Here are some areas that may be stressed on the exam.

1.  Define corrections.

2.  Identify the modern American Corrections System’s two primary goals.

3.  What are the outside stresses on the system?


  • Have a general knowledge of the dominant philosophies of corrections by century.
  • Know about the life and work of the three key players in the Age of Reason and Correctional Reform:
    • Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)
    • Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
    • John Howard (1726-1790)
  • Benjamin Rush was very influential in the U.S.. Know why.

5.  Know the history of and difference between the various models in the history of corrections in the U.S: colonial, penitentiary, congregate system, reformatory, progressive, medical, community, crime control. Be able to define the characteristics of these models, identify a significant point in the development of each, and identify the philosophies upon which they were based. Know the importance of Elmira.

6.  Understand the four goals of modern sanctions, and tie these goals to the sanctions available.

7.  Be able to describe the offender typologies listed in your text, and relate these typologies to examples in your readings.

8.  Understand the ways offenders are classified. How is this affected by public opinion?

9.  How are jails different from prisons?

10.  What types of people are in jail?

11.  What two roles do probation officers play?

12.  How do we make probation fit the individual offender?

13.  What is a continuum of sanctions? What types of sanctions are involved, how do we decide who gets which sanction(s)?

14. Describe the change in one of the following characteristics (age, sex, or race/ ethnicity) of Federal and State Prison Inmates during the 1990s. How has this change affected prison culture?

15. Discuss the differences and similarities between the Telephone Pole Prison Design and the Campus Style Prison Design. Include a discussion of which level (maximum, medium, or minimum security) inmates are most likely to be found in each type of prison and why.

16. Sykes argues that prison culture is indigenous while Schrag, Irwin, and Cressey all believe that it is imported. Give one convincing example for each side of this argument.

17. Violence is endemic in the prison culture; your text cites a prisoner who claims that every prisoner must kill someone, escape, or submit. Your text also mentions three characteristics that influence the level of violence: age, attitudes, and race. Explain the relationship between each of these characteristics and prison violence.

18. Who was Mary Belle Harris? Describe her life and work.

19. Women prisoners may fall into three roles: squares, those who are in the life, and those who are cool. How do these roles relate to those found in male institutions?

20. Our text states that women develop a social network in prison which is much more intensive than men’s. Compare one aspect of prison life for men and women. Relate this comparison to the differences in the social networks discussed by your text.

21. Our text discusses remunerative power, normative power, and coercive power. Relate two of these to the prison culture, and give an example of when they would be effective.

22. How does the power structure of the prison make correctional officers similar to inmates? How does it make them different?

23. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. Give an example of one prison procedure related to this amendment that has been established as constitutional, and one that has been established as unconstitutional.

24. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Why is the issue of overcrowding in prisons (which is related to this amendment) so costly and controversial? How does this relate to the three principles established by Hutto v. Finney (1978)?

25. Discuss the outside source (NOT our texts) that you found on prisoners’ rights. What information did you find? Do the First (freedom of speech and religion), Fourth, Eighth, or Fourteenth (due process and equal protection) Amendments apply?

Questions 26-28 focus on parole. In addition to our texts, you may want to reference documents available from the site that refer to parolees, and probation and parole violators.

26. Describe the parole system and its origins. What is the difference between discretionary release, mandatory release, and expiration release? Which is most popular now? Has this always been the case? Who originated the concept of parole, and how did it become popular in the United States? When did it become less popular, and why?

27. Describe the individuals involved in the process of granting parole and the experience of being on parole. Who is on the parole board? What are their qualifications? What are they looking for in a potential parolee? (How do they make their decisions?) What is the parole officer’s role, and how can it be most effective?

28. Describe parole from the offender’s point of view. What are conditions of parole like? How successful are parolees likely to be? How do we measure parolee’s "success", and how does this affect our perceptions of parole? What are the similarities and differences between probation and parole violators?

Questions 29 and 30 ask you to discuss incarceration. You should refer to our texts as well as the site and the Correctional Populations in the United States, 1995 and Prisoners in 1998 documents found there.

29. Identify trends in incarceration in the United States, and discuss the influences on these trends. Present evidence for each influence, then tell me which you believe is the strongest influence, and why.

30. Discuss societal reaction to recent changes in incarceration levels. Which reactions are identified by our texts? How does each reaction affect us? Which reaction do you feel is most appropriate, and why? Please substantiate this position with evidence from our texts or the government documents referenced above.

For question 31, please  reference the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics (

31. Discuss racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. What does it mean, how do we know it is present, and what are the possible causes of disproportionality? What evidence do we have to support the existence of racial disproportionality? What evidence do we have that indicates the cause of this disproportionality? What are the implications of each of the possible explanations for racial disproportionality? In other words, if we establish a specific cause of disproportionality, what can be done to remedy this imbalance? How do we know if the criminal justice system is racist?

32. Discuss the history and current state of capital punishment in the United States. In this discussion, include information on the number of executions, the method(s) of execution, and political and legal influences on capital punishment. ( has a capital punishment document with lots of information.)

33. Discuss the individuals involved in capital punishment: the offender, those who are responsible for the decision to execute, and those who conduct the execution. Use our study questions to guide your discussion, but be creative, and incorporate several of our resources on this topic into your discussion.

34. Discuss community control. How do we decide what level of community control is appropriate? How much privacy are we willing to sacrifice for safety? (This has been an issue since the time Beccaria was writing, and is still being debated.) Include your general discussion, and select one method of community control as an example to support your argument.

NOTE: You may use your books and notes for the exam, but it will be timed, so if you don't know the material ahead of time you are unlikely to do well on the exam.