How do the introduction and first 3 chapters of City of Inmates contribute to an understanding of social justice in the U.S.

Formal Paper Guideline

Begin by clearly laying out how you plan to approach the paper. Your paper introduction should be clear, concise, and provide an overview of the paper.” Introductions and conclusions are so important — they signal organization and thoughtfulness. Additionally, they help most writers put their thoughts together and get out what they wanted.

  1. Be sure to follow all the directions on Canvas for submitting papers and submitting them on time!
  2. Make a title for your paper. You can be creative or straightforward. Put the title on the top of the first page.
  3. Keep to the word/page limit. Longer papers are not necessarily better papers. Use 1” margins and 10- to 12-point font: The paper should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced (not counting the references or title pages). Many people tend to over-write: to use far more words than necessary to make a point.
  4. Although the personal is very important, and narratives can be very powerful and as or more impactful than statistics, the purpose of this paper is to work on your formal writing and your assessment/knowledge gained through the required readings. You can use a personal narrative to confirm or dispute one (or more) of the readings, but these should be concise so that you’re adequately addressing the assigned materials. You can put these experiences in the extra-credit logs if you like.
  • N of 1 Mistake: Please remember that just because you (or your friends or family members) have an experience or experiences that differ from research-based trends, this does not necessarily mean that the research is inaccurate.
  1. Work on organizing your paper to help you write it, and to help the reader consume it. Use different headings (and possibly sub-headings). The first heading should be Introduction to tell the reader where the paper is going.  It is fine for this to be a paragraph or so.  The last section of your paper should be the Conclusion, tying up your paper and summarizing your main points (also fine to be one paragraph).  In between the introductory and concluding sections of your paper, you should have additional headings.  There are certainly many ways that you could approach/organize this paper; there isn’t one “right” way.  This is up to you.
  2. I find it is good to take notes on the readings, underline, and make a list of themes/outline as I am reading and setting up how I’m going to frame a new paper. You can always change your outline and themes as you start writing, this helps me.
  3. In your papers, you are free to be critical of the readings. But remember that critiques can also include what is good/useful/important about a reading.
  4. Avoid words like think and believe. Typically, you do not need to write “I believe Delgado (2018:2) is wrong where….”; or “I think Delgado (2018:2) is correct in….” because we know this is what you think/believe since you’re writing the paper. Instead, you can write: “Delgado (2018:2) errs in his conclusions…” When you do have a belief that cannot be substantiated by research, you can write statements in this format:
    1. I believe that people who are far below or far above average intelligence, are at a heightened risk of being incarcerated.
    2. Although the research indicates that xxxx (Delgado, 2018:2), this has not been the experience of the most people with whom I have been incarcerated.
  1. Please be sure to try to use all of the readings, and if possible, videos, required for the period of the paper. I would prefer you don’t use outside readings, but if you do, be sure to provide a reference list for them.
    1. The readings (e.g., chapters if they are all from one book) do not need to be included equally, but they should all be incorporated some way.
    2. Please avoid using other readings not assigned for class unless there is a very compelling reason to do so.
    3. When you reference a reading, include the author(s), the year (2017 for Hernandez and 2020 for Porter for our required book readings), and where appropriate, the page. You must always include the page when you have a direct citation (something in quotation marks). 
    4. If you cite phrases or sentences verbatim (word-for-word) be sure you put the quotation marks around the words quoted and provide the page number in the citation.
    5. Do not put the quotation marks around the parentheses for the citations. For example, this is wrong: “Exploitation enacts a structural relationship between social groups (Young 2018:49-50).” This is correct: “Exploitation enacts a structural relationship between social groups” (Young 2018:49-50).
    6. If something that you cite has quotation marks around a word or words, place the quote inside your double-quotation marks in single quotation marks, for example: “Being a ‘dependent’ in our society implies being legitimately the often arbitrary and invasive authority of social service providers” and others (Young 2018:53).
    7. If there are 2 authors, use both names in the cite. If there are 3 or more authors, write the 1st author’s name followed by “et al.”.
    8. Avoid placing sentences in a row that are a string of direct quotes. If you found you’ve done this, put some in your own words and then cite the author and page without the quotes.
    9. When using a direct quote that is 50 or more words long, it should be indented, like so:


Rodney Stark (1987) accurately described a major problem in the study of crime and deviance stemming from the advent of self-report surveys:

This transformation soon led repeatedly to the “discovery” that poverty is unrelated to delinquency…Yet, through it all, social scientists somehow knew better than to stroll the street at night in certain parts of town or even to park there. And despite the fact that countless surveys showed that kids from upper- and lower-income families scored the same on delinquency batteries, even social scientists know that the parts of town that scared them were not upper-income neighborhoods (p. 894)

  1. It is atypical to cite something in a lecture/class, but if you do, do it something like this:
    1. Joanne (class 9/3/20) reported that the main characteristics people unconsciously notice in others is race, gender, and age.
    2. A student in our class (8/27/19) pointed out that African Americans whose heritage is one of slavery from Africa to the U.S., do not have a country that they can claim, as most do not know from which country on the continent of Africa their ancestors were captured and enslaved.
  2. Do not use contractions (e.g., instead of “don’t” use do not). For some reason, most scholarly writing does not allow contractions.
  3. Be sure to place things in their proper context. For instance, if you are discussing the 1920’s, 1960’s, the South in the U.S., India, Vietnam, etc., say so
  4. Avoid over-use of a certain word or phrase in a sentence, paragraph, or paper. An example would be using the word “concerning” twice in the same sentence.  You could change one “concerning” to “regarding.”  
  5. Similarly, do not start a series of sentences with the same wording/phrasing.
  6. When referring to the U.S. use the word “U.S.” or United States, not America. In addition to the fact that many Canadians and Central and South Americans find it offensive (and ethnocentric) that people in the U.S. refer to ourselves as “Americans” and our country as “America,” when it actually includes these other countries, more and more authors are pointing out the necessity of making the distinctions.  (Some of the authors we read, however, do not.)  Some people will refer to North Americans to discuss attitudes, etc. prevalent in the U.S. and Canada.
  7. Be sure to use apostrophes where necessary and appropriately. If you don’t understand this, ask me.
  8. Avoid using curse or slang words unless you put them in quotes (e.g., “okay,” kids,” “stuff,” “crap,” “bitch,” etc.), but even then, avoid. Sometimes these are important to the point, such as: My boss called me a “bitch.”
  9. Do not use profanity or slang to critique the readings. You do not have to like or agree with the readings, but in the scholarly paper you need to be respectful. For example, instead of calling the reading/author pejorative words (e.g., stupid, dumb, crappy), use words such as “this limited perspective…” or “the author appears not to realize….”
  10. If you are using more than one reading, work on integrating the readings rather than serially reporting each reading.
  11. Avoid absolutes. By this I mean don’t assume all women, men, ministers, feminists, prisoners, Whites, African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latino/as, queer people, criminals, police officers, judges, and so on, think or behave the same way.  For example, avoid statements like “Men in fraternities believe that rape is….”  It is more appropriate to write something like: “There is substantial evidence that many fraternity members believe……” (and of course, any factual statement should include a citation).
  12. Avoid paragraphs over one page in length.
  13. Avoid one-sentence paragraphs.
  14. Be sure to keep the tense consistent throughout your paper (e.g., past, present…).
  15. Although there is huge merit in discussing our papers with others, for our class I would prefer if you want to do this, you do so with individuals not in our class. I don’t want you to change what you were planning based on learning how someone else is writing the paper, with you thinking someone else’s paper is better than yours (when it very well may not be). And, of course, I don’t want you to not do the work to design your own paper (which is cheating).
  16. I do not care what style you use for your paper as long as you are consistent. I recommend APA (the American Psychological Association) because I think it is the easiest. The references will not count as your page limit and it is fine to copy and paste them from the syllabus.  If you add any other readings, just be sure to include them in the references and try to do it in the correct style.  We are assuming you will not add any other readings (it is not necessary nor expected).
  17. I highly recommend using Grammarly ( Most people say the free version is fine so I would not pay for the premium unless you want to have an even higher quality and there is a discount for college students.
  18. Be sure to proofread your paper and spell-check it before submitting it