Courses in criminal law tend to focus on the “front end” of the criminal justice process: investigation, prosecution, and verdict. This seminar will cover a series of topics pertaining to the “back end” of the system (ie, arising after guilt has been determined). The exact topics will vary from semester to semester, but will cover the gamut from criminal sentencing (the death penalty, LWOP, mandatory minimums, etc.) to incarceration (prison conditions, solitary confinement, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the public’s access to prisons, etc.), parole, “collateral” consequences of criminal convictions, and re-entry challenges. Students will be asked to write two short (2-3 page single spaced) papers during the semester as well as a final paper of 10-15 pages. The aim of these papers, to be based solely on the assigned readings, will be for students to develop their own working theories of the back end of the American criminal system. Students will also be expected to turn in very brief (1-2 paragraphs) responses to/questions arising from the readings each week. Class participation will determine part of the final grade, and the use of laptops will not be permitted during class.
Topics in Post-Conviction Law & Policy