PUBPOL 290 – 02 : Crime and Public Policy

Reader requirements: familiarity with the criminal justice system; prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, law enforcement officials, reporters who cover the crime beat, etc.

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Prof. Joel Rosch

This course is about the politics of crime and justice. The focus is on the policy choices society makes in order to reduce the damage done by crime. It will examine controversies about the nature of crime; how institutions such as the police, the courts, and corrections are organized; and how crime impacts various aspects of American life.  The main focus on the class will be on what research tells us about how the criminal justice system works and how we might improve the public institutions we create to deal with the problem of crime.  The instructor has worked is especially interested in how crime is understood; how that understanding of crime influences the way crime emerges as a public issue; and how crime is used by different groups for different purposes.   As seen by the number of television programs focusing on issues related to crime and the attention given to high visibility criminal cases, the issues surrounding crime are a useful way to engage issues such as equality, racism, the nature of public goods, symbolic politics, and why it matters how we organize public services.

Student Writing Assignment

What are students writing? Policy recommendations about crime for a particular city.
For whom? City government, councilors, law enforcement, other public policy makers.
Where would such writing typically be found? A workplace document intended for helping make policy decisions.
Why would someone usually read it? In order to make an informed decision.

See examples of reader bios for this course


Student-Reader Interactions

Sept 12: Matches made, arrange for Intro Meeting after 29th

Sept 29: Send reader copy of first paper (optional) and arrange Intro Meeting; discuss paper and possible directions for rest of semester, especially final (4th) paper

Dec 2: Send draft of 4th paper to reader and arrange meeting for feedback; final paper due Dec 9th


PUBPOL.290.02 Syllabus

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More