Policy Paper

Students will create a corrections policy paper to advance a practical solution to one of several contemporary issues in the United States Correctional System. The social policy paper will consider political, economic, and social circumstances. The social policy paper will examine macro-level processes such as socially constructed notions of crime, get tough on crime policies, laws prohibiting offenders from receiving social support series, and mental health disparities to name a few. In addition, the social policy paper will also include micro-level processes such as high-risk behavior, personal attitudes, conflict resolution, restitution, or other processes as. students. Multiple reference material is required and must be properly documented when used in the report. Academic sources are required; websites, news media, textbooks should not be used. Proper APA style and college-level writing are expected as well. Title your paper, title the sections of your paper, spell check, proofread and proofread again. The paper should be at least 12-pages (not counting title or reference page), 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, normal margins.

Policy Paper Format

There is a great deal of confusion about the policy paper.  Ideally, a policy paper is akin to a proposal. It should be seen as a persuasive argument for a proposed policy change (i.e. legislation, law changes, implementation of laws, government policies, sentencing policies, etc.)

A policy paper must be thoroughly researched, logical and written in academic format.  The scholarly requirements for attribution and documentation on a policy paper in a class setting are the same as for a research paper. Use APA style.

A good policy paper will have the following parts:

Introduction/Problem Statement

This section frames the issue. An attention grabber isn’t a bad idea but make sure it is fact/data based and not anecdotal. The problem statement may come at the end of the introduction.  It concisely identifies the problem to be solved.  It may be in the form of a question.


This section will be discussing the origins and history of the current problem (i.e. mass incarceration).


Discuss why the current policy is not working and the negative impacts that is having. Why are new policies necessary?

Policy Options

Enumerate the options and describe them briefly.

How does each option serve to solve the problems at hand? Remember, each policy- whether one large one or several smaller changes- should be practical and logical. It muse not only work but it should be reasonable to assume it could be adopted. This is where you can discuss some potential opposition, as well as the other cost issues associated with each.  Consider positive and negative externalities.  You should be sensitive to the political, legal and social implications of your policy changes.


Select the best option and explain why it is the best.  Do a reality check.  Does the recommendation solve the problem; is it actionable?  Your recommendation should ideally be a stand alone, and not require another iteration of the process to figure out how to implement it.


Summarize the paper but focus especially on summarizing the policy recommendation. Restate the facts that support it, and why it is the best option. Make sure there is a clear ending. Do not just stop writing.




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