Courses in criminal law tend to focus on the “front end” of the criminal justice process: investigation, prosecution, and verdict. But for those offenders sentenced to prison, the trial process is only the preamble to an extended period in the custody of the state. This class focuses in depth on a key component of the “back end” of the criminal justice system: the law and policy of incarceration. The governing questions are: what legal obligations does the state have toward those it incarcerates? And given legal limits, how should we run the prisons? These questions are particularly urgent given the number of people currently being held in American prisons and jails (2.2 million at last count) and the overrepresentation in this group of people of color, African Americans in particular. Topics to be covered include, the history of prisoners’ rights litigation; the scope of prisoners’ constitutional rights; inmate access to the courts; the prison disciplinary process; conditions of confinement (including supermax prisons); medical care; the problems of prison rape and overcrowding; and the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The use of laptops is not permitted in this class.
This course will not be offered during the 2020-21 academic year.
Critical Race Studies;