Criminal Justice 631 
Fall 2002

Environmental Justice 

links to lists of questions

Time:M 6-8:30
Instructor:Ralph B. Taylor
Professor, Criminal Justice
Department Office: 509 Gladfelter
Telephone:204-7169 (office)
204-7918 (department)

 Schedule and Office Hours:










10:30 - 11:30   XXXXXXX


11:30 - 12:30   XXXXXXX


12:30 - 1:40 CLASS - 50 XXXXXXX CLASS - 50 XXXXXXX CLASS - 50
3 - 5   XXXXXXX Meetings XXXXXXX Meetings
6:00 - 8:30 CLASS-631        





Purposes of the Course


By land, by sea, and by air, communities across America confront environmental problems. These problems are man-made, and thus represent a class of environmental problems distinct from natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and the like. These include a broad range of insults including leakage from toxic waste sites, air pollution, water pollution, and exposure to serious environmental hazards.

Governmental responses to these started emerging in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Under the late Richard Nixon, EPA was formed. States and localities developed departments of environmental protection. A variety of laws were passed at the federal and state levels allowing officials to sanction individuals and corporations breaking those laws. These new laws and regulations supplemented existing remedies available to individuals through common law procedures.

In the late 1970's under the Carter administration, regulators began to "get tough" with violators. This trend was reversed during the Reagan era as public officials were urged to work more closely with businesses, and enforcement budgets were cut. But the late 1980s witnessed the emergence, at the state level, of a new "get tough" approach to environmental criminals, not unlike the "get tough" approach for street criminals in current vogue. States such as Ohio and New Jersey were prosecuting some cases with extreme vigor, and seeking stiff criminal punishments for those convicted. In short, current approaches to producing environmental justice, and for meting out environmental punishments, have changed markedly over the last few years, and the wisdom of current policies are widely debated. Governor Whitman's downsizing of the New Jersey State Environmental Prosecutor's Office under Steve Madonna represents an interesting example of a state pulling back from a widely publicized, strong enforcement effort.


In this class we will examine a range of issues related to environmental justice, environmental victimization, environmental crimes, and environmental punishments.

 The course is organized around the following broad themes:

 Structural issues in environmental justice and environmental crimes. What are the factors in society that predispose corporations, or individuals within those corporations, to commit environmental crimes? In short, we want to understand the broader social, economic, and political factors that make these crimes more likely to happen. We will read a text on environmental sociology to get oriented to these issues. Along parallel lines, what are the factors influencing how environmental justice is "dispensed"? On a related topic: does environmental racism exist? If so, how extensive is it? Is it racial in intent, or is it the case that the consequences just happen to adversely affect members of certain racial groups? What does it mean to have popular justice in this arena?

 Environmental victimization. What are the consequences for individuals, households, and communities of an environmental crime? What happens psychologically, socially, and sociologically, as well as physically, in response to these incidents? In short, what types of harm occur, and how serious are they?

 What is involved in obtaining compliance? Compliance with environmental laws emerges as a result of interactions between corporate and regulatory personnel, or between corporate personnel and actors in the criminal justice system. What goes on in this process? What considerations limit or encourage corporations to comply? How is the relationship between criminal justice system personnel and corporate personnel different than the relationship between the system and "street" criminals? In pc-technobabble: how are the relationships between regulators and businesses, or enforcers and businesses, socially constructed? Is there any one effective approach for ensuring compliance? Or does the approach depend on situational factors? If it depends, what are the relevant considerations?

Limits and shortcomings. From a structural perspective, what are the limitations of law in generating environmental justice? Are there some actors receiving advantages, due to their social position, when they are involved as defendants in environmental cases? Can anything be done about this? If so, what? If not, why not?

Course Structure

 This is a readings course. The amount of reading you will be expected to complete on a weekly basis will range from 50 to 200 pages. I expect everyone to do all the readings every week, and come to class prepared to discuss them. I will try and hand out to you beforehand a list of questions to try and answer as you read the readings. I strongly encourage you to try and write out answers to those questions in preparation for each class, even though your answers might be rough.


 We will be relying on texts, and a packet of readings I am going to be putting together.

 The main texts are as follows:

 Bullard, R. D. 1992. "Dumping in Dixie: Social justice, race and the environment." Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

 Clifford, M. (ed.) (1998) "Environmental Crime." Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

 Edelstein, M. 1988. "Contaminated communities: The Social and psychological impacts of residential toxic exposure." Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

 Schnaiberg, A., and Gould, K. A. (1994). "Environment and society: The Enduring conflict." New Yuork: St. Martin's Press.

 Yeager, P. C. 1991. "The Limits of law: The Public regulation of private pollution." Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.


Grading Policies

 1. Assignments are due on the date indicated. I reserve the right to lower the grade for assignments that are handed in late. The amount the grade is lowered will increase the longer the delay in handing the assignment in.

 2. 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 (e.g., car accident). If you are scheduled to make an in-class presentation, and an emergency prevents you appearing in class, please let me know ahead of time.

 3. We will discuss in class the nature of academic misconduct, including plagiarism. You are responsible for understanding the different varieties of academic misconduct. If I encounter solid evidence of academic misconduct I reserve the right to fail you on the assignment in question, and/or to assign you a failing grade for the course.

 Grading in the Course

 This course is structured as a readings course. What that means is that we spend a lot of time reading a lot of material. We talk about it in class, and write about it in exam(s). I will also be providing additional expository material at different points during the semester.

 Your grade in this course will be based on the following:

 50%Contributions to the weekly discussions. You get full credit if you show that you have read the readings for that week, even if you have not fully comprehended them.

 10%Draft of final paper, including in class presentation of such

 40%Revised final paper

 You will be writing a final paper in this course. It may be based on either library or field research. You will have the topic for that paper defined no later than November 1. You will submit a draft of it by the last week of class, and you will present your paper to the group at that time. I will return comments to you and you will then revise the paper, taking into account the comments I make as you see fit.

 Sequence of Topics and Readings NOTE: this may be subject to change at a later date.


Introduction; political, sociological and criminal justice perspectives on environmental justice; 

What is environmental crime? What is environmental justice? The Treadmill of production in the modern industrial system
Clifford, Chapters 1, 2, 3, Appendices A, B, C, E;
S&G, Chapters 1 - 3

More on the treadmill of production, and implications for environmental crime and justice; An aside on environmental values; Government and advocacy web sites
S&G: 4, 5
Clifford: Ch. 12, 13
[Gillroy & Shapiro 1986]

Strategies and regulation, generally
S&G: 6-10
Clifford: Ch. 5, 6, 7

Understanding the impacts of environmental hazards
Edelstein, Ch. 1-7
Harr, A Civil Action

More on environmental regulation
Clifford, Chs: 8, 9, 11, Case study 2

Understanding how cases are processed: Compliance from the regulators' perspective
Hawkins, Chs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (in packet of readings)
Taylor, R. B., and Mason, R. (2002) Responses to prison for environmental criminals: Impacts of incident, perpetrator and respondent characteristics. Environment and Behavior 34 194-216


Choices of sanctions; questions of just desserts and overcriminalizing and purposes of sentencing
Clifford, Ch. 10
[Russell 1990]
[McMurry & Ramsey 1986]
[Celebrezze, Muchnicki, Marous et al. 1990]
[Hedman 1991]
[Cohen 1992]
Chapters from Schlegel (1990)


Looking at some more web sources; environmental law research on the web


Issues of bias: The Conflict perspective and the limits of law
Yeager, Chs. TBA


More on the conflict perspective and limits to regulation
Yeager, Chs. TBA


Issues of bias: Evidence for environmental racism
Bullard, Chs. TBA


More on environmental racism; Future directions

Clifford, Chapter 15, Case study 5, closing comments


Presentations of papers


Celebrezze, A. J., Jr., E. D. Muchnicki, J. M. Marous, and M. K. Jenkins-Smith 1990 "Criminal enforcement of state environmental laws: The Ohio solution." Harvard Environmental Law Review 14:217-251.

Cohen, M. A. 1992 "Environmental crime and punishment: Legal/economic theory and empirical evidence on enforcement of federal environmental statutes." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 82:1054-1108.

Gillroy, J. M. and R. Y. Shapiro 1986 "The Polls: Environmental protection." Public Opinion Q. 50:270-279.

Hedman, S. 1991 "Expressive functions of criminal sanctions in environmental law." George Washington Law Review 59:889-899.

Martin, S., Taylor, R. B., and Mason, R. (2001) Understanding Environmental Justice: Competing Conceptual Frameworks. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society, Philadelphia, April.

McMurry and Ramsey 1986 "Environmental crime: The Use of criminal sanctions in enforcing environmental laws." Loy. L.A. Law Review 19:1133-1169.

Russell, C. S. 1990 "Monitoring and enforcement." In Public policies for environmental protection, ed. P. R. Portney, 243-274. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.

Taylor, R. B., and Mason, R. (2002) Responses to prison for environmental criminals: Impacts of incident, perpetrator and respondent characteristics. Environment and Behavior 34 194-216