Consequences of Incarceration
Current studies estimate that 600,000 people in prison return to society every year. Society at large expects these individuals to integrate back to their communities and lead crime free lives. But, is doing so as easy as we expect? What challenges do former prisoners face upon release? This course will help students answer these questions and gain a better understanding of how current federal and state policies impact former prisoners and of how an incarceration follows an individual for years after release. Throughout the semester, students will work on a project in which they will evaluate the challenges former prisoners face in Pennsylvania and suggest policy changes to address these issues. By the end of the semester, students should be able to articulate the consequences of incarceration and on the impact on the individual, their families, and society at large.
This course provides an overview of the sociological approaches to the study of crime with emphasis on current sociological theory and research, with special consideration of the judicial system and penology. This course will familiarize you with some of the basic areas of study within criminology. By the time this course is over, you be able to describe various theories of crime, how the theories translate into policies of social control and punishment, and popular constructions of the criminal justice system. You should also be able to think more critically about the role of crime in society.
Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System
This course will provide an overview of the criminal justice system in the United States. By the time the course is over, you will be familiar with law, policing, the court system and its actors. You should also be able to think more critically about the justice system as a whole.
Law and Social Change
This course will familiarize you with the ways in which law is both a means of achieving social change and a product of social change. By the time this course is over, you should be able to discuss theories of law, why laws are used to achieve social change, praise and criticism of the law’s ability to achieve social change, and the ways society can bring about legal change. You should also be able to think more critically about the relationship between law and society.
Law and Literature
Law is everywhere in society; even in a place we might least expect to find it, even in the world of literature. The course will begin with a discussion of how law presents itself in literature, how law in literature affects the reader, and how the reader affects the understanding of law. Ultimately, we will analyze literature to detect and understand law’s role within in the story. We will read roughly a book a week, focusing on law’s role in the story, law’s impact on the story or characters, and the character’s impact on and interaction with the law. Students will be asked to lead discussion for at least one book and will write a 7-10 page paper analyzing a book of their choice. By the end of the semester, student’s will be able to translate their understanding of how law’s role within a story to understand law’s role within society and how they can impact that law.
Here at Elizabethtown College, and at colleges and universities nationwide, social justice plays a significant role in the school’s mission. And yet, the term social justice itself is often contested and goes undefined. What exactly is social justice and how do we achieve it at various levels of society (e.g., local, state, national, international), including at the college level? This course will help address these questions by providing a space to discuss and analyze theories of social justice, areas in which social justice activists attempt to make a difference, and critiques of the idea of social justice. To illustrate these ideas, we will then turn our focus to the Occupy Movement, which purports to be an example of a modern-day social justice movement. In analyzing the goals and methods of this specific movement, we will discuss how and why the movement came about, whether Occupy can accomplish its goals, and the problems it faces. Throughout the semester, the class as a whole will work on a project in which it develops ways in which to incorporate social justice more fully into the Elizabethtown College curriculum. Students will be expected to develop a presentation for Faculty Assembly and a white paper that will be submitted to the appropriate administration and faculty committees.