Liman Public Interest Workshop: Imprisoned (21534). 2 units, credit/fail, with a graded option. The number of people in jails and prisons rose substantially from the 1970s through the present, with some leveling off or modest declines in recent years in a few jurisdictions. More than 2 million persons are in jails or prisons. More than 5 million people are under supervision through probation, parole, and supervised release. Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that one in 107 American adults was behind bars, a rate roughly five times the worldwide average, and one in 50 was under some type of supervision.
Incarceration does not have the same impact on all who live in the United States; race, gender, age, nationality, and ethnicity interact to affect the likelihood that one will be detained or have family and community members in detention. People of color are disproportionately in prison. In 2010, black men were six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men; African Americans and Latinos constituted more than 60% of people imprisoned.
Participants in this Workshop will explore the history of detention and imprisonment in the United States; the rise of detention facilities owned and operated by the private sector; the use of specific forms of detention such as solitary confinement and specialized supermax facilities; and growing concerns about the costs —dignitary, social, political, and financial, — of the system now in use. Our sessions will address the law of prisons, the market for prisons, and the perspectives of those who direct prisons, who work in them, and who are detained by them. When doing so, we will look at both U.S. and non-U.S. law, such as the 1933 Guidelines of the League of Nations; the European Prison Rules of the Council of Europe; and the 2015 U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (“Mandela Rules”); statutes, and court decisions. We will consider the degree of oversight that courts, legislatures, and other actors have in shaping the parameters of permissible sanctions, regulating conditions of confinement, and in crafting remedies for violations. Students participating credit/fail must choose four times during the term after the first two sessions to submit two-page reflections that offer comments on that week's readings. Students who would like graded credit have two options: For two units of credit, students may write a responsive essay of no more than 3,000 words during the examination period; students who wish to completed a Supervised Analytic Writing paper or a Substantial Paper for three graded credits need to submit a proposal by the fifth week of the term and meet with instructors to determine its feasibility and then agree upon a research plan and schedule. J. Resnik, K. Bell, A. Van Cleave, and A.T. Wall.
Note: The Workshop meets weekly; preparation and attendance at these discussions is required for credit.