Paper description.


FOLLOW these instructions carefully! Failure to do so will result in your paper being returned to you or a grade of “NC.”

 PURPOSE:  CRJ479 is offered in San Diego as a course through fully-accredited Adams State University in Colorado and is graded on a CR/NC basis.  Once transferred for credit through SDSU (See "Enrollment/Class Details" link at left to transfer credit), CRJ479  meets the "experiential" component of the Criminal Justice Administration major at SDSU, just like the internship (CJ498) or Investigation and Report classes (CJ497). The course is structured like other practicum courses, including requirements for both experiential learning and critical writing. The experiential component includes a highly structured itinerary of five days of closely supervised, intensive tours of from seven to ten state and/or federal prisons which represent a broad variety of institutional settings, management styles, institutional staff, and criminal offenders.

 FORM:  The written critique of the experience must be presented in a four-section essay. Label each section and begin each section on a new page. The paper must be no fewer than 17 pages in length--1 1/2-spaces, typed, 12-point font, with 1 inch margins(left, right, top, bottom)—excluding bibliography. NUMBER YOUR PAGES! My hope is that you will look back on this paper as some of your best thinking about some of your most salient experiences in college. Accordingly, I don’t want you to embarrass yourself with bad writing. Take particular care regarding grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors! Papers that are inadequate in this regard will receive a grade of “NC.”

 ORGANIZATION:  Your essay is to be entitled “The Reality of the Incarceration Experience.” It must integrate your own observations with those articulated in the prison literature that you must read. These sources must include (1) Hard Time, by Robert Johnson (Brooks/Cole, any edition is ok) AND (2) a book of your choosing authored by an inmate, former inmate, employee, or close observer of the prison system (e.g., Reflections on the Wall by Mike Posey, In the Belly of the Beast, by Jack Abbott, Hot House, by Pete Earley, Crime and Punishment: Inside Views, by Johnson and Toch, etc.) If you have a question about your selection, ask before using it.

I: literature revie(minimum 4 pp.; about 1.5 pages for each source. Review what the assigned and selected literature/documentaries say about the prison world. What do professional observers and commentators say about the most important realities of incarceration? Your paper must include appropriately formatted citations and references, just like any well-documented term paper. Your review must clearly demonstrate that you have read, viewed, and understood the material you are reviewing. Statements like “He was wrong or I liked it,” are completely inappropriate. Your critique must include the bases of your evaluative statements.

II: your assessment (minimum 2 pp.): The next section consists of your personal evaluation of the topics discussed in Part I, based upon your own observations, as you passed through prisons in California. A key here is to integrate thoughtfully what you have learned from the professional literature with what you have seen as you toured prisons. How and why were what you read confirmed or not confirmed by what you saw? Avoid claiming that the author(s) were “wrong” or didn’t know what they were talking about. They are the experts, so document your agreements and disagreements carefully.

III: critical summary (minimum 3 pp.): Close your essay with a critical summary which integrates your best thinking about the most important things you learned from this undertaking. Be thoughtful and creative. This should be the heart of your paper and reflect your very best thinking and writing about what the trip and the experience meant to you.

IV: the log (minimum 1 pg. per institution): The log/diary is your personal record of the PrisonTour--your detailed and thoughtful observations and critical impressions of what you saw, heard, and felt at each of the facilities we visited. I am considerably less interested in recitations of statistics--e.g., population, staffing patterns, number of gun towers, etc.--than I am in learning what you found particularly interesting, remarkable, or memorable about each visit, i.e., what struck you? what surprised you? what did you see and feel that you found most notable and memorable?

Begin your description of each prison/institution on a new page, and place in quotes at the top of each prison review a memorable quote or expression that summarizes a particularly salient discovery or observation made by you or another at or about that institution. It may be something anyone said—inmate, officer, staff.

Write your log to yourself, as something you will want to review in five or ten years, in order to learn something about yourself--where you have been, what you have been, and what you have become--intellectually and philosophically.  Above all, make it mean something to you.  If your log is nothing special to you as you create it, I doubt that it ever will be; and you will have missed the point of this exercise.

The paper is due at noon on Monday, exactly three weeks from the date of the departure of your trip from San Diego. Start and finish your paper immediately upon your return, or you will not complete it on time. NOTE: the time is ample, so the deadline is absolute!  Don’t put it off. Turn in your original, not a copy. Papers will not be returned, so keep a copy for yourself. The paper must be in my hands or mailbox by the due date. Postmarks are irrelevant. I must HAVE the paper by the due date.

NOTE:  Use a cover page and staple your pages together with a single staple. Do not use a form, binder, or special cover. Make sure your name and the due date are at the top left--and the page number is at the top right--of every page of your paper!

Your title page must include all of the following data (as presented below) in the upper-right-hand corner. 

  • full name
  • student ID number
  • CRJ479: Prisons in Theory & Practice (Adams State University)
  • trip dates (eg, Jan. 9-13, 2016)
  • Paper due: (eg, Jan. 20, 2016)