Criminal Justice Division


CRJ 120                                                                                               Professor Canton

Fundamentals of Corrections                                                              Spring 2006


Office: 217 Alpine Hall                                                                       Office Hours:  MW 10:30-                                                                                                                  12:00pm and by appointment

Voicemail: (916)278-4344                                                                  eMail:





Course Description


A.        Catalog

Overview and critical analysis of contemporary correctional theory and practice. Comparison of mainline American corrections with historical, cross-cultural, philosophical and non-traditional views of corrections. Controversial issues in contemporary corrections, including prisoner rights, victimization, the death penalty, unions, institutional corrections, community corrections, future of corrections, correctional careers, and administration and staffing of correctional programs.


B.        Instructor

This course is designed to provide a broad overview of contemporary American correctional theory and practice. It will examine the components of the correctional system, including the trilogy of probation, custodial institutions, and parole. Critical issues, major approaches and controversies, including prisoner rights, the death penalty and sentencing, will be examined from historical, cross cultural, philosophical and non-traditional points of view. Keys to this examination will be the use of synchronous and asynchronous computer- and video-based learning, teaching, information and presentation technology, designed to maximize the advantages of a collaborative pedagogical model, and the development and implementation of community service projects designed to facilitate "real-world" learning.


Course Goals


The goal of this course is fivefold: (1) introduce students to the operations and interdependency of the agencies that comprise the contemporary American correctional system and to familiarize students with the various points of view involved in the field's current controversies; (2) critically examine and analyze the development of various correctional philosophies and approaches, thus allowing the student to objectively assess the efficacy and humanism of the system; (3) facilitate an understanding of the correctional environment through field study and personal observation, analysis, assessment, synthesis and evaluation; (4)to expose students to appropriate synchronous and asynchronous technology and collaborative pedagogy designed to improve their learning; and (5) facilitate the connection between correctional theory and practice through an experiential based learning modality employing service as its method of operation, known as Service-Learning.



Course Objectives


Upon completion of the course, students should:

·        Understand the correctional process and its relationship to the Criminal Justice System in general.

·        Have knowledge about how various philosophies of punishment have influenced the corrections process and brought it to its present state.

·        Understand the functions of jails, prisons, probation and parole.

·        Have a clearer understanding of some of the major issues of contemporary corrections - prison overcrowding, prisoners’ rights, court interventions.

·        Be able to use synchronous and asynchronous technology, including computer and video based delivery modes, in the identification and retrieval of information.

·        Be able to reflect upon their service experience and relate it to the theory, concepts, principles, facts and practices presented in class lectures, texts, notes and classroom activities.


Course Text



Clear, Todd R., George F. Cole, & Michael D. Reisig, American Corrections (Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, Belmont, CA) 7th edition, 2006.


Jacobs, Lila, Cintron, Jose & Cecil E. Canton, The Politics of Survival in Academia: Narratives of Inequity, Resilience and Success (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham, MD), 2002.



Reiman, Jeffrey, The Rich Get Richer and The Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class and Criminal

Justice (Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA) 7th edition, 2004.



Course Requirements


A. General


The underlying pedagogical philosophy of this course is that adults learn best in an environment that actively involves them in the learning process and allows them to share their knowledge and prior experiences with one another in small or large group settings. This active learning process necessitates their full engagement in and commitment to the activities specified. Therefore, it is expected that each adult learner will commit to working together to ensure their fullest support and contribution to the total learning experience of each member of their group and the class.


B. Quizzes & Examinations

There will be four (4) examinations. They will consist of objective type questions, short answer essays and/or regular essays. In addition, there will be quizzes that will be unannounced and will cover relevant material from assigned readings, lectures, class discussions and any other materials assigned for out of class or in-class review.

Students are encouraged to make a field visit to a county correctional facility or a state prison, either juvenile or adult. This visit will be worth extra credit. This visit will be designed to give the student a realistic view of a correctional facility and its practices and will be considered extra credit toward an exam score. Students must develop a list of questions pertaining to correctional facilities and their operation prior to this visit. These questions must be approved by the instructor prior to the visit and answered during the visit.


C. Service Learning

"To the world you might be only one person, but to one person you might be the world!"

                                                --Prof. Cecil E. Canton--


The Service-Learning experience is designed to facilitate an understanding of the correctional environment through field study and personal observation, analysis, assessment, synthesis, evaluation and reflection. Each student is required to make a commitment of a minimum of two hours per week to the implementation of this community service assignment.


Each Student is required to work with a community agency that addresses problems encountered by populations at-risk for the correctional system, such as the poor, the homeless, battered women, truants, abused children, etc. The SacMentor Program (based at CSUS), Linkage to Education, St. Hope Academy, Loaves and Fishes, Moral Values Program, Peers Against Substance Abuse and Sacramento County Probation Department's Neighborhood Accountability Board and the Youth Guidance Connection are examples of programs which meet this requirement. Each student is required to prepare a "Community Service Learning Consultant Contract." which identifies the skills s/he will offer on a consultative basis to a community organization, hereafter referred to as a "Community Partner." The "Community Service Learning Consultant Contract" for each student will: (1) identify service objectives to work with a specific community partner (hereafter referred to as a "Community Partner”); (2) identify the skills s/he will offer on a consultative basis to a community partner; and (3) identify specific activities (that may include tutoring and/or mentoring services, or other delinquency prevention or adult centered services) which may be required by the assigned community partner with whom they perform community service. ALL students are required to submit this "Community Service Learning Consultant Contract," for instructor approval no later than Wednesday, February 8, 2006. Failure to submit a "Community Service Learning Consultant Contract" and to obtain instructor approval of your community service site by the date specified will result in "zero" credit earned for that assignment.


Students will connect their service learning experience with course content through the development of self-generated questions concerning the correctional process and the way the service learning experience provides answers or guidance in clarifying those questions. There will also be instructor-generated questions that will provide students with an opportunity to encourage inquiry and reflection at three levels of analysis: The Mirror (A Clear Reflection of the Self), The Microscope (Makes the small experience large), and The Binoculars (Makes what appears distant, appear closer).


On Monday, May 8, 2006, each student will be expected to submit a three (3) page paper reflecting upon their community service experience, indicating the significant learning which has been derived from the experience using the three levels of analysis (Mirror, Microscope and Binoculars) explained below, and answering the questions identified below. They will also be required to make an oral presentation of their community service effort to the entire class. Failure to make this oral presentation will result in a score reduction on the final paper. Failure to submit the paper on the requested day will result in zero (0) credit for the community service learning potions of your grade.


Mark Cooper describes the three levels of analysis as follows:

* The Mirror (A clear reflection of Self)

What have you learned about yourself through this experience? Do you have more/less understanding or empathy than you did before volunteering? How has this experience challenged stereotypes or prejudices you have/had? How do you think that these experiences will change the way you act or think in the future? How has this experience challenged you? Your ideals? Your philosophies? Your concept of life or the way that you live?


* The Microscope (Makes the small experience large)

What happened? Describe your experience. What would you change about this situation if you were in charge? Was there a moment of failure, success, indecision, doubt, humor, frustration, happiness, sadness? Do you feel your actions had any impact? What more needs to be done? In what ways does this experience compliment or contrast with what you are learning in class? Has learning through experience taught you more, less, or the same as the class? In what ways?


* The Binoculars (Makes what appears distant, appear closer)

From your service experience, are you able to identify any underlying or overarching issues which influence the problem you identified? What could be done to change the situation? How will this alter your future behavior/attitudes/and career? How is this issue/agency you are serving impacted by what is going on in the larger political/social sphere? What does the future hold? What can be done?


Instructor-generated Questions for Reflection on the Community Service Learning Process


Reflection is an important part of the service learning experience. Through reflection one gains an opportunity to determine the impact of the experience on values, skills and attitudes. "Reflection provides an opportunity for people who are serving to open their hearts and minds to the experiences of others, to acknowledge their wisdom and understand their resources, strengths and needs, and to develop action plans that involve partnership with communities, and prevent doing harm."

During the process of providing consultant services to the community partner, you should journal or make notes on your insights, challenges, reactions, findings, etc. The following questions are designed to encourage you to reflect critically upon the service learning experience. These questions should generate a response that is a minimum of one and one-half typed page. Responses to the questions are due to the instructor on the dates assigned. Please apply the three levels of analysis (the Mirror, the Microscope, and the Binoculars) in your reflection responses. Failure to do so will result in a lowered grade for this assignment. (Please see the Reflection Paper Scoring Rubric.)


Reflection Paper #1: February 22, 2006


            Reflecting on Jacob’s thoughtful use of story telling and powerful use of ethnography in recounting her own experience in Redefining the Self, describe how you would “explain” yourself to a client or to a community partner? What would you incorporate from or into your own life in describing yourself to others?  What thoughts do you have about you as you begin thinking about marketing yourself and your skills to the community partner? Who are you? What are your values? How will you approach your community partner? What skills and assets do you possess that make you marketable? How has Jacob’s view caused you to change in the way you look at yourself?


Reflection Paper #2: March 22, 2006


            In Hanging In: The Journey to Good Enough, Cowan reflects on her experiences with racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination. Using her “making it” metaphor, describe the mechanisms you and your client use to “make it” in your socio-economic milieu?   Now that you are working with the client, what are some of the challenges you both face in working with each other? What do you notice about your values, stereotypes, prejudices, etc.? What do you notice about your client's values, stereotypes, prejudices, etc.? How are they similar or different? Why do you think they are similar or different? What adjustments (if any) do you think you will you have to make in order to fulfill your responsibilities? What have you learned about this agency, these clients, this community, and about yourself?


Reflection Paper #3: April 12, 2006


            Torres shares her understanding about “uncovering and discovering the secrets of the world of academia,” in Reflecting on the Games of Academia: A View from the Porch. How has your own “view from the porch” been changed or influenced by your service learning experience? What have you uncovered or discovered about being a community servant that has surprised or disappointed you the most? Identify some specific ways that your thinking as a "community servant" is different or has changed as a result of this experience? In what ways, if any, has your sense of self, your values, your sense of community, your willingness to serve others, and your self confidence/self esteem been impacted or altered through this experience? In what ways has your client been changed or impacted by this experience? How will you use the knowledge you have gained through this experience in your future?


D. The In-Class Debate


Students will be placed in small groups where they will be asked to research a position on a question posed by the instructor for discussion in class using a debate format. Each group will be assigned 2 questions for the purpose of debate. They must be prepared to take a position either "for" or "against" in arguing the question. Students will have to research both sides of the question in order to debate the opposing group. The instructor will decide which question and which position is taken on the day of the debate. The debate format will allow for a two (2) minute opening presentation of the important points supporting your position, with a two (2) minute opportunity for presentation by your opponents. The debate will consist of  6 to 10 minutes of spontaneous rebuttal of the opponents position. This will be followed by a one (1) minute closing statement for each side, after which time the discussion may be opened up to class participation. The debate will be "judged" by the instructor and members of the class, who will determine the winner of the debate based upon the following criteria: a) clarity of presentation, b) logic and persuasiveness of argument, and c) evidence of teamwork.

The "winners" of the debate will receive a bonus of 15 points to be credited to their score on the next scheduled examination. Each group will be expected to provide the instructor with a typed outline of the research both "for" and "against" the question, including the arguments in support of and in opposition to the questions assigned. You will be expected to document your "research" and provide it as part of your outline. Failure to provide the outline to the instructor prior to the debate will result in the group receiving "zero" credit for the project. There will be no exceptions to this policy!


E. Group Records


Official minutes from each team meeting for planning as well as carrying out the debate assignment are required weekly. Evaluations of both a qualitative and quantitative nature will be made of this project and the debate presentations. The importance of working effectively as a team is essential in the correctional environment. Therefore, team projects are assigned as a way to prepare students for the collaborative workplace.


The following guidelines are to be followed throughout the duration of the group project:

1.      The instructor will select the members of each group to ensure group balance.

2.      The groups will consist of between 3 - 5 members to ensure adequate group interaction.

3.      The members of each group will be expected to work as a team with little direct supervision from the instructor.

4.      Each group will be expected to work out any conflict that may arise within the group in a collegial manner.

5.      Each group is expected to elect chairperson/spokesperson for the group and an official secretary/recorder to keep minutes of every session at which the group meets to discuss and implement the group projects. This may be done on a rotating basis to ensure that everyone in the group shares the responsibility.

6.      The members of each group are expected to conduct their group discussions as official meetings, with official minutes (records) kept of each meeting.

7.      The minutes are to be typed according to the format provided by the instructor, and are to be turned in to the instructor promptly after each meeting.

8.      Minutes, signed by each member of the group, should be turned in each week

9.      The project grades for each team member will be derived from the project and the official group minutes.

10.  Each team will be expected to meet at least once a week during the course of the semester. (The most successful groups appear to meet a minimum of 8 times or more, however!)


Guidelines for Minutes (Records) of Group Meetings:

1.      Include the number of your group with each set of minutes, as well as the names of the members of the group.

2. Record the date, time, and location of each session/meeting (produce a separate set of minutes for each session).

3. Keep careful and accurate records of each member's attendance and assignments.

4. Read and correct previous session minutes to ensure the accuracy of the transactions.

5. Keep announcements brief unless they are considered vital to the project or assignment.

6. Complete old business transactions before conducting new business, for example work assigned to group members at the previous session.

7. Discuss new business and assign new work assignments.

8. Record adjournment time and date of next scheduled meeting (if any)

9. Turn in a copy of minutes to instructor each week promptly after each meeting (no later than 5:00 P.M. Wednesday). Each member should receive a copy of this official record of the group's business, and sign the minutes before they are turned in.


F. Class Attendance


In order to actively participate in the educational process, your attendance is expected. Successful demonstration of knowledge and skills is a function of regular attendance since much of the testing material will be generated from in-class discussions and comments. Students are expected to read carefully all assigned material. You will be responsible for all reading assignments regardless of the extent to which they have or have not been discussed in class. A considerable amount of time in class will be spent analyzing and thinking about practical and theoretical dimensions, the political and historical perspectives and the data and information contained in the assigned readings and th3e community service learning experience.

There may be times when an absence is unavoidable, if you find yourself in this situation you must: (1) notify me in advance in writing, and (2) secure any missed notes, materials or assignments from a student in your group or another student. Quizzes can not be made up if they are missed. You will not be allowed to make up any of the four (4) Midterm Examinations so it will be your responsibility to attend all of those class sessions


G. Course Grading


Quizzes                                                                       Random                                               20%

Examinations (4).                                                        See schedule                                        40%

Project #1: Group Debate                                          Scheduled                                            10%

Community Service Learning: Responses to                                       

Consult Req. and Reflection Questions                       Scheduled                                            20%    

Time Sheet, Final Reflection Paper & Oral                

Presentation                                                                Scheduled                                            10%



H. Assignments


Week   Day                   Topic                                     Readings                                  Project








Intro/ Comm. Serv. Learning


Early History






Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 1


Film: Race: The Difference Between Us










Early History of Corr’l. Thought


Community Partner Presentation


Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 2

Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. ix-xxiii

Reiman: Pp. 11-46
















Service Learning & Reflections



The History of Corrections in America



Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. 1-13



Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 3




Group & Debate Questions Assigned



Community Service Learning Consultant Contract due 














The Law of Corrections



Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 4

Reiman: Pp. 103-146


Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 5




Film: Crime File Sentencing (Pt. 3) (1134)













The Correct’l Client




EXAM #1 (1-6)



 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 6

Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. 33-55







Reflection Paper #1 Due















 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 7



 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 8



Film: Lock-up the Prisoners of Rikers Island










Indeterminate Sanctions




 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 9



 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 10



Debate Prep.



Film: Security Levels in Correctional Facilities













The Prison Experience



EXAM #2 (7-11)



  Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 11



Film: Gang Management in Corrections


Reflection Paper #2 Due











Female Offenders





Institutional Management



Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 12

Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. 33-55



 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 13




Film: Women’s Prisons: Old problems and new solutions


Film: San Quentin: Inside the Big House












Institutional Programs



Release from Incarceration




 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 14

 Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. 77-94

 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 15
















Community Supervision


Juvenile Offenders



 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 16


 Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 17




Film: Hard Time: Teens in maximum security prisons









Debate  (Pt. 1)


EXAM #3 (12-17)








Reflection Paper #3 Due













Debate  (Pt. 2)


Incarceration Trends   






Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 18


















Race, Ethnicity & Corrections


The Death Penalty 


Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 19

Jacobs, Cintron & Canton:

Pp. 125-139

Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpt. 20




Film: Race: The Story We Tell



Film: Witness to Execution: Capital Punishment













 Control & Community Justice



Control & Community Justice



Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpts. 21-22



Clear, Cole & Reisig: Chpts. 21-22



Service Learning Reflection Papers Due


Film: Restorative Justice (4629)





5/15- 19



Finals Week:

Exam #4 (18-22)






Mark Cooper, The Big Dummy's Guide to Service Learning, "Planning Your Next Successful Volunteer Project."!time4chg/Library/bigdummy.html

Julie Reed and Christopher Koliba, "Facilitating Reflection: A Manual for Leaders and Educators."