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CJ 480 California Corrections System

Prerequisites: Upper division standing, CJ 300, or consent of instructor.

Description: Development of California's correctional system, among the ten largest in the world. Critical junctures, including the introduction of the convict labor system, good time, progressive penology, and the prison building boom.

Units: 3

Class Time: Tuesday and Thursday 6:00 -9:00Instructor:   Daniel MacallairCampus Office: HSS 236Campus Office Hours: . Tuesday &Thursday 5:00 – 6:00


Course Description

This course will cover the history and development of the worlds eight largest correctional system. Topics examined will include the early history of California’s correctional system, including the impact of the gold rush and the establishment of San Quentin and Folsom State prisons in the mid 1800s. The course will explore the state’s first convict labor system and the introduction of good time in 1864 as an early form of parole. The course will further explore the development of progressive penology pioneered in California during the early and mid 20th century before giving way to the conservative backlash in the last quarter of the 20th century. The course will take a close look at the political environment that led to the prison boom of the 1980s and 1990s including a critical assessment of the interest groups that propelled this movement. Finally, the class will analyze the politics of incarceration in the contemporary political culture and the implications for future corrections policy.

Course Format

The primary instructional method is lecture and discussion. Lectures and discussions are supplemented with videos and guest lectures. Students are expected to read and consider assigned readings prior to each class. Students are strongly encouraged to express their views.

Required Reading

The following are required class readings:

Schedule of Readings

The last section of this syllabus contains the reading assignments and topics by date. Please read the assigned materials prior to the class.


Grades are based on three objective exams that must be taken on the day they are administered. Failure to take an exam on the scheduled day will result in an F grade.

Instructor office hours are detailed above.  Additional times can be arranged by appointment.

Final Exam

According to Academic Senate policy F76-12 a time period is set aside at the end of each semester for a formal examination period. All classes are expected to meet during the final examination period whether an examination is given or not. The final examination schedule is published each semester in the Class Schedule.


Schedule of Readings

6/23 Overview and course introduction Irwin Chap. 2… Continue


1. Development of the penitentiary system 2. Development of San Quentin 3. The Building… Continue

    Writing Project

    OPTIONAL EXTRA CREDIT WRITING PROJECT PLEASE SUBMIT BY JULY 30 You are to write a 1500-2000 … Continue

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