Reflection assignments are essays, based on the assigned chapters noted in the syllabus. Type your reflection using correct grammar, spelling, writing mechanics and articulation. Each reflection assignment should be a minimum of 2 pages (it can be longer), double-spaced with one inch margins and size 12 font. Upload your reflection into D2L. Follow these directions:
- Identify one passage from the assigned book (introduction through chapter 4), The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, that you find interesting, thought-provoking, controversial or one with which you agree or disagree.
- Begin your reflection assignment by reprinting the quoted passage and also provide the page #.
- Then reflect on the passage, explaining why you chose it, what you think about it, why it is or is not important, and/or how the passage relates to other theories, ideas, concepts, history, or findings from the lectures, reading and/or from other credible sources.
- In addition to the book, cite other sources as you analyze each passage in order to support your opinions, reasoning and observations. Use APA Edition 6 for all sources.
- A rubric will be used to grade your reflections; if instructor feedback seems auto-generated, that’s because it is.
- The best two or three reflection assignments will be posted so that great work can be recognized and other students have examples on how to improve. To be considered for this honor, permission must be granted in the form of a quiz to be completed in the week 1 module.
“Violence was not controlled chiefly through criminal punishment… it was controlled through local democracy in the network of relationships that supported it… criminal punishment was embedded in that network of relationships. Police officer sometimes lived in the neighborhood they patrolled, and had political ties to those neighborhoods through the ward bosses who represented their cities’ political machines. Those patrols happened on foot: officers, those whom they targeted, and those whom they served knew one another. Cops, crime victims, criminals, and the jurors who judged them-these were not wholly district communities; they overlapped, and the overlaps could be large.” (Stuntz, 2011, p. 31).
I specifically chose this passage for two reasons. First, it addresses current issues that are relevant today; racial profiling, stereotyping, and the large incarcerated population of minorities. Second, it presents an upstream solution, which I will define and discuss further along in the reflection, to the large incarcerated population of minority that I personally quite agree with.
“Crime victims in black neighborhoods have difficulty convincing local police to take their victimization seriously… Cab drivers are slow to pick up” African Americans, and “pedestrians… hold their possession more tightly when they approach young black males” (Stuntz, 2011, p.22). All these scenarios demonstrate what is formally known as stereotyping. It’s wrong, but it’s inevitable. Humans make up their own image or judgement of others in the first few seconds of seeing them. My psychology professor had a very interesting way of defining stereotyping: Stereotypes are made of incomplete stories and information. When David Wechsler first started introducing intelligence tests, a large percentage of those who were identified as intellectually disabled were hispanic and African American students. This was largely due to cultural bias, not because they were unintelligent (Sharpe, personal communication, 2017). Hispanic and African Americans had different experiences than caucasian students, and because a lot of the test questions heavily relied on language and american culture, they were bound to fail (Lilienfeld, 2014). In conclusion, it's not that these specific races are unintelligent; they just have different cultural backgrounds, manners, and experiences, that make it difficult to clearly declare them as intelligent or not, good or bad, right or wrong, guilty or innocent. Judging another human being isn’t simple, easy, nor is it clear. The reason behind why the solution, given by the passage I chose, worked was because of this concept.
“Scholars have noted the effect of poor economic opportunity on black crime, but causation runs in both directions: black crime leads to black imprisonment, which reinforces the low level of economic opportunity in black neighborhoods, which in turn encourages more black crime” (Stuntz, 2011, p. 48). Because of this very fact, simply putting individuals behind bars is nothing more than trying to relieve a patient of their symptoms when they want to be treated for their disease. This scenario is the perfect depiction of downstream and upstream solution. Downstream solutions is a vigorous process of constantly helping individuals one at a time for the same issue, like saving each individual drowning in the river. Whereas, upstream solution is focused on preventing the issue from occurring, like placing a fence on the edge of the river so people wouldn’t fall in (Upstream Public Health, 2013). The rise of crime rates aren’t simply due to the poor choices of individuals. The social environment plays a major role in the development and attitude of their decisions. Like portrayed in the time lapse above, low income will result to low income neighborhood, where the neighborhoods may be unsafe and filled with bad influences, which will increase the chance of one’s involvement in poor choices. “Different determinants can create feedback loops” (AFMC Primer on Population Health, 2017). Preventing the rise of crime rate should start by changing the social environment of the neighborhoods. Lowering tension between the citizens and the law enforcers and painting better role models in the lives of young children would be a great start. I believe it's important to know who you serve. One cannot rightfully judge another person without once being in their shoes. Law enforcers becoming a part of the community they serve, will not only enhance their knowledge of the area and the people, they would be able to gain trust. When the enforcers become reliable, honorable, and respectful figure, individuals will be less tempted to make poor decisions (Stuntz, 2011, p.29). This passage displays an upstream solution to the very issue today- racial profiling, stereotyping, and large incarcerated population of minorities. However, to be able to pull this through, not only the officers themselves, but the law enforcing community has to be committed. These changes will be hard to make. A lot of mistakes will have to be made to perfect the best solution, but if there is a problem in this nation, it is the responsibility of the law enforcers to find justice in chaos.
“AFMC Primer on Population Health” (2017). Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.
Retrieved From https://afmc.ca/AFMCPrimer.pdf?20170510
[EquiateTV]. (2013, May 17). Upstream Public Health [Video File]. Retrieved from
Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Namy, L. L., & Woolf, N. J. (2014). Psychology: From Inquiry to
Sharpe, M. E. (2017). Intelligence and IQ Testing [Oral lecture]. Lecture conducted from
Portland State University, Portland, OR.
Stuntz, W. J. (2011).The Collapse of the American Criminal Justice. Cambridge, MA: The
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.