CRIMINAL JUSTICE

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.  

 

Criminal Justice in Historical Context

How has Criminal Justice changed throughout our history? Learn More >

Criminal Justice in Current Context

What is current Criminal Justice policy? Learn More >

Criminal Justice: Deliberating Priorities

Available for Middle & High School

How, if at all, should the United States reform its criminal justice system? Learn More >

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.

 

Police Reform Deliberation

Available for Middle & High School

What policies, if any, are needed to reform police practices? Learn More >

The Death Penalty

Available for Middle & High School

What policies, if any, are needed to reform police practices? Learn More >

Police Accountability

Available for Middle & High School

Should the federal government pass legislation to hold law enforcement agencies more accountable? Learn More >

Defunding the Police

Available for Middle & High School

Should governments transfer some or all of police department funding to other public services? Learn More >

Drug Decriminalization

Should state governments pass legislation to decriminalize the use of all drugs? Learn More >

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.

 

The War on Drugs

Congressmen Burgess Owens (R-UT) & Bobby Scott (D-VA)
February 24, 2021

Sentencing Reform

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) & former Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA)
February 26, 2021

Police Reform

Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) & Pete Stauber (R-MN)
February 15, 2021

Lesson Plans

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.

 

Additional & Archived Resources on Criminal Justice

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Historic Second Impeachment, Part Two: Questions of Crime and Punishment

Post | February 8, 2021

This week, the Senate commences an historic second trial of former President Donald Trump, stemming from his actions pertaining to the January 6 Capitol riot.1 Against a backdrop of heightened security, threats made against members of Congress,2 and tensions within the Republican Party,3 senators must determine President Trump’s innocence or guilt, as well as what […]


Historic Second Impeachment, Part One: Questions of Constitutionality and Unity

Post | February 3, 2021

Last week, the House of Representatives delivered an article of impeachment to the Senate, accusing former President Donald Trump of inciting violence against the U.S. government on the basis of his actions relating to the January 6 storming of the Capitol.1 Already the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, President Trump will also become […]


Fallout and Consequences, Part Two: Free Speech and Censorship

Post | January 15, 2021

The fallout continues to mount from the January 6 attack on the Capitol. In previous blog posts, we offered a collection of resources and articles and explored the question of accountability for elected officials. In this post, we examine a thorny issue that is also emerging as institutions respond to riots: the power of private […]


Fallout and Consequences, Part One: Who is Accountable?

Post | January 13, 2021

The events at the Capitol on January 6 are forcing voters and elected officials to face some challenging questions. In a previous blog post, we provided some resources to help you begin to address some of these questions; in an upcoming post, we will examine other questions related to free speech. In this post, we […]


Insurrection at the Capitol

Post | January 8, 2021

On January 6, 2021, Congress convened to certify the Electoral College results of the 2020 presidential election and to affirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Although there has been no evidence of voter fraud, a group of Republican legislators planned to object to the certification process, saying they wanted Congress first to create an […]


Summer Round-Up #3: Protests, Police Reform, and Civil Unrest

Post | September 9, 2020

This summer has been more dramatic and more tumultuous than any other in recent memory. To help teachers and students explore key issues from this summer, we have done a series of summer round-up articles including developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our review of the 2020 campaigns and conventions. In our third and […]


George Floyd

Protests, Riots, Justice, and the Rule of Law

Post | June 4, 2020

On Monday, May 25, a Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes.1 The next day, video of the killing went viral; by the end of the day, large groups had begun protesting in Minneapolis. In the week since, protests have spread to many major […]


Prison and Corona Virus

Coronavirus, Prisons, and Detention Centers

Post | March 24, 2020

In the face of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, government officials and medical experts are calling on people all over the world to practice social distancing.1 In general, this means canceling events and gatherings, avoiding large groups and crowds, and, when possible, staying home. Many people are working from home,2 schools have closed or moved online,3 and […]


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