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Criminal Justice System (CJS)

Criminology is the study of why people commit crimes. Criminal law is the construction of crimes and punishments. Criminal Justice is the

apparatus for enforcing the criminal law.

In the U.S., drug prohibitions are a fairly new crime construction (beginning within the 1900s). In recent years, the way in which drug

prohibition has been enforced by the Criminal Justice System (CJS), has come under considerable scrutiny and criticism; and, in the case

of marijuana, has undergone substantial change. Much of the criticism of drug prohibitions relates to its enforcement, where policy and

sentencing data suggests racialized influences.

Research the following two alleged drug ‘epidemics’:

The ‘crack epidemic’ of the 1980s and the current “opioid epidemic”

Based on the required class readings, including Module #6,:
1) Discuss whether the creation of laws prohibiting the use of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin reflect a Conflict or Consensus

theory of criminal law making. (Explain in detail, using the information in the readings to support your answer.) {Worth 4 points}

2) Discuss how John Rawl’s theory of justice and his tenets of the ’rule of law’ are observed or violated by the CJS’s comparative

response to these two ‘epidemics’. {Worth 4 points}

3) Discuss how the federal constitutional assurance of “equal protection of the laws”, a provision of the 14th Amendment, is observed or

violated by the CJS’s comparative response to these ‘epidemics’. {Worth 3 points}

4) Discuss in detail how classical criminologists would suggest controlling and preventing either epidemic and be sure to detail the

central premise and important elements of the theory you choose. Be thorough in both your explication and application of theory. {Worth 4


5) Select any two positivist theories we have studied and explain how the theories may account for individuals who may succumb to

substance abuse and addiction. Again, be thorough by first explaining the central premises and important elements of each of the theories.

{Worth 4 points}

6) If addiction is a disease, what are the implications for criminological theory and criminal justice policy? {Worth 3 points}

In order to receive full credit for your answers, they must reflect that you have read and understood the assigned readings in the course.
Reliance on your own opinions or sources other than the assigned readings, solely or primarily, will result in you receiving a grade that

is substantially less than a full credit score.

You may use up to seven pages to respond. (The syllabus indicates five).


Last Updated on March 5, 2018

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