This course will focus on the writings of some of the most influential scholars in sociology, legal philosophy and political theory who have contributed to the creation of ideal or normative views of legal punishment and exposing the harsh realities of how non-violent and violent criminals are actually punished.
The first half of the course will be reading and discussing selections from the works of some of the major historical and contemporary thinkers regarding the definition, justification and purpose of punishment. This is the centuries old debate between the utilitarians/consequentialists and the retributivists who have proposed radically different answers to these questions. The second half of the course will focus on the writings of a contemporary sociologist who has exposed the inequalities in the current system of punishment in America and a professor of law and public policy who has documented the consequences of the prevailing American crime control politics. More specifically, both of these works will direct the class discussions to how crime control policy makers have used knee jerk rhetoric and moral panics to create laws and sentencing policies resulting in racial disparities, the destruction of families and communities, harsh prison sentences for non-violent offenders and mass incarceration.
Lawrence Jablecki, Ph.D., is a part-time lecturer in sociology at Rice University, where he teaches courses on criminology, the criminal justice system and the theory and practice of punishment. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he teaches humanities courses to prison inmates. Dr. Jablecki has written numerous articles in the fields of criminology and philosophy that have been published in professional journals plus articles for most of the major newspapers in Texas. Several of his articles have been reprinted in criminal justice textbooks. Dr. Jablecki was also director of the Brazoria County Adult Probation Department for 18 years. He holds a doctorate in philosophy from Manchester University in Manchester, England.
Term: Fall 2018
Start Date: Sept. 04, 2018
End Date: Nov. 13, 2018
Schedule: 6:15 – 9:30 p.m.
Location: Rice campus
Note: This course is part of the Graduate Liberal Studies program. For more information on how to apply, click ADMISSIONS below.