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Race, Criminal Justice, and the Constitution

Many recent headlines have been full of news from around the country about racial disparities in the criminal justice system. This one-day course explores some of the major constitutional issues, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, that are involved in the administration of criminal justice, and it examines how race pervades those issues. In what ways, for example, do mass incarceration and prison crowding, which disproportionately affect people of color, violate inmates’ constitutional rights against cruel and inhuman punishment? Does the racial composition of a jury impact a defendant’s right to a fair trial? We also look at issues like racial profiling, deadly force, capital punishment, the war on drugs, and felon disenfranchisement. Using historical, political, and sociological material for context, we explore the legal development of America’s racially disparate criminal justice regime, with a focus on the role of the Supreme Court. Only by probing how issues of race and criminal justice intersect with the Constitution can we fully understand the “New Jim Crow.”

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An overview of constitutional issues that impact criminal justice
  • An understanding of the role of race in the criminal justice system

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in-between
  • The curious and creative
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.