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Exercises to accompany Ch 1: Crime Control In America - Nothing Succeeds Like Failure

1. Go to What Every American Should Know About Criminal Justice. In a short paper, describe what you thought were the most important points and why. Use the 'Questions to Ask Someone Who Wants Your Vote' as the basis for a letter to an elected official. 

2. Summarize the concerns about imprisonment expressed by the American Society of Criminology's National Policy Committee

3. Go to the following two sites related to drug policy. Spend an equal amount of time at both and write a short paper discussing the best point you think is made in each one. White House Office for National Drug Control Strategy and National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  Repeat this exercise focusing specifically on marijuana.

4. Go to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics and navigate into the section that has statistics on incarceration. Find the chart on the number of state and federal prisoners per 100,000 population. (You may need to install Adobe Acrobat to read the .pdf chart.) What year did prison populations start to grow substantially? Put a mark on the chart about when crime rates – especially violent crime rates – started to fall. (You can get this information from earlier sections of the Sourcebook or many criminal justice textbooks.) In a short paper, discuss how this information does or does not support the idea that increasing the prison population reduces crime. 

5. Go to CEO Paywatch and click on ‘CEO database’. Use the database to find out how much the executives of tobacco companies make. How many years would you have to work at your current salary to make what they do in one year. Will you make that much in your lifetime? 

6. Thomas, named after founding father Thomas Jefferson, is the access point for a variety of information about our federal government. Navigate your way to the last full session of Congress, and chose the option to review major legislation. How can you find out about legislation related to crime control and crime prevention? Review the list of proposed legislation and write a short paper that briefly summarizes the idea of the proposed legislation, including what assumptions about the causes of crime seem to be implicit in it. Give your opinion about how relevant these bills are to the country’s ongoing high levels of crime. 

7. From Thomas, navigate your way to the last full session of Congress. Search the Congressional Record, which is a copy of all the speeches given in Congress and the remarks that members of Congress thought important enough to submit into the record. Search for terms like: crime, crime control, crime prevention, public safety, etc. Write a short paper that describes the search terms you used and reviews what you found. Do the results inspire confidence that federal elected officials understand the problem of crime and what can be done to stop it?

Alternatively, find out how to limit the search to a senator or representative from your state. Find your Representatives and Senators, then see what they have said about crime and criminal justice.

8. Find the home page for your state legislature, using the search box on the right if necessary. Repeat the exercises above to see what is being done on the state level. Is the legislation is more relevant than what is at the federal level? Do the state legislators seem to have a better grasp of the problem?

9. Write a paper on one of the issues at

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