutions because of their consistent influence on a young person’s
4.Discuss the many ways in which the real image of crime and the criminal justice system is distorted. Why is it important for community members to care about how our criminal justice system works and the realities of crime?
5. What happens when criminals return to their communities? How can we change the system to make the transition back to our society more successful? Do you think the current way of incarcerating people keeps us safe, if so how? If not, why not?
6. What improvements do you think should be made to the criminal justice system?
You can cite ways in which each of the three criminal justice agencies—police, courts,
and corrections—can improve. These can include better training, better community relations, less
procedural errors, and many other suggestions.
7. Do you think more money needs to be spent on criminal justice? Why or why not? Discuss historically the results of dumping more money into the system and also discuss ways in which money can be channeled to implement changes that have proven effective.
sources are not recommended (try just using the book or don’t use a lot of sources)
Crime and Criminal Justice in American Society, SECOND EDITION (Randall Shelden, William Brown, Karen Miller, and Randal Fritzler), Waveland Press, 2016 (ISBN 978-1-4786-0765-6).
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