book review of Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice, writing homework help

Your essay must be a minimum of 10 typed, double-spaced pages and follow the format provided.Your essay will not receive full credit if it does not follow the format provided.

1) Introduction (up to 1 page):

a) Summarize this portion of the book’s main findings/arguments (1-2 paragraphs)

b) Summarize or outline the rest of your essay (1 paragraph)

*You may wish to write your Introduction in the order that I have presented here: begin with a paragraph that summarizes and end with a paragraph that provides a roadmap of the rest of the paper.However, I encourage creativity and, for example, you may wish to open by presenting a recent case in the news, or with a provocative scenario, etc. that exemplifies the book’s main points.

2) Body (7-9 pages)

The body of your paper should elaborate on two main themes that appear throughout this book, and are supported by some of the course material.

a) The perceptions of criminal justice actors (from witnesses to jurors to police officers) are central to the identification, adjudication, and punishment of law-breakers.However, their perceptions cannot always be trusted.Why not?Your discussion may include, for example:

  • narratives about what causes crime, including who “criminals” and “victims” are, the nature of “good/evil” etc.
  • cognitive processes that affect perception and memory
  • past experiences or exposures that influence our understanding of the current situation
  • b) We often exalt the procedures that we use to identify, convict and punish law-breakers as the best, fairest, and most effective in the world. However, these procedures don’t always prevent false perceptions from affecting the criminal justice process and leading to unjust or ineffective outcomes. Why not? Your discussion may include, for example:

  • how criminal justice professionals (police, judges, lawyers, prison workers) are trained to perform their tasks
  • social processes that affect jury deliberations
  • financial and other institutional constraints on courts and prisons
  • why curative measures don’t work
  • *So long as the two themes above are addressed, you may organize the content of your body as you wish.You may find it easiest to address each in turn as they appear above, and that is totally fine.The bullet points in a) and b) are not exhaustive lists, but rather examples to help you understand the kind of content that you should put in your body.Make sure you weave in some content from the rest of the course, even though the majority of your content will come from the book.

    3) Conclusion (1-2 pages)

    Conclude your essay reflecting on these two themes and his suggestions for improvement.You have a little more control over the content and structure of this section, but I am interested in whether you found the book convincing and whether you think we can overcome the shortcomings that he identifies.I am not looking for grand conclusions along the lines of “our system is flawed but it’s the best in the world!” or “our system is terrible because no one will ever get a fair trial!”Rather, I’d like you to respond to the materials in a thoughtful and organized manner, keeping in mind the topics that you discussed in your essay. Where there particular things that you thought could be improved, while others might be hopeless?Were there parts of the book that you found more convicting than others?Etc

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