"Rather let the crime of the guilty go unpunished than condemn the innocent."
-- Justinian I, Law Code, A.D. 535
"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."
-- Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)
The statement above of the law, pronounced by Roman Emperor Justinian I, is the cornerstone of many modern country's criminal justice systems, especially that of the United States. Do you agree with this statement? Does it sound just for a victim of crime? Do you think our criminal justice system lives up to this ideal?
Dostoevsky's quote on prisons is also quite provocative. Do you agree with him? If so, what do you think it says about American civilization?
This course involves analyzing the decision-making structures and processes of the American criminal justice system. However, this course is not meant to be a Cliffs Notes version of the criminal statutes. Rather, one of the goals of this course is to give you the tools to analyze what you read and see in the news, and to gain a more realistic picture of our criminal justice system. You should have a better understanding of law enforcement, lawyers, judges, courts, and corrections. Similarly, we will debate current issues in American politics. These include legal debates around issues like gun control, torture of terrorist suspects, the exclusionary rule, plea bargaining, and supermax prisons. This is definitely interesting and provocative stuff!
UW Colleges Catalog Course Description for POL 120: Politics of Crime and Punishment - 3 credits. Focuses on the competing goals of public policy in criminal justice, from public order, due process, efficiency, rights, and liberties. Analyzes the interplay of key actors including police, courts, and prisons in policy-making and implementation. Includes the role of media and myth. This course fulfills the UWC requirement for Social Sciences (SS).
Institutional proficiencies assigned to this course
Successful completion of this course will enhance the student's ability to:
Department-specific proficiencies assigned to this course
By completing this course, students will be able to:
The most current edition of MS Office (containing MS Word, PowerPoint and other valuable programs) is available to University of Wisconsin students at discounted prices through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog.