You are required to conduct independent research on a criminal justice issue of your choosing.
The subject matter for this paper is your choice as long as it relates directly to some issue of
criminal justice and can be reasonably explained/argued in 4–5 pages of text. Choose an aspect
of the criminal justice system you are interested in or curious about. Your goal here is to learn
something new about the criminal justice system. Educate yourself as well as your instructor.
Examples can include Alternatives to Incarceration, Asset Forfeiture, Bail/Financial Release,
Boot Camps, Cameras on Police, CCTV, Curfews, Dating/Domestic Violence, Determinate
Sentencing, Drug Courts, Drug Offender Response, DUI/DWI, Electronic Monitoring, Eyewitness
testimony, Faith–Based Prison Programs, False Confessions, Family Courts, Firearms, Juvenile
Death Penalty, Megan’s Law/Notification Laws, Mentally Ill Persons in Prisons, Plea Bargaining,
Prison Privatization, Prisoner Reentry, Racial Profiling, Restorative Justice, Sex Offenders,
Recording Interrogations, Tasers, Waiver/Transfer, White Collar Crime… These are just some
suggestions; feel free to select a different topic.
Once you select a topic (or as part of the process to select a topic) that interests you, it is a
good idea to initially read and evaluate some of the literature about your topic, you want to
make sure there is suitable information available and this research will help you develop a
tentative or working thesis. A thesis is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first
paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. For the rest of the paper, the body of the
essay gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your
interpretation. For instance, a very simple thesis might be “Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages
gang violence.” or “The America’s criminal justice efforts should focus on alternative sanctions
such as GPS tracking because it would allow most citizens convicted of a crime to contribute to
society, lower operating costs while still maintaining community safety.” In both cases, they
make a claim and they tell the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. The paper that
follows should explain (with empirical support) why/how illegal drug use leads to gang violence
and the resulting damage to society. Or explain how inefficient traditional sanctions are and the
benefits of alternatives like GPS tracking of those who are under correctional supervision etc.
* Your thesis statement or your introductory sentence for that matter should not be “In this
paper, I will discuss X.” (or something along these lines).
* Feel free to run your tentative thesis statement or sources by if you are unsure.
1. Your research paper must be submitted (as a ‘word/docx’ document) to the Canvas
assignments area no later than (11:59 pm) on January 16th. Please do not email your paper.
I reserve the right to lower the grade for assignments that are handed in late (one letter
grade each 24 hour period after the due date). Papers will not be accepted after January
18th.It should be about 4 to 5 pages of text (maximum of 6 pages – title page and works cited
page do not count toward the page count). Further you should use a 12–point font, 1–inch
margins, and papers must be double–spaced.
2. I recommend you get approval of your proposed topic prior to starting your paper.
3. Papers should cite materials using APA formatting therefore reference list must be included
with at least 3 different citations of books or academic articles (World Wide Web sites are
not normally suitable for research papers unless as a source for an online journal, research,
or newspaper article – If you question the credibility of the information on a website – don’t
use it. You may also ask me about it).