MASS INCARCERATION, HUMAN RIGHTS AND VIOLENCE

Broken?

This lesson will introduce you to our unit on mass incarceration and to the online project.

 

https://brokenproject.org/

 

Evidence for Racial and Class Disparities

 

 

WHAT IS MASS INCARCERATION?

The Land of the Free?

  • What is mass incarceration? 

  • How is it unique to the US? 

  • Who is most affected?

We will explore these questions through a discussion, reading and video.

Racial Disparities in the US Criminal Justice System

  • Why do people argue that the US operate two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and one for the poor and people of color? 

  • What are some different explanations for racial disparities within the US criminal justice system? 

Through some videos, readings and class discussions, we will begin to explore these questions.

VIOLENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Violence

  • What is the difference between conflict and violence?

  • What are the three different types of violence?

  • What's is Galtung's Triangle of Violence?

Human Rights

  • What are human rights?

  • How are they enforced?

  • What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

We will explore these questions through a reading, some videos and discussions. 

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WHAT IS DRIVING MASS INCARCERATION?

Three Strikes and You're Out

  • What are some of the main drivers of mass incarceration? 

  • What are mandatory minimums and three strikes laws?

  • What role do prosecutors play in driving mass incarceration? 

We will explore these questions through a discussion, reading and some videos.

The War on Drugs

  • What is the war on drugs?

  • How is the war on drugs seen as a driver of mass incarceration?

  • How has the war on drugs contributed to the criminalization of communities of color in the US?

  • How have views about drug use changed in response to the opioid crisis? 

We will explore these questions through a discussion, reading and video.

Broken Windows Policing in the US

  • How do broken windows policing and stop and frisk impact on young people and communities of color in the US?

  • What aspects of identity make some people more vulnerable to state/police violence?

 

We will look at these questions through some short readings, videos and a four corners discussion. 

RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE, RESTORATIVE JUSTICE, JUSTIVE REINVESTMENT

What is Justice?

  • What is justice?

  • What are some different types of justice?

  • How can we advance justice?

We will explore these questions through some interviews, discussions and by watching a talk by Bryan Stevenson.

RIP? Rot in Prison? Or Reinvest in People?

  • What is retributive justice?

  • What is restorative justice?

  • What is a reinvestment approach to justice? 

  • What are some successes and limitations of all three approaches to justice? 

We will explore these questions through a discussion, reading and case study on dealing with violence.

The US Cannot Incarcerate its Way out of Violence

  • Of the over 2 million people behind bars in the U.S., what percentage are locked up for violent offenses?

  • How effective is the criminal justice system in reducing violence?

  • What causes violence?​

We will explore these questions through a discussion, reading and case study on dealing with violence.​

Criminal Justice Reforms

  • How have those most impacted by the criminal justice system been at the forefront of its reform?

  • Which significant reforms have taken place?

  • Is decarceration leading to an increase in crime?

 

We will look at these questions through some short readings, a video and a discussion. 

THE NEW JIM CROW

The New Jim Crow

  • What are some of the challenges or collateral consequences faced by ex-offenders and convicted drug felons when they attempt to reintegrate into society after they are released from prison?

  • What is the “prison label” is and how does it harms individuals and communities? 

  • Why is mass incarceration seen as the "new Jim Crow?"

 

Through some videos, readings, a role play and class discussions, we will explore these complex questions.  

CULMINATING ASSESSMENT

Mass Incarceration on Trial

As the culmination activity of this unit, we will put mass incarceration on trial for its role in creating a new racial caste system in the USA. 

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