- What is your position on the death penalty? Do you think it is an effective deterrent, and should it be seen as a viable form of retribution? What specific crimes (if any) do you feel should be punished by the death penalty? What might the benefits to society be, and what might the problems be with keeping the death penalty legal? Should death row inmates have a choice how they die?
- Two main shifts have altered the nature of modern crime: technology(cyber/internet/identity crimes) and prejudiced motivation (hate crimes). How has the criminal justice system changed to handle these two shifts? Has it been able to keep up with such shifts, and what may still need to change? Should technology crimes and/or hate crimes be punished differently than other types of crimes? Are there any other types of modern crimes that you can see becoming a part of our future society because of these shifts, and how might they impact society?
- Popular understandings about illegal drug use and users are shaped by their portrayal on the news, television, the internet, and movies. Sometimes these portrayals rely on stereotypes and assumptions, while other times they are portrayed in “real life” settings. Think about the way drug use is portrayed in some of the shows you watch and the music you listen to in your own life. Describe at least one show, movie, or song that involves portraying drug use, and discuss whether you think the portrayal is accurate. Also, should we favor a rating/warning system that tells viewers/listeners that there is drug use being portrayed? What might the benefits and costs be to such a system?
- Recreational marijuana has recently become legal in California. What are the main considerations we will have to address here in our state as the law goes into effect? Do you agree or disagree with the legalization of recreational marijuana? Explain your position.
- Sociologists sometimes argue people are more likely to be sick because they are poor than to be poor because they are sick. Do you agree/disagree with this statement, and what examples of evidence could help support your answer?
- Health care is currently a controversial topic in American culture, due to former President Obama’s effort (The Affordable Health Care Act) being repealed by current President Trump in favor of the “American Health Care Act.” Why is there such controversy surrounding these two health care acts? Would you prefer that America adopt a health care system like those in socialist/welfare states (like Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom) where healthcare is provided by the government or have a primarily private health care system like we have now? What would the main benefits and drawbacks be of each?
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