The sentencing of drug offenses

Topic- Sentencing of drug offenses of all kinds


Section 1: Disproportionate Minority Representation

After including an introduction paragraph, students will discuss in an informational essay the disproportionate minority contact at one of the major criminal justice decisions- making points. Students will review and present current data (from federal and/or state sources) on at least two (2) minorities, as defined in the Supplemental Instructions, as it applies to their papers focus. Data must include information that discusses how this represents a disproportion. Information can include student generated data charts with explanations.

Decision Making Points: (students are to select ONE)

Section 2: Impact of Discretion on Disproportionate Minority Representation

At each of these decision- making points, discretion is used by the criminal justice professionals (police officers, judges, prosecutors, etc.). Students will summarize two possible reasons (one paragraph each) that discretion at these points may have led to the disproportionate minority contact. Students may want to explore this discretion through the lens of systemic racism, personal bias, etc. that is supported by scholarly research.

Section 3: Policies/Programs that Reduce Disproportionate Minority Representation

Students will then summarize information on two current practices/policies at the federal, state, or local level that is addressing the disproportionate minority contact. After summarizing the above-information, students are expected to assess the efficacy of the present policies and practices and provide their rationale for deeming them ineffective/effective.

Section 4: Predictions That May Reduce Disproportionate Minority Representation

Before concluding the essay, students will discuss ideas for at least two practices/policies that they predict would decrease disproportionate representation of minorities in the research. Each of these paragraphs must explore why their programs and/or practices would decrease the disproportionate minority contact.

Grading: Students will be graded on the completeness of the assignment as well as the quality and thoroughness of their paper. Failure to follow instructions can result in point deductions.

NOTE: By providing the required items students can achieve a C grade on this assignment. Students wanting to earn a higher grade will need to provide substantive additional details and analysis. They can provide notably extra detail on the above information areas (please see the Rubric).

ASSIGNMENT: The criminal justice system in the United States is made up of three major components: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. As a criminal contact/case progresses through these stages, discretionary decisions are made that impact the outcome and/or progression of the contact/case. Students will select one of the major aspects within these stages (arrest, bail, sentencing, and incarceration) and discuss the current discretionary practices with a focus on disproportionate minority contact. This discussion will occur through a written essay.

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to research issues of inequality in the justice system in a critical manner, explore how they are currently being addressed, and to propose additional solutions that may remedy the issue.

Audience: The audience of this project is an educated adult who is an outsider to the field of criminal justice; students need to make sure their answers are self-explanatory and do not require additional clarification.

Directions: See following assignment information and Supplemental Instructions for details.


The document, submitted to SafeAssign, must be type-written, double-spaced, one-inch margins, and 12-point font. There is NO page minimum; rather students should be concerned with their comprehensive/exhaustive coverage of the topic area.
Students must use APA format for citations and references; students must cite sources in the body of the report (in-text citations) and include a list of sources at the end of the report (reference page).
Resource material must be from sources that have been evaluated by students for credibility. At a minimum, students will need: Utilize the Criminal Justice 101 Research Assignment Library Guide to locate appropriate sources.
1 (one) credible source from a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal article,
1 (one) source from a credible government/professional organization
Additional resource material is encouraged
Students will also want to review the CCBC Library Guide created for this assignment. The library guide can be found at:

This assignment will account for at least 10% of the total course grade.
See attached rubric for details about how your submission will be graded
The assignment will be completed in several graded stages, including:

Identify focus of research and submit in Bb by October 07 (5 points)
Detailed outline due to Bb by October 28 (10 points)
Rough Draft paper submit to SafeAssign in Bb by November 25 (10 points)
Final Paper submitted to SafeAssign in Bb on December 09 (75 points)

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