POLS 020C. Special Topic: Police, Prosecution, and Racial (In) Justice in America (AP)


The killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis, MN police officer has forced a  national reckoning with structural racism, particularly with regard to the nature of policing, mass incarceration, and discriminatory law enforcement. This seminar explores these contested -- and controversial -- social and policy issues.  In addition, we will examine a number of questions: What are the origins of American policing? What should be the role of policing in a democratic society, especially given the unique and independent culture of some 18,000 police departments across the United States?  In what way(s) does racial bias affect policing? Or does it? What does is mean that the work of police is to preserve 'law & order?' And did the policy of "stop-and-frisk" actually work?  Why are Blacks 3-to-4-times more likely to be victims of police violence than whites? How are communities of color policed?  How does the criminal legal process actually work? And what are the implications of  all of these questions for the crisis in racial justice?  Finally, throughout the semester, we will be joined by myriad stakeholders across the spectra of policing, the criminal legal process, corrections, as well as community members impacted by police violence.
Prerequisite:  POLS 2 or POLS 28.  Or by permission of the Instructor
Social Science.
1 credit.
Catalog chapter: Political Science
Department website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/political-science


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