Instructor: Dr. Chad Trulson Office: 273h chilton Hall Phone

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CJUS 3400 (Online)

Correctional Systems

Summer 2013
Instructor: Dr. Chad Trulson

Office: 273H Chilton Hall

Phone: (940) 565-2758


Office Hours: Tuesday 8-9:15 am
For questions, please first email the Course Assistant, Ms. Gina Gibbs at
Required Main Text
Delisi, M. & Conis, P. (2012, 2nd Edition). American Corrections: Theory, Research, Policy, and Practice. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Required Supplemental Text(s)
Conover, T. (2000). Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing. New York: Random House.
Oshinsky, D. (1996). Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. New York: Free Press.
Trulson, C. & Marquart, J. (2009). First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System. Texas: University of Texas Press.
Note: All three books are required for this course and will be fair game for tests and other graded material. Below you will note that one of the three books must be chosen to write a reflection paper. See below under “Reflection Papers.”
Students will also be responsible for additional reading, video links, and other material that will be posted on Blackboard. Students are responsible for examining all assigned material. Such material will be fair game in the course, and in particular, for examinations.
Please make sure to have your official UNT email forwarded to your preferred email address (if different) to receive important updates, changes, announcements, class cancellations (if applicable), and generally, so I can reach you if necessary.
Before you email Ms. Gibbs or myself with a question, make sure to review this syllabus and the FAQ document posted on Blackboard. Most questions are answered in these documents.
The announcement board in Blackboard, and email, will be used for primary communication to the class as a whole. I advise you check the announcements section frequently.
Important: It is your responsibility to utilize a computer system that works and is compatible with the UNT online system/Blackboard Learn. This is especially critical during examination times. I would recommend that you take your exams on the UNT campus if possible. If that is not possible, I would recommend you avoid waiting until the last minute to take your exam in case problems arise. Do not take your exams on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
“Corrections” is a broad term that encompasses historical and contemporary methods of “dealing” with lawbreakers in society. This course examines the different ways of “correcting” people through time—from torture to corporal and capital punishments to penitentiaries and community-based programs. A major focus of this course will be on the development and evolution of the penitentiary in America. This course will also focus on the justification for corrections—deterrence, incapacitation, punishment, rehabilitation, and reintegration and how those justifications have changed throughout history. This course will also examine “special populations” within the American correctional system: women, juveniles, and the serious and violent offender to name a few. Finally, this course will examine a number of issues surrounding the administration and management of correctional agencies, such as: prisoner violence, inmate subcultures, super-maximum imprisonment, court intervention and correctional legal issues, gangs, sexual assault, and overcrowding.
The primary goal of this course is that students come to understand the evolution of the American correctional system, in particular, prison organizations and how they function in the larger criminal justice system.
At the completion of this course, students should:

  • Understand the evolution of punishment around the world and in America.

  • Understand corrections before the “discovery” of the penitentiary.

  • Have an understanding of the regional differences in American corrections throughout history.

  • Be able to discuss the philosophy and goals of corrections, which are sometimes competing.

  • Have an understanding of the differences between jails and prisons and the different clientele held in each.

  • Have an understanding of the legal evolution of correctional systems, including the role of the federal courts in changing conditions in prisons.

  • Have an understanding of several key American penitentiaries in the state and federal prison systems.

  • Be able to discuss the differences between male and female incarceration experiences.

  • Have an understanding of the administration of prison organizations, including but not limited to staffing, security, inmate management, inmate programs, and health care.

  • Have an understanding of the various special populations that reside within correctional settings, and how their incarceration experience differs from “regular” prisoners and the challenges they create for correctional organizations.

  • Be able to discuss population trends in incarceration over time, influences on correctional populations, and the demographic composition of today’s prisons.

  • Have an understanding of why America is one of the leaders in incarceration worldwide, and what has contributed to this position.

  • Have an understanding of the incarceration experience, and what inmates face when they are incarcerated.

  • Have an understanding of the issues that prisoners face once they are released from incarceration.

There are a total of 200 points that can be earned in this class. The grading policy along with other class requirements is presented below.
Grading Scale:
180-200 points= A

160-179 points= B

140-159 points= C

120-139 points= D

Below 120 points= F
Tests (160 points total):
Each student will be required to take three exams in this course for a total of 160 points (two exams will be 50 points each and the remaining exam will be 60 points). The tests will/may consist of any combination of multiple choice, true-false, essays, short answer, or fill-in-the-blank. Each test will cover all module note material, assigned material in the classroom text(s), and other assigned reading material. Tests may also cover video material. No test is comprehensive and will include only material assigned up until the time of the test.
Reflection Papers (30 points total)
Each student will be required to write one 30-point “reflection” paper on one of the supplemental texts required in this course (First Available Cell, Worse than Slavery, and Newjack). Students are required to reflect upon what they learned and provide their thoughts and opinions on the information in the chosen book. NOTE: Students may choose which book they want to use for their reflection paper. However, students must read all of the assigned books regardless of which book was chosen for the reflection paper. Material in all books will be fair game for tests or other graded class material.
A reflection paper is not meant to be a regurgitation of information presented in the book. Do not provide me with a review of the book’s content. Rather, provide your own thoughts, opinions, and unique insight from the information learned in your reading—in short, your reaction to the information.
Your reflection paper must be at least 4 pages in length (or roughly 1600-2000 words). It should be focused and concise, clearly setting out your organized reactions to the reading. It should be well-organized by utilizing descriptive headings to organize your paper. Failure to reflect on the material and provide thoughts and opinions on the substantive content in the book will result in loss of points. Point loss may also result from failing to adhere to the requirements and for papers with grammatical, spelling, and organizational issues.

Submitting reflection papers: To submit your chosen reflection paper, select the “CJUS 3400 Reflection Papers” folder in the Content section. Select the appropriate reflection paper assignment. Click the link at the bottom of the assignment description that is labeled with the name of the assignment. For example, the link for the first reflection paper (if you choose to utilize this as your sole reflection paper) is called, “Reflection Paper #1: First Available Cell.” This link will take you to the submission area. Attach your paper as a word document. Include your name and page number of each page of the document. DO NOT copy and paste your paper into the text box. It must be submitted as an attachment. Save your paper as your name and the name of the corresponding text to your desktop in order to attach the document. Click submit once it is attached.

Late papers will not be accepted. Do not submit more than one reflection paper.

Please note “last day to submit” your chosen paper at the end of this syllabus.
Blackboard Discussions/Assignments/Activities (10 points total)
Each student will be required to respond to 5 Blackboard discussions/assignments/activities throughout the course of the semester. Blackboard discussions will focus on topics within modules covered throughout the semester.
Each Blackboard discussion is worth 2 points, for a total of 10 points towards your final grade. Writing portions of the Blackboard discussions should be roughly 2-3 paragraphs long. Students are encouraged to reply to other student postings on a particular topic (responding appropriately, of course).
Lackadaisical discussions will result in a loss of points for Blackboard discussions.
Please note “last day to submit” days at the end of this syllabus.
There are no make-up tests/quizzes/assignments in this class with the exception of authorized absences according to University policies prescribing authorized absences in certain situations. I reserve the right to consider extreme circumstances and modify this rule. Those in athletics, those who are absent for religious holidays, and/or those involved in other school supported activities that require being absent from class will be allowed make up if proper procedures are followed in requesting an excused absence. I must have written documentation in advance that you will be away from class for the absence to be excused (e.g., traveling for a basketball game).
There is absolutely no make-up for assignments turned in late unless authorized as a result of university related absence or through prior consultation and approval by myself. Assignments as a result of authorized absences must be turned in within 3 days of returning from the authorized absence.
Note: I am reasonable, so if you must miss an assignment for an unavoidable and “legitimate” circumstance, please let me know as soon as possible so as to get you back on track. Communication is the key.
Authorized Absences: Absences are authorized only in cases of participation in school sponsored activities and/or religious holidays. For an excused absence due to a school sponsored activity, students must be approved in advance by the department chair and academic dean. Within three days after the absence, students must obtain authorized absence cards from the Dean of Students for presentation to instructor. Students who wish to request an excused absence for religious holidays can do so and will be excused from class as long as they make a request within the required time frame set by the University (see the most recent undergraduate catalog). Notification must be in writing so that I may have it for my records. You must arrange to make up any work missed during the excused religious absence or school sponsored activity.
Section V of the “Code of Student Conduct and Discipline” of the policies of the University of North Texas regarding cheating and plagiarism will be enforced in accordance with University policy (Please review the University Policies in the most recent undergraduate catalog).
Students with a certified disability may contact me at any time regarding accommodations. The Department of Criminal Justice complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students. Students who have established a file containing documentation of a disability must present a written accommodation request from the Office of Disability Accommodation to the instructor. Any accommodations supported by the Office of Disability Accommodations will be complied with immediately.
SETE PARTICIPATION (Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness)
The Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness (SETE) is a requirement for all organized classes at UNT. This short survey will be made available to you at the end of the semester, providing you a chance to comment on how this class is taught.  I am very interested in the feedback I get from students, as I work to continually improve my teaching. I consider the SETE to be an important part of your participation in this class.

To be successful at learning and understanding the material in this class, it is essential that you read and complete the assigned material and engage in thoughtful online discussions. Your active participation, along with your willingness to engage in thoughtful discussions regarding correctional systems will be taken into account at all times during the semester.
An online classroom, at least during times of online discussion, is a place to express ideas, opinions, and engage in thoughtful discussions. Students will respect the views and opinions of others at all times or their status in the course will be examined. In sum, simply be appropriate during online interactions. Each student brings unique insight and perspectives, and that can make for a very interesting and lively discussion forum, but just please be appropriate and respectful of others. Please review the undergraduate catalog concerning conduct which adversely affects the university community.
The material posted online is my personal intellectual property or that of the University of North Texas. You may not utilize the material for other than class purposes.
I reserve the right and have the discretion to change this syllabus. While every effort will be made to follow this syllabus as closely as possible, it is sometimes the case that the syllabus must be modified. In the case that the syllabus needs to be adjusted, I will announce such adjustments in class. I will make every effort to ensure that any changes to the syllabus benefit the class as a whole. It is the student’s responsibility to check announcements so that any and all syllabus changes are documented. Failure to obtain syllabus changes because of failure to check and read announcements does not constitute a defense against missed assignments, test dates, and other applicable changes.





Module 1

Corrections and Its Place in the CJ System
**Module opens June 3, 2013

Chapter 1

Module 2

The Philosophy and History of Corrections
**Module opens June 4, 2013

Chapter 2

Module 3

The Law and Corrections
**Module opens June 5, 2013

Chapter 3


Watch “Writ Writer” about Fred Arispe Cruz, an “inmate lawyer” or writ writer in Texas Prisons in the 1960s.

Module 4

Regional Variations: Southern Prisons, Slavery, and Race
**Module opens June 10, 2013

Lecture Notes Only

Reflection Paper

The Texas Experience in Corrections
Submit Reflection Paper #1 on First Available Cell to Blackboard if you chose this for your book
**Submission opens June 6, 2013
**Last day submit is June 13, 2013

Have Read “First Available Cell”
Submit Reflection Paper #1 on First Available Cell to Blackboard if you chose this for your book


Watch “Afro-American Worksongs in a Texas Prison” by Bruce Jackson on Texas Prisoners at the Ellis Prison Farm in the 1960s
Video links continuously open,122

Reflection Paper

The Mississippi Experience and Parchman Farm
Submit Reflection Paper #2 on Worse Than Slavery to Blackboard if you chose this for your book
**Submission opens June 10, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 17, 2013

Have Read “Worse Than Slavery”

Submit Reflection Paper #2 on Worse Than Slavery to Blackboard if you chose this for your book

Video Search

Search the Internet for “Parchman Farm Blues” with songs by Bukka White for a look at some images of Parchman Farm
Video links continuously open

Many of the best blues singers came out of southern prisons!

Video Search

For a video of interest on Southern Prisons, and an example today, search the Internet for “Angola Prison Farm” in Louisiana

Angola is perhaps one the last examples of what a true southern prison farm looked like pre-1970s.

Blackboard Discussion

Complete the Blackboard discussion on “Southern Prisons”

**Submission opens June 11, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 13, 2013

Test 1

Test 1
Test 1 covers chapters 1-3, First Available Cell and Worse Than Slavery, video materials and other assigned material to this point.
**Test opens June 12, 2013
**Last day to submit Test 1 is June 17, 2013

Test 1

Module 5

Pretrial Period and Jails
**Module opens June 12, 2013

Chapter 5

Video Search

Search youtube for “Lock Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island” and watch the various parts

An extremely insightful video, if not an extreme example of a jail.

Blackboard Discussion

Complete the Blackboard discussion on “Jails”
**Submission opens June 13, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 19, 2013

Module 6

Diversion, Pretrial Treatment, and Prevention
Intermediate Sanctions
**Module opens June 13, 2013

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Test 2

Test 2
Test 2 covers chapters 5-8 and additional material assigned since the material covered in Test 1.
**Test opens June 18, 2013
**Last day to submit Test 2 is June 24, 2013

Test 2

Module 7

Prisoners and Inmate Behavior
**Module opens on June 19, 2013

Chapter 9


Watch “Turned Out” via UNT Library Link
Video links continuously open


Watch “Prison Gangs” via National Geographic Website
Video links continuously open

Video Search

Search the Internet (or Netflix if you have a subscription) for “Gladiator Days: Anatomy of a Prison Murder”

This is a video you do not want to miss!! Youtube has this video in various parts. After viewing the video, you may want to search the Internet for current information on Troy Kell.

Blackboard Discussion

Complete the Blackboard Discussion on “Inmate Behavior”
**Submission opens June 20, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 25, 2013

Module 8

Prison Organization, Management, and Programs
**Module opens June 21, 2013

Chapter 10


Watch “Prison Contraband” via Vanguard website
Video links continuously open


Watch “Tools of Control” via National Geographic Website
Video links continuously open

Blackboard Discussion

Complete the Blackboard Discussion on “Prison Control”
**Submission opens June 21, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 25, 2013

Reflection Paper

Life as a Correctional Officer
Submit Reflection Paper #3 on Newjack to Blackboard if you chose this for your book
**Submission opens June 21, 2013
**Last day to submit paper is June 27, 2013

Have Read “Newjack”
Submit Reflection Paper #3 on Newjack to Blackboard if you chose this for your book

Module 9


**Module opens June 22, 2013

Chapter 11


Watch “Back on the Streets” on the National Geographic Website
Video links continuously open

Module 10


**Module opens June 23, 2013

Chapter 12

Blackboard Discussion

Complete the Blackboard Discussion on “Parole and Reentry”
**Submission opens June 24, 2013
**Last day to submit is June 27, 2013

Test 3

Test 3
Test 3 covers chapters 9-12, Newjack, video material, and other assigned material covered since Test 2.
**Submission open June 25, 2013
**Last day to submit Test 3 July 3, 2013

Test 3

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