Riminal Justice System and Race Disparities

Final Project: Research Paper

So that we can assess your understanding of the intersection of race and crime in the administration of justice in the United States and your ability to think critically about the various issues related to race and criminal justice, you will write a paper making a determination as to whether the criminal justice system is racist. To do this, you will conduct a survey and compare and contrast the results with information from the textbook, available literature, and other resources used and/or presented in class.

You are required to survey a minimum of 10 friends, associates, co-workers, or family members (or a combination thereof). You may conduct the survey face to face, telephonically, or electronically. You will ask two questions:

1. Do you believe that there is a connection between race and crime in America?

2. Do you believe that the criminal justice system is racist?

You may also ask follow-up questions to ensure that your respondents fully explain their answers. (Note: If you are unsure of the quality of your follow-up questions, ask your instructor for assistance.)

This research paper must be a minimum of 3,750 words in length. It must have a cover page with the title of the paper, the course number, your name, and the date of submission. There must be a works cited or bibliography page. The title page and bibliography will not be included in the word count. Failure to follow these instructions will result in an automatic 10-point deduction from your grade.

Your research paper must include the following sections and be labeled accordingly:

Section I: Introductiona State your thesis, the purpose of the paper, and the methodology used to conduct the survey. (You might begin the paper with the question, Is the criminal justice system racist? In this paper, I propose that [it is, it is not, the answer cannot be determined].”)

Section II: Literature Reviewa Use the text as the core reference, with a minimum of five additional sources. As part of your literature review, you must include a discussion of at least two sources that oppose your thesis. (This is done to assure the reader of your objectivity and that you are versed in the arguments and data of the opposing side.)

Section III: Findingsa Present your research findings. Describe the salient characteristics of your respondents (race, sex, age, socioeconomic status, experience with the criminal justice system, and so forth), either in narrative form or organized in a matrix. Describe how each participant responded to your questions. Be careful not to state your conclusions in this section.

Section IV: Conclusionsa Present your conclusions and how your various findings support or oppose your thesis, keeping in mind the goal of criminal justice practitioners to provide an equitable system of criminal justice. You may find that some of your respondents, along with some of your sources, disagree with your thesis. Discuss these disagreements, and provide research-supported counterarguments.