Doing Justice in Philadelphia 1925-2025: Deja Vu all Over Again

General Education - Structure and Conduct of US. Society

Criminal Justice

Spring 2008

R. B. Taylor

Main Course Page:

Instructor Home Page:







2/1 Upcoming dates of interest

 4th: This is the last day to drop a class. If you are still not sure about where the course is going, read your syllabus carefully. If you like what you see, hang on for the ride.
7th - Thursday - bring your 200-400 word expanded blog entry, typed, double spaced. Hopefully you will talk about your reaction to who and what is doing justice locally at the current time, and how it fits with what you know so far about the Black tool box

1/29 - Black readers guide posted - see Blackboard; class norms posted CLICK HERE

1/26/08 Ms. Henderson's office hours are Wed  1 - 3 GH 560. She is in the menotoring center, same floor, Tues 10-12


Official Course Title Doing Justice - Honors
Course Number (new/old) 0953 / 0060
Section 001
CRN  087440
Instructor R. B. Taylor
Time & Place Tuesday, Thursday, 1:10 - 2:30, 306 1300 Cecil B. Moore
Instructor Office 536-537 Gladfelter Hall
Office Hours Thursday 3:00 - 5:00 or by appointment.
If this time does not work and you need to see me, please call and we can set up an appointment any time. Further, for times other than scheduled office hours, I have a "you can hide but you can't run open and closed door" office policy. This means that outside of posted office hours (a) if my office door is open feel free to c'mon in and (b) If my door is closed and I am here do not hesitate to knock; I am happy to speak with you if I am not under a raging deadline. If I am under a raging deadline, I hope you will understand.
Contact 215.204.7169 (v); 610.446.9023 (fax). You also can ring 1-7918 and ask Ms. Salerno if we need to chat and the phone is not being picked up.
Current Temple University Syllabus policy also requires that a current Temple e-mail address be listed. Here it is: BUT PLEASE DO NOT USE IT
Teaching Assistant Ms. Jaime Henderson
Office Hours Office hours: Wed 1-3 Gladfelter 560
Contact email:

What is this Course About?

This course is about justice agencies. It asks: How do they act? And why? It approaches these questions using a particular socio-legal framework developed by a sociologist, Donald Black. His framework will provide you with a conceptual toolbox containing four tools: a vertical dimension, a horizontal dimension, an organizational dimension, and the interplay between informal social control and and legal control.

This course asks these questions primarily in the context of justice agencies primarily in and around Philadelphia, sometimes set in a national context with broader readings. The course will examine prohibition in and around Philadelphia, responses to crime and related problems more broadly, police corruption, responses to radical groups,  issues of prisons and prisoners, sentencing, and the broader issue of the rise of the law and order agenda.

The course begins by examining the premier law and order concern in Philadelphia in the mid-1920s: bootlegging and associated violence, and Prohibition violations and associated violence. It ends with you anticipating the responses of justice agencies in 2025. The purpose of using readings and topics from a broad historical period is so that you will gain an understanding of how enduring some of these issues and responses are. The purpose of focusing largely on Philadelphia is to help you learn more about this important city where you are spending a few years.

This course is also about some basic social science research competencies: learning about how to find some things, decoding maps and graphical and tabular data display, collecting and processing -- in mini form -- some simple social science data, reflecting on data and linking them to conceptual concerns, and doing some minimal research writing. You will be making visits to some local sources of information, some on campus, some off campus.

For more details, see "Purpose" link.


This section includes various policies that apply to this course. It does not include all of my teaching and grading policies, although it includes many of them. Therefore, you may encounter policies during the semester that are not included here, although I have tried to include as many of them as possible.

Disability statement
This course is open to all students who meet the academic requirements for participation. Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately as soon as possible. Contact Disability Resources and Services at 215.204.1280 in 100 Ritter Annex to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. You may require special services if you are sight or hearing impaired, or if you wish to register for gaining extra time for taking exams or completing assignments.

 Statement on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities and Academic Freedom.
Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inescapable facets of academic freedom. Temple University has adopted a policy on student and faculty academic rights and responsibilities." Temple University students who believe that instructors are introducing extraneous material into class discussions or that their grades are being affected by their opinions or views that are unrelated to a course’s subject matter can file a complaint under the University’s policy on academic rights and responsibilities.  The full policy can be found at:

The policy encourages students to first discuss their concerns with their instructor.  If a student is uncomfortable doing so, or if discussions with the instructor do not resolve the student’s concerns, an informal complaint can be made to the Student Ombudsperson for the student’s school or college.  Unresolved complaints may be referred to the dean for handling in accordance with the school or college’s established grievance procedure. Final appeals will be determined by the Provost.

Snow Cancellation
Yes, winter is here. This is a day class and the emergency closing number is 101. If there IS a closing I will post an announcement on Blackboard (if it's working) and on the main course page. If there is no closing, assume that I am doing my best to get here.

Religious Holidays
"If you will be observing any religious holidays this semester which will prevent you from attending a regularly scheduled class or interfere with fulfilling any course requirement, your instructor will offer you an opportunity to make up the class or course requirement if you make arrangement by informing your instructor of the dates of your religious holidays within two weeks of the beginning of the semester, or three days before the holidays if the occur in the first two weeks of class."

Policy on Cell Phones, pagers, PDAs, iPods, laptops, Newspapers
Sometime in the future, college at Big State U will involve online courses, downloaded podcasts, webpages, data plaques, office hours via WebMeeting. All professors' knowledge for undergraduate courses will be delivered by some type of computer/video instruction. Imagine BlackBoard on steroids.  You may be the last generation of American undergraduates at large state universities whose primary instruction experiences are live classroom based. When you are in class I expect you to be paying attention to what is happening. Often even in a large class like this there is a lot going on, especially if we get discussion going, and if you are distracted you are going to miss a lot. Sometimes, not because of what I am doing but because of how you are processing the information and contributing to the classroom, really important points can come up unexpectedly. You will miss it if you are distracted.

The policy details below flow from my attempt to create an environment where it is easier for you and your colleagues to hear, speak, be heard, and think!

1. Turn off cell phones, PDAs, pagers, and iPods before you come to class -- not on vibrate, but off!. These are enormously disturbing to your colleagues. For  all devices - take earphones/earbuds/bluetooth stuff -- everything -- out of your ears. For learning to go in the ears must be open.

2. If by chance you forget to turn it off, and your phone or pager rings, I expect you to turn it off immediately. I do not expect you to answer it or look at the screen. If you still have headphones/earbuds/bluetooths in, I will cue you once. I do not want to cue you repeatedly. Just get into the habit of disconnecting and turning everything off when you come into class. Don't turn it to vibrate, turn it off!

3. If for one or two classes you have some sort of personal or family or legal emergency which requires you to be available, let me know this personally at the beginning of the relevant class. Unless you do this there is no need -- from my point of view -- for your phone to be on

4. If I see that you are on the phone -- this includes doing text messaging -- or on your iPod, for any reason whatsoever, I will ask you once to cut it out. If it happens again I will probably ask you to leave the classroom and not return -- maybe for the rest of the semester.

5. If you use a cell phone or a PDA for scheduling or note taking you need to figure out a different way to do this during class -- bring pens and papers, and transfer the information later.

6. Laptops: if you  use a laptop to take notes, and you want to do so during this class, ok, as long as you understand this: The only program you are going to have up and running is your word processing program. You are not going to be checking email or web surfing -- even web surfing sites for this course. If I see, or even strongly suspect you are checking mail or web surfing I will ask you once to cut it out. If it happens again I will probably ask you to leave the classroom and not return -- maybe for the rest of the semester. Again, this is hugely disturbing to colleagues.

7. Once class begins, reading newspapers is similarly extremely rude.  If you are reading before class to stay informed, great! But once class starts, put it away promptly.

8. If, during an in-class examination or quiz, I see you consulting with or using any of these devices, or with any devices in your ears, I will ask you immediately for your test or quiz, which will be assigned a failing grade, and you and I will speak further about how to proceed from that point.

9. Although the instructor will seek to remind students to turn phones off with each class, students whose phones or beepers or pagers go off repeatedly will be viewed as a class disturbance, and may be asked to leave the class.

There is an excellent chance that many of you, if not immediately after college then a few years later, are going to find yourselves in a job that requires emailing. You would do well to start thinking about how to send email in a professional manner. You can get a book about this called: “Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home.” To learn more about this book CLICK HERE.

For this course, if you are emailing me or the TA, I expect you to do the following:
* Always include your name at the beginning or end of the email, and tell me that you are a student in this course.
* If the email is a continuation of an earlier exchange, do not assume that I or the TA remember what it is about. Summarize the issue at the beginning of the email.
* Any obscenities in emails to a professor, even if written at 3:00 am when you have had a few too many Alabama Slammers and just looked up your grade online, are violations of student conduct [ ] grounds for taking you to the University Disciplinary Committee. I Obscenities in emails represent disorderly and/or threatening conduct and come under the category of harassing the instructor.

For this course you may expect that I will reply to any email from you within five business days. I may reply sooner, but there is no guarantee. If there is something we need to address speedily, it may be faster to chat with me about it at the next class meeting.

Handing in / Turning in Papers
For some written assignments I am going to ask you to use Turnitin on BlackBoard. When I want you to use Turnitin, it will be directly stated in the assignment

We use the Blackboard system to post additional information, assignment information and additional readings that you will need to complete assignments. You should therefore familiarize yourself with this system as soon as possible. Late assignments will not be acceptable because you left it to the last minute and then found you could not log on or ran into some type of technical problem!

Be aware that Turnitin will not allow you to upload your assignment after the deadline has passed. So if it is 12:02 am and the paper was due at midnight and you cannot upload it, you are going to put it on a floppy as described in the above step, and give it to the TA at your earliest convenience. Also be aware that Turnitin will only allow you to upload one paper per assignment.

If there is an important reason why you were unable to make the deadline, notify me at your earliest convenience (see late policies) and arrange to get the paper to me or the TA the paper as soon as you can. (See lateness.) You are losing points for the assignment the later it is.

As a courtesy to others please do not bring food into class!

Controversial Subject Matter
"In this course we will be discussing subject matter that some students may consider controversial. Some students may find some of the readings, and/or the comments in class or in discussion conducted through a Blackboard forum to challenge some assumptions or views they value highly. The purpose is not to challenge individuals, but rather to explore material, sometimes from multiple perspectives, to make connections between different areas and time periods and topics, and to argue about the relative merits of different ideas."

We will develop specific in-class norms that class members wish to be observed for these in-class discussions, and students participating in discussions will be expected to adhere to these norms to the best of their ability.

CLICK HERE for in-class discussion and listening norms (under construction).

Class Attendance and Class Lateness Policies and the Seminar Idea
This class will be run as a seminar. This means that much of our time is spent discussing readings and ideas. Missing class therefore obviously hurts your learning. It also may hurt your grade. A portion of your grade is based on participation. In this class you will be doing some in class writing, and some in-class exercises. How often you are here for these determines your participation grade.

If you have to leave a specific class early for a legitimate reason, please let me know before class starts.

Makeup Policies for Exams (if applicable; see course requirements).
There will be no makeup for the missed exam or for a missed quiz unless
* you notify me before the missed event (leave me a voice mail or an email) -- it is crucial that you give me some kind of notice beforehand.
* and you have a reason for missing the quiz or exam that I find valid (e.g., car accident; I no longer accept excuses like your friend's grandmother dying.)
* and I have something in writing, for my records, verifying the nature of the problem, that you provide me with later on (repair bill from Bob's Towing and Repair)

All makeup matters should be taken up with the instructor, not the TA.

 Late Assignments
Assignments are due on the date and time indicated. I reserve the right to lower the grade for assignments that are uploaded or handed in late. The amount the grade is lowered increases the longer the delay before turning in the assignment. Depending on the circumstances, you could lose a letter grade a day.

If you have an excuse for a late assignment I will take this in to account only if you notify me beforehand about the problem and I find your excuse for the delay to be a valid one and I have something in writing. Again, a friend's grandfather's death or an undocumented family emergency may be questionable.

 Regrading policy
You have the right to submit any assignment for regrading. I do not pretend to be a perfect grader. If you wish to submit an assignment for regrading proceed as follows:

  1. Prepare a written statement explaining why the assignment should be regraded. This applies to written assignments, essay exams, and multiple choice exam questions where you think there was more than one correct answer. Be specific about why what I thought was the wrong answer you thought was right, or explain how I missed an important point you were making.

  2. On a cover sheet print your name, your full TUID, name of the assignment or test, date of the assignment or test, and the date you submitted the assignment for regrading.

  3. Staple the cover sheet to your written rationale and to the original assignment; return all of this to me.

  4. Do this within a week of the date we have handed back the graded assignment. I may not accept a request for regrading after that window closes.

I will review your request for regrading. I will consult with other faculty if I deem that appropriate. As a result of your request for regrading the grade on your original assignment may stay the same, or it may go up, or it may go down. Note - I am not allowing you to rewrite the assignment, just asking you tell me in what way you deserve a higher grade.

Pre-requisites for this course
This course is intended primarily for first and second year undergraduates at Temple University. There are no specific pre-requisites either in terms of specific content knowledge or specific skills.

There are, however, some temperament and life space requirements for this course. More specifically, in terms of temperament, to do well in this course you need to have or be willing to cultivate an enthusiasm for, interest in and questioning attitude toward the material covered. If you are someone who already has the answers to everything, you do not want to take this course. In terms of temperament, you also need to be open to social science data, and willing to learn some basic social science interpretive skills. Some of these data include numbers. It will help if you see numbers and related ideas like averages and percentages as your friend. If you are totally phobic toward all things quantitative you may not want to take this course.

Finally in terms of temperament, you need to be willing to share your ideas about the material and be willing to listen to others.

Split web personality of this course: how to use these web pages

Your syllabus was turned into web pages by the instructor. That means you can go online and click on the links you see here on the written pages. The url to start with appears at the top of the page. This course also uses BlackBoard.

What you will find on the web pages: which readings are assigned for each week; which topics are addressed for each week; specific assignments for the papers; specific grades-to-date as they are listed. These will show up in the "memos" section.

What you will find on Blackboard: if the readings are not from Black, you will find pdf files for the readings, or urls to where you can find the readings.

Special Note About Assigned Readings and In-class coverage

Class time is time to:

* ask questions about the readings;
* discuss different points about the readings;
* apply the materials and learn skills through exercises.
* expand on related and new topics.

Yes, there will be some review of key points in readings, especially if they are difficult. But it is not possible to cover all the important points of an assigned reading during classroom time. It is vital that you come to class having read the readings.

Usage policies and legal notice for WEB pages. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on this WEB page and linked WEB pages at the addresses are the sole property of Ralph B. Taylor and © 1999-2008 by Ralph B. Taylor. None of the opinions expressed on any of these WEB pages represent the opinions  of Temple University or Temple University's Department of Criminal Justice. The only viewpoint presented in these and other WEB pages is that of R. B. Taylor. All these WEB pages were converted from text pages and created as WEB pages by R. B. Taylor in his spare, discretionary time and not as part of required instructional activities, but rather as potential instructional enhancements. As part of his required instructional activities, R. B. Taylor has created paper, non-hyperlinked copies of these pages, and those will be distributed to all enrolled students. Further, the preparation and storage of all these WEB pages did not and does not involve Temple University resources in any manner. All users have the right to freely access and copy these WEB pages provided that they: acknowledge the source, do not make changes on any pages, and do not charge more than copying costs for distribution.  Further, all users by accessing this WEB page or any linked WEB pages in the domain or outside of it, do hereby explicitly and unconditionally indemnify the author of each accessed WEB page, including those in the domain, and all other domains linked to these pages,  from any and all liabilities or claims of damage arising from any variety of defects, inaccuracies, or misrepresentations appearing therein, or arising from trauma or suffering experienced as a result of exposure to any materials taken to be offensive, incorrect, insensitive, unpatriotic, ill-conceived or otherwise distasteful; or from any uses to which these materials are put.