Discussion (1L): Abolish or Reform? Prisons, Police, and the Death Penalty (240V): This seminar will focus on the abolitionist agenda for prisons and policing, and on the competing calls to reform those institutions. We will also consider the comparison case of the death penalty, where efforts at reform have often, but not always, been seen as stepping stones on the path toward abolition. We will read arguments for and against abolition, and for and against reform. Our main goal will not be to decide who we think is right, or which arguments we find most congenial. Instead, we will try to understand the thinking on both sides of these debates, and to see what value, if any, we can find even in the arguments we disagree with. We will also be asking whether the authors fairly characterize, and productively engage with, positions contrary to their own. In other words, we will be studying the debates between abolitionists and reformers in criminal justice not just to learn something about prisons, policing, and the death penalty, but also to reflect on the possibilities and prerequisites for constructive discussion of contentious issues in a splintered society. Class meets 5:00 PM-7:00 PM on Sept. 28, Oct. 12, Nov. 2, Nov. 16. Elements used in grading: Full attendance, reading of assigned materials, and active participation.