What facts/topics did you find most shocking or surprising in this class?
Learning that professionals believe 30 days minimum in solitary confinement is alright to place on inmates. I usually thought inmates could only be in solitary confinement for a week at most and I felt that was too much. So I was really surprised to hear this is not the case. I was surprised to find out that 39% of those incarcerated are non-violent offenders. I always felt that prison was reserved for those that were violent and posed a threat to the general public. I always knew that inmates worked for less than minimum wage. When I found out on average it was less than 10 cents I was very shocked because it is basically free labor and exploitation of prisoners.
What activities or assignments did you like the most?
When activities had videos with inmate or victim commentary I really enjoyed them. Most of the time information is given straight from the textbook and writing from researchers can be different from the experiences of those in the system. I always felt like I gained a deeper understanding and ability to apply the material learned to real-life situations when these videos were included. My favorite overall was the chapter discussing the juvenile justice system. The documentary They Call Us Monsters was very eye-opening. I was grateful to learn about juvenile transfer laws because I had never been taught that in-depth in previous criminal justice classes but I feel it is so important to know.
What do you want the public or policymakers to know about the correctional system? What do you hope will change in corrections in the future?
I want the public and policymakers to know that rehabilitation can be a successful alternative to placing people in prison. Providing individuals with specialized treatment and opportunities can be beneficial and in the long run, be more productive and cost-efficient in comparison to incarceration. I hope that corrections will start to change towards rehabilitation. Placing more funding into rehabilitation and mental health treatment and using these facilities over prison sentences for those that would benefit. And also stop giving mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses. Personally, I feel violent offenders should not receive prison sentences at all.
Overall, what did you think of this class? Would you recommend it to other students? Why or why not?
I really really enjoyed this class! I would definitely recommend this class to other criminal justice students. I learned so much valuable information throughout this class that related to current issues in the criminal justice system. I was shown different perspectives throughout this course that make you think about corrections and how they should be changed and improved. Every time I worked through a module I learned something new and the activities were engaging and made me think. Even though this was an online class I could feel the engagement and the excitement of Dr. B. I can feel that she wanted me to learn and do my best and while watching her lectures I could tell she was passionate and excited about the material which always makes it more fun to learn. Although this was only a four-week course I feel like I learned as much if not more than I would during a whole semester.