Skip to content

Spring 2025 Seminar

The Effects of Mass Incarceration: Experiences of Prison and Parole

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

More than 10 million Americans are under “correctional supervision” in the United States, which incarcerates people at a rate drastically out of proportion with its population compared with the rest of the world. The yearly US cost of incarceration is over $80 billion per year. There are major debates on incarceration issues swirling in the general public and in the legal community ranging from the morality and efficacy of solitary confinement to the effects of prison overcrowding to the proper administration of parole to the appropriateness of life sentences without parole for a variety of populations and crimes. The effects of incarceration fall disproportionately on communities of color and perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

Through a combination of practical experiences and written texts, students will examine the experience and effects of incarceration and parole locally, nationally, and internationally. Experiences in the seminar will include touring local prisons or jails, meetings with lifetime parolees and formerly incarcerated individuals, and a wide variety of written texts, including essays, case studies, and research.

Students numbered 1-5 on the waitlist who plan to enroll if the opportunity arises should attend the first class as long as other course scheduling permits.