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Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminology

CRM 331: CORRECTIONS Th 4 – 6:40 PH 203

Dr P. S. Leighton
Office: 712 Pray Harrold, x 0012 
Hours: M 4:30 – 5:30, Th 3 - 4 & by appointment

Please feel free to approach me & ask a question when I am in the Mudd House coffee shop, or drop me an e-mail


This class is not only an introduction to the field of corrections but also larger issues of penology – the study of pain and punishment. We will examine the historical development of prison and the death penalty in order to understand their contemporary form. Key questions for later in the semester will include whether the United States overuses incarceration to the extent it is on an imprisonment ‘binge’ and the extent to which there is a ‘criminal justice-industrial complex’ influencing public policy about prisons. The political economy of punishment, the relationship of penal institutions to the larger system of justice and our ideals of civilization will be key themes for the semester.


Michael Welch. Corrections: A Critical Introduction. McGraw-Hill 1996. 0-07-0691819.

Joel Dyer. The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits from Crime. Westview 2000.

Additional required readings and exercises come from the internet. Please note that these are required even though they are free.

Recommended Reading

Jerome Miller. Search and Destroy: African American Males in the Criminal Justice System. Cambridge U Press. 1996. 0521460212.

David Oshlinski. ‘Worse Than Slavery’: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. Free Press 1996. 0684830957 



TEST 1: 20%
FINAL: 15%

All tests will be a combination of true/false, multiple choice, fill in the blank, matching, short answer (one sentence to a paragraph) and short essay. Tests will not be cumulative. No make-up tests will be given in this class. Students who have an appropriate excuse for missing a test can present a typed paper that reviews and summarizes each of the chapters covered for that test and answers an additional (short essay) question. Papers should be typed, double spaced, and be about four pages per chapter covered. They will ONLY be accepted with a note certifying medical care or the death of someone close.

A note about appealing grades: All requests for a change of grade should be written (typed) and accompanied by a copy of your test. Please note any computational errors, identify pages from the text that support your answer or articulate any ambiguity in the wording of the question that caused problems.

Weekly papers are internet based assignments designed to complement the required reading. They are also designed to provide additional material for class discussions. Therefore, turning them in on time (the day they are due) and being in class to talk about the information are important. I will NOT accept papers sent as attachments to email although you can put late paper in my mailbox.

Proper citation to internet sources is required for all of these papers. If you are unclear on how to do this, follow the link about internet citation and plagiarism that is on

This syllabus lists 9 possible 2 page weekly assignments. You only need to do 8 of these. You can ignore one of the assignments or do it as an extra credit assignment to improve your grade.

Attendance and participation will be part of the grade and tests may cover material presented in class that was not covered in the texts. Being present also allows the opportunity to ask questions and further explore areas of interest to you. Attendance will be formally taken at random points during the semester. Consistent and constructive participation in class can help improve your final grade.

The Election & Policy Paper is 6 – 8 pages in length. Please note that it is not one of the 2 page weekly papers, so you cannot skip it. The idea of this paper is to engage the topics of crime and punishment with current events, which this semester is the presidential elections. The specific assignment is listed below. I do not care which candidate you prefer or even whether you intend to vote. All you need to do is give a fair review of the positions of the presidential candidates.

Lastly, Education involves not just getting a degree but a search for truth, which requires honesty and personal integrity. Thus, students at all times will behave in accordance with EMU’s policy on Academic Integrity forbidding such activities as plagiarism, fraud, cheating and knowingly assisting another student who is engaged in one of these acts. Copying another student’s worksheet, abstract or paper – in whole or a substantial portion – is a violation of academic integrity. Penalties can affect both your grade in this class and your continued presence at the university.



(Circumstances sometimes require flexibility and students are responsible for any departures that are announced in class.)

8/30 Introduction & Greeting

9/7 Welch Ch 1 - 3

Due: 2 page paper based on ‘What Every American Should Know About Criminal Justice’.

Go to  and find the link for the article mentioned above. Read through it and print off a copy – we will be using this document at several points during the semester so make sure you have a copy.

Write a 2 page paper addressing (1) what you thought were the best points they made (2) what were some point of information you did not know or had not really thought about before, and (3) what questions or disagreements do you have with what they say.

9/14 Welch Ch 4 - 5

Due: 2 page paper based on exploring the Library of Congress’ American Memory Project.

Go to the Library of Congress website at and click on the American Memory Project (make sure to click on the larger American memory Project rather than What Happened Today in History). Click on the option to search and type in a word or words related to this class – prison, jail, punishment, etc. (If you want to try ‘chain gang’ or ‘death penalty’, change the search option to ‘search as phrase’.)

Not all entries for the search will be relevant, but find several pictures, songs, movies, or documents. In your 2 page paper: (1) clearly identify what items you examined (title, artist or photographer, reference number etc) (2) why this material interested you and (3) how it related to material in Welch that you have read so far. Please note that points will be deducted for not citing the material you examined and point (3) is an extremely important aspect of this paper, so make sure you have done the reading for this class before writing the paper.

9/21 Welch Ch 6 – 7

Due: 2 page paper on prison survival guides

Go to a good search engine (I would suggest and type in ‘prison survival guide’. Find a good and reasonably comprehensive one.

Write a 2 page paper (1) summarizing the information and tips contained in the guide and (2) list any questions and/or disagreements you had with the advice given.

9/28 Welch Ch 8 & 10

Due: 2 page review of report on human rights abuses in women’s prisons

Go to either (1) "Not Part of My Sentence" from Amnesty International or (2) "Nowhere to Hide: retaliation Against Women in Michigan State Prisons

Write a 2 page paper that summarizes the main issues and evidence presented in either report. Remember to provide a full citation to the article you read.

10/5 Welch Ch 11

Due: Worksheet based on Capital Punishment in 1999.

Worksheet will be handed out in class several weeks before this assignment is due. The report can be found through by clicking on ‘Corrections’ then ‘Documents’ (or ‘Reports’) and looking for the title above.

10/12 Welch Ch 12 - 13

Due: 2 page paper on prison rape.

Go to Find the reports containing statistics on how frequently prison rape occurs.

Write a 2 page paper reviewing the (1) frequency of rape in prison and jail, and (2) the profile of the most likely victim. Please make sure to provide a citation to the work you review in this paper.

10/19 Welch 14 & review for test

DUE: 6-8 page Election & Policy Paper

This paper is to have you review and evaluate the ideas about crime and punishment put forth by presidential candidates Bush, Gore and Nader. The opening 2 pages should be a summary of ‘Questions to Ask Anyone Who Wants Your Vote’ from the reading What Every American Should Know About Criminal Justice. In 2 pages each, consider how well the candidates do in addressing those questions.

Website containing this are readily available by searching for the candidates’ name or party. Make sure you get the official site and not one of the many jokes or parody sites.

EXTRA CREDIT: Email each of the candidates the list of questions and see what type of response you get. Include a printed copy of your emails to the candidates, a printed copy of any response you get and your thoughts about that response.

10/26 Test on Welch.

11/2 Welch Ch 15, Dyer Intro & ch 1

Due: 2 page research abstract

Go to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at  then click on ‘Corrections’ then ‘Documents’ (or ‘Reports’). Scroll through the list of reports and find one that is at least 10 pages long and of interest to you.

Write a 2 page summary of research. Be sure to include what research question or questions are addressed, what I any data was gathered (and how), what the findings were, and what if any policy suggestions are advocated. Be sure to include the name of the report, the date and the NCJ number.

11/9 Dyer, Ch 2 - 3   (no assignment due)

11/16 Dyer Ch 4 – 5

Due: 2 page paper describing why prison guards oppose private prisons

Explore the private prison resources at and find 2 – 3 websites that describe why many prison guards oppose private prisons. Summarize their concerns and provide appropriate citations to the information in your paper.

11/23 No class -- Thanksgiving

11/30 Dyer 6 - 9

Due: 2 page paper reviewing 3 websites devoted to reforming prison or our use of it

From your own use of the internet, find 3 websites that propose helpful solutions to problems faced by prisons and/or our sentencing policies. List the full address of the website, the name of the site or organization. In a paragraph, describe the ideas presented in the website about reform.

You can only include a website once, even though it may have several sections (cover these in your description and do not list the sections of the website as different websites). Do not include any sites referenced in this syllabus, on or Bring in enough copies of this assignment to share with everyone in class.

12/7 Dyer 10 – 11 & Review for test   (no assignment due)

FINAL EXAM on Dyer: Tues 12/12 4:00 – 6:40 PH 203

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