Today you will weigh in on several key issues in the U.S. legal system. For each issue follow the steps below.
Step 1 – Develop 10 pros and 10 cons for the issue.
Step 2 – Take a stance on the issue. No straddling the fence. Pick a side.
Step 3 – Write an academic paragraph with evidence defending your position.
KEY ISSUE #1 – D.A.R.E. PROGRAM
D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) administers a school-based substance abuse, gang, and violence prevention program in 75% of US school districts and in 48 countries (as of 2013). Since 1983, 70,000 police officers have taught the D.A.R.E. program to over 200 million K-12 students worldwide – approximately 114 million in the United States alone.
Proponents say that D.A.R.E. has helped prevent drug use in elementary, middle, and high school students. They contend that D.A.R.E. improves social interaction between police officers, students, and schools, is the most prevalent substance abuse prevention program in the United States, and is popular with kids and parents.
Opponents say that dozens of peer-reviewed studies conclude the D.A.R.E. program is ineffective at preventing kids from using drugs. They contend that D.A.R.E. causes kids to ignore legitimate information about the relative harms of drugs, and that D.A.R.E. is even associated with increased drug use.
KEY ISSUE #2 – DEATH PENALTY
1,188 people were executed in the US from 1977 through 2009, primarily by means of lethal injection. Most death penalty cases involve the execution of murderers although capital punishment can also be applied for treason, espionage, and other crimes.
Proponents of the death penalty say it is an important tool for preserving law and order, deters crime, and costs less than life imprisonment. They argue that retribution or “an eye for an eye” honors the victim, helps console grieving families, and ensures that the perpetrators of heinous crimes never have an opportunity to cause future tragedy.
Opponents of capital punishment say it has no deterrent effect on crime, wrongly gives governments the power to take human life, and perpetuates social injustices by disproportionately targeting people of color (racist) and people who cannot afford good attorneys (classist). They say lifetime jail sentences are a more severe and less expensive punishment than death.
KEY ISSUE #3- FELON VOTING
An estimated 5.85 million people (as of 2010) with a felony conviction are barred from voting in elections – a condition known as disenfranchisement. Each state has its own laws on disenfranchisement. While Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison, nine other states permanently restrict certain felons from voting.
Proponents of felon re-enfranchisement say that felons who have paid their debt to society by completing their sentences should have all of their rights and privileges restored. They argue that efforts to block ex-felons from voting are unfair, undemocratic, and politically or racially motivated.
Opponents say felon voting restrictions are consistent with other voting limitations such as age, residency, sanity, etc., and other felon restrictions such as no guns for violent offenders and no sex offenders near schools. They say that convicted felons have demonstrated poor judgment and should not be trusted with a vote.
KEY ISSUE #4 – DRUG USE IN SPORTS
Proponents of accepting performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports argue that their harmful health effects have been overstated, that health risks are an athlete’s decision to make, that using drugs is part of the evolution of sports much like improved training techniques and new technologies, and that efforts to keep athletes from using PEDs are overzealous, unproductive, unfairly administered, and bound to fail.Opponents argue that PEDs are harmful and potentially fatal, and that athletes who use them are cheaters who gain an unfair advantage, violate the spirit of competition, and send the wrong message to children. They say PED users unfairly diminish the historic achievements of clean athletes, and that efforts to stop PED use in sports should remain strong.
Juvenile Justice Summative Project. Due – May 15th, 2015
Downloadable PDF Directions -> Summative Projects for Juvenile Justice