Criminology and Prison Law - LAW 462

Why are criminal laws made? Why are they broken? How do we, and how should we, react to the breaking of criminal laws? These three questions are the stuff of criminology. They also occupy a central and controversial place in public and political debates about the condition and future of contemporary liberal democratic societies. This course provides students with the chance to study them in depth. Criminology offers students an opportunity to study crime and the ways in which it is dealt with by the criminal justice and penal systems. It enables students to explore the nature of crime and its control by examining the issues at stake using the resources of legal, penal, and social theory. It also offers students the chance to think about crime as a social phenomenon and to explore, using criminology research and analysis, how criminal justice and penal systems operate in practice. These courses focus also on the law and policy of incarceration, the “back end” of the criminal justice system. The central questions are: As a legal matter, what obligation does the state have toward those it incarcerates? And given legal limits, how should we run the prisons?
Topics to be covered include:
The history of prisoners’ rights litigation;
• The scope of prisoners’ constitutional rights; and
• The prison disciplinary process; conditions of confinement; medical care; and problems of prison rape and overcrowding.
Language of Instruction: English (legal terms, however, are also given in Arabic and French).