Edgar Degas,
Portrait de M. Durante

Social Problems

Your paper should be roughly 1,000 words – three to four typed pages (12 point font). Please include a cover sheet with your name, class section, and the title of the writing assignment.


Paper #6: Deviance and Crime in America

You may choose one of these options as one of your four required summary-response papers:

A. The Criminal Justice System

Critics argue that our criminal justice system systematically privileges people in the upper classes while treating people in the lower classes and people of color more harshly.

Assess this claim, making specific reference to (1) materials provided in the chapter, (2) Michele Alexander's interview on The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, (3) the film ‘The Central Park Five,” (4) the assigned article on racial profiling ("Racial Profiling Lives On"), (5) information provided on the use of the death penalty (Does a Person's Income Level Affect the Likelihood of Him/Her Receiving the Death Penalty?, and Does a Person's Race Affect the Likelihood of Him/Her Receiving the Death Penalty?), and (6) information on white-collar and “suite” crime ("Glaxo in $3 Billion Settlement,"  Corporate Crime Reporter: The Case for a Corporate Homicide Law"Top 100 Corporate Crime Stories of 2011".


B. The Innocence Project

Go to The Innocence Project and read the information provided under the heading “Understanding the Causes.” Summarize this information and discuss the implications of the materials presented.


C. Gun Control

The issue of gun control has become increasingly debated this past year. Examine the data provided by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press ("In Gun Control Debate, Several Options Draw Majority Support") and the article by Howard Schuman and Stanley Presser, "The Gun Control Paradox." What social factors seem to be affecting the position people take on this issue and the way that Congress is confronting this issue?