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SOC 3660 PBC

SOC 3660—Punishment and Society

Three Semester Hours

JT 3/17


University Requisite: SOC 2600—Criminal Justice

This course has been designed so that even if you haven’t had many courses in sociology, you can do well by focusing closely on the readings and carefully thinking through course material and questions.

Course Overview

Examination of history, operation, and problems of punishment. Patterns of prison organization, inmate group structure, personnel organization, and racism examined. Purpose and effectiveness of penal institutions described. Prisons, juvenile institutions, parole, halfway houses, and alternatives to punishment studied.

Methods of Course Instruction

All material for this course is print-based. Instructor and students communicate and exchange materials through postal mail. 

E-Print Option

In this course, an option exists to use e-mail to submit your lesson assignments. Your assignment will be returned to you either as an e-mail attachment or as a hard copy sent through the postal mail, depending on the preferences of the instructor and/or program. 

Textbooks and Supplies

  • Latessa, Edward J. and Alexander M. Holsinger. Correctional Contexts: Contemporary and Classical Readings. 5th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Publishing Company, 2016. [ISBN: 9780190280710]
  • Morris, Norval and David J. Rothman. The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. [ISBN: 9780195118148]

Number of Lessons

The course has ten lessons, including a midcourse examination and a final examination. These lessons include

  • Lesson 1: Punishment and Society: The State of the Contemporary Prison System 
  • Lesson 2: The Birth of the Prison 
  • Lesson 3: The Sociology of Life in Prison 
  • Lesson 4: Women and Children in Prison 
  • Lesson 5: Procedure for Midcourse Examination Preparation 
  • Lesson 6: Prisoners’ Rights and the Nature of Reform
  • Lesson 7: Administrative Practices and Perspectives: How Should Prisons be Governed? 
  • Lesson 8: Contemporary Trends: Toward a More Rational System of Punishment 
  • Lesson 9: Beyond Punishment: The Prison and Prisoner in Society 
  • Lesson 10: Procedure for Final Examination Preparation

Types of Writing Assignments

A “Written Assignment” section is where you complete the lesson by demonstrating an understanding of its material. Each lesson will conclude with two questions that you are required to answer. These answers should be carefully developed following an essay format. You should begin with a clear thesis statement and substantiate your argument through the logical integration of course readings and discussions, while incorporating your own ideas. Your total submission should range between four and five pages, typed, double-spaced preferably. If you do not have access to a computer or typewriter, handwritten work is acceptable, if legible.

Grading Criteria

Grades for the course will be determined on the basis of your eight written assignments and two exams. The first exam will be worth 20% of your grade and the final exam will be worth 30%. The eight written assignments will be averaged together at the end of the course, and this averaged grade will be used in determining the final 50% of your course grade, thus giving equal weight to exams and lesson work. 

When calculating grades for the course, fractions of half a percent or higher will be rounded up to the next highest percent. For example, a grade of 79.5% will be rounded up to 80%. However, a grade of 79.4% will be rounded down to 79%.