Criminal Justice-COLL | History of Social Control in the US
P381 | 31274 | Tillotson


In the United States today over 7 million citizens are under some
form of correctional supervision. Approximately 5 million Americans
are supervised in the community through probation or parole. Another
2 million Americans are housed in the nation’s prisons and jails. So
pervasive is the use of imprisonment in the United States that, at
today’s rates, an estimated 6% of Americans will be incarcerated in
a prison at some point in their lives. Seeing these startling
statistics, the question comes to mind, “How did we get here?”  In
the not too distant past, sanctions such as imprisonment and
probation were used rather sparingly, if they existed at all; yet
today both are staples of the response to crime in the United States.

This course will focus on the history of formal social control in
the United States. As methods of formal social control are tied to
how societies understand deviance, we will look at the relationship
between theories of deviance and the development of methods of
formal social control. To that end, we will examine three broad
narratives addressing the development of social control in the
United States. First, class will begin with a discussion of the
early development of the penitentiary and other forms of confinement
in the early to middle years of the 19th century. Then, we will move
to a discussion of the rise and fall of eugenic criminology in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Finally, we will end the course
by exploring the massive rise in the usage of imprisonment during
the late 20th century. Throughout the course, special attention will
be paid to how historians have constructed their narratives of
changing social control in the United States.

Course will satisfy:  Intensive writing requirement

Class meeting:  Thursday, 5:45-8:15, SY 210

Instructor:  Steven Tillotson, criminal justice department