Mistreatment and lack of rehabilitation for juveniles

SOC 523, Fall 2020                                                                                                    Dr. Smith

Final Paper (10+ typed pages – not including bibliography or title page) due on Tuesday, November 24th (11:59pm).   

Partial draft will be due Friday, 11/20.

As stated in the syllabus, the starting point of this paper is that you choose a social/criminal justice issue that interests you — pick something you want to learn more about.  This paper is worth 80 points.

This is the student-centered part of our course.  Now is your chance to explore a topic in detail that you want to learn about (and that perhaps relates to your future internship or your desired future career).  The paper topic must be able to be discussed within the framework of community corrections/alternative sentencing.

Make sure you read over the following directions carefully. 

Note: You will be required to have specific parts of this paper completed (in Draft form) by Wednesday, 11/18 (worth approximately 30 points —- of the 80 points total).  Specific directions regarding the Draft will be provided. 


  • Final Paper is due on Tuesday, 11/24 (11:59pm).
  • Upload paper on BB in its assigned place. Papers must be uploaded on BB.
  • 10+ pages in length, not including Title Page or Bibliography


  • Late papers lose 15% for each 24 hours late. Be sure to plan ahead – if the paper is late then points are deducted according to the schedule, regardless of reason (e.g. computer problems).  There are no exceptions to this.  Papers must be uploaded on BB on time.


  • Be sure paper is in 12pt font, with 1 inch margins. Write in your own words as much as possible, and, be sure to cite appropriately. Papers are graded on content, writing/grammar, organization, and adherence to guidelines.


  • Be careful to follow CMU Academic Integrity Policies regarding plagiarism. Social and Criminal Justice faculty have been dealing with numerous plagiarism issues recently. Plagiarism may result in failing the paper and the course, and, having to retake SOC 523 if you wish to remain in the Social & Criminal Justice program.








Your paper should have a separate Title page, and the following six (6) components.  Each component needs to be subtitled in your paper:



Provide an overview of the paper – stating what follows in the pages to come.


Contemporary Overview

A detailed description of the contemporary nature and extent of your topic (contemporary can incorporate the last few years, the last 5 years, the last 10 or 20 years – it is up to you).  Possible topics include: our current jail/prison population – perhaps focusing on certain types of offenders – violent, property, or drugs; parole/probation population, individuals with mental health issues and the justice system; youth in prison, child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, juvenile offenders.  The topic is very open – it is up to you!

You want to make sure you include information on the demographics of your population as well (e.g., girls in juvenile prison are disproportionately minority, from single-parent homes, have a history of abuse/neglect, trouble in school, etc, etc).


Critical Analysis

A critical analysis of your topic in relation to our social/criminal justice system.  First, for your topic, explain the extent to which the criminal justice system focuses on imprisonment/institutionalization, community corrections, types of treatment programs, etc, etc. (e.g.,  – does the social/CJ system often put them in jail/prison? in treatment facilities? juvenile offenders in detention/prison? abused/neglected kids in foster care? institutions?).

Next, provide an analysis of the way the social/criminal system is working.  Here you want your critical analysis to focus on the system in relation to at least 2 of the following theoretical perspectives: deterrence, just deserts, incapacitation, rehabilitation.

This part of the paper requires some extensive, creative, thinking on your part.  Here you are evaluating the system as good/bad – or some combination of the two.  What is the system doing right, according to the theoretical perspectives? What is it doing wrong?

*Here you can incorporate your future internship or desired future career.  Why do you want to go into a certain field/profession?  What is it that appeals to you about a certain field/profession? *


Policy Ideas — Community Approaches? Alternative Approaches?

Here you want to present a discussion of your topic in relation to community programming/corrections and alternative sentencing/sanctions.  You want to make an argument for an increased use of community corrections or alternative sanctions (e.g., for certain types of adult or youth offenders) for your topic/issue, or, an argument for why such use is not a good idea.  Use at least 2 of the traditional justifications (rehabilitation, deterrence, just deserts, incapacitation) to make your argument.

Think of community corrections and alternative sentencing here as some form of community supervision and treatment — e.g. probation with required drug treatment, or electronic monitoring with required employment, halfway house, etc., etc.  Be creative here with types of community programming that you think may make sense.  Think outside the box!

*Here you can also incorporate what you plan to do for your internship, or, in your desired future career.  You can discuss issues that you may face, and, what approaches you would like to take.  Again, be creative!*



Provide a conclusion that briefly summarizes the key points of the paper.



A bibliography/source list — any style, just make sure the reference style is consistent.

Total Number of Sources – Specify the type of sources in your Bibiliography.  So, have subheadings – Journal Articles, Book, Popular Press articles, Websites, Films

For this paper you need to have at least the following amount of sources:


  1. At least 3 journal articles or chapters in books

(government publication/website can count here e.g., DHHS publications/information)


  1. At least 1 book (articles or book chapter can substitute here)


  1. At least 6 popular press articles — newspapers/magazines (reputable websites and films    can count here)



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