Background and Context
These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Criminal Justice and make connections between historical events, current conversations, and current policy proposals surrounding the issue. This section includes all of the context and content previously included in Close Up’s public policy chapters.
Current Issue Debates
Current Issue Debates are framed by a central question and followed by historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions to facilitate deliberation in the classroom.
Videos from Policy Makers
Brought to you by ASP HOMEROOM, through a collaboration between Close Up Foundation and A Starting Point, these supplemental videos are an introduction to policy areas that provide an opportunity for students to hear different perspectives directly from lawmakers.
These ready-to-use lesson plans can be utilized in conjunction with any of our resources to enhance the quality of student discourse in the classroom. Our supplemental Civic Readiness Guide provides a recommended lesson plan sequence for using our Current Issues resources.
Post | July 1, 2023
In Part 1 of this series, we saw that more severe approaches to school discipline—including “zero-tolerance” policies—have been statistically linked to higher rates of incarceration, especially among Black boys. This is seen as a key contributor to mass incarceration, which Part 2 showed has grown substantially since the final decades of the 20th century. In […]
Post | June 22, 2023
Should We Decarcerate? Since the start of the War on Drugs, the United States has adopted and enforced policies that have led to mass incarceration, with nearly half of all incarcerations due to drug crimes.1 According to the Prison Policy Initiative, the rate of incarceration in the United States outpaces every other nation on earth, […]
Post | June 14, 2023
What Do People Mean When They Talk About the School-to-Prison Pipeline? For decades, many researchers who study the public education system have discussed the impact of the “school-to-prison pipeline”: escalating punishments, primarily in “high-poverty, high-minority schools,” intended to deter unwanted student behaviors leading to missed class time, a lost sense of belonging within the school, […]
Post | March 8, 2023
On February 18, the Carter Center released a statement saying that former President Jimmy Carter had opted to spend “his remaining time at home” following a number of hospital stays and declining health.1 News of the 98-year-old former president’s condition has brought an outpouring of support and renewed attention to his life and legacy as […]
Post | February 22, 2023
Following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a call by activists to “defund the police” achieved national attention. Supporters of defunding the police have argued that—at least some of—the billions of dollars spent on policing each year could be better used by investing in educational, recreational, and mental health […]
Post | February 1, 2023
The handling of sensitive information has become a headline-grabbing issue in recent months owed to the discovery of classified documents at the homes and offices of former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden, and former Vice President Mike Pence. The political consequences of any judgment of wrongdoing on behalf of former President Trump, President Biden, […]
Post | May 26, 2022
On Saturday, May 14, a gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others in a supermarket serving a predominantly Black population in eastern Buffalo, New York. The shooter, an 18-year-old white man, traveled over 200 miles to the Tops Supermarket.1 He was the apparent author of an online screed that claims the attack was meant […]
Post | April 18, 2022
Early last week, President Joe Biden and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a final ruling to limit the manufacture and sale of so-called “ghost guns”—privately manufactured firearms without serial numbers.1 This final ruling is part of a series of measures announced by President Biden and the Department of Justice, dating back to last year, […]