Mass media Crime and Justice. Requirements and Overview of the Research Paper Your capstone research paper will be written as a policy report. It must be between 4,000 words and 5,000 words in length (and this includes the title page and the reference pages). Your research paper/policy report needs to be double-spaced with 1.0-inch margins and using a 12-point Times New Roman font. Your policy report must be based entirely on published research (and not your opinion or non-scholarly opinions). For this project, you will examine policies through a critical, social-scientific, empirical lens, and producing an action-oriented policy report targeting policymakers and agency executives (e.g., chiefs of police). It will serve the purpose of informing policymakers and agency executives on what they can do to improve on what scholars and many people in communities of color call the ‘criminal injustice system.’ Thus, your policy report will include several in-texts cites referencing journal articles, books, book chapters, and reports from reputable agencies such as the Vera Institute, the Prison Policy Initiative, the Sentencing Project, and government agencies, such as the Department of Justice. To illustrate how you might proceed: Existing drug policy still adheres to the tenets of the “war on drugs” and, as such, is more oriented toward enforcement than toward prevention and treatment. Enforcement-based strategies are, by themselves, limited in their overall effectiveness. Drug courts have become significant players in the fight against drugs, but enforcement remains the focal point of policy efforts. Racial disparities in prison populations have been attributed to the war on drugs and accompanying determinant sentencing structures. Yet, policymakers have been reluctant to alter sentencing schemes or legislation that flatly prohibits sale, possession, and use of drugs. If this were your focus (or topic of investigation), you would review the evidence about the effectiveness of enforcement-based and treatment-based efforts, as well as the relative cost-effectiveness of each and recommend to a policymaking audience what strategies, practices, and programs should be adopted. A final note, you need to view “effectiveness” in broad terms that include issues of justice, fairness, and what are known as “collateral consequences,” and not just in terms of reducing or preventing crime.
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