Contemporary Issues in Policing, Prosecution, and Punishment through Law and Film

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time
TUE 3:55 - 5:45 pm

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This course examines a range of contemporary issues in policing, prosecution, and punishment through the lens of a series of documentary films and related short reading assignments.  Through class discussion and exchange of short response papers to the films, students will explore and critically examine a range of issues and controversies in the American criminal justice system, including the expansion in the role and powers of the police resulting from the War on Drugs; the use of racial profiling, no-knock warrants, and other policing practices; officer-involved shootings and the doctrine of qualified immunity; the "school-to-prison pipeline; sex offender registries; the prosecution of juveniles in criminal court; and long-term solitary confinement, among other issues. Students will discuss and explore the feasibility of alternative approaches to these practices and examine the legal, political, and practical obstacles to reform.