01 202 496

Michael Welch, Ph.D.
Criminal Justice

Office: Lucy Stone Hall A-357, Livingston Campus
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 3.44pm to 4.44pm



In the realm of justice studies, the subject of political imprisonment has long been neglected and underdeveloped. This course, as an attempt to correct that deficit, sets out to explore the process and consequences of incarceration based on political, ideological, or military affiliation. Course content draws on numerous case studies, including: Ireland (North and South), South Africa, and the Southern Cone of Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay). Turning critical attention to the United States, the course also examines controversial tactics aimed at the Black Panther Party. Lectures and discussion will also benefit from material in a forthcoming book by Professor Michael Welch titled The Bastille Effect: Sites and Symbols of Political Imprisonment. (See also Learning Goals listed below.)


Welch, Michael (2015) Escape to Prison: Penal Tourism & the Pull of Punishment. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

Shames, Stephen and Bobby Seale (2016) Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers< New York: Abrams.

REQUIRED READINGS: Materials to be circulated in class. (ATTENTION STUDENTS: Always bring a flash drive to each class.)

Welch, Michael (2016) Political Imprisonment and the Sanctity of Death: Performing Heritage in Troubled Ireland. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 22: 664-678.

Welch, Michael (2018) Signs of Trouble: Semiotics, Streetscapes, and the Republican Struggle in the North of Ireland

Welch, Michael (2018) Remembering Political Prisoners: The Heritage of Post-Conflict Culture in Belfast and Buenos Aires.

Welch, Michael (2018) Architecture for Disappearances: Concealing and Revealing Extermination in Buenos Aires

Welch, Michael (2018) In the Sites of Operation Condor: Exploring the Afterlives of Clandestine Detention Centers.





Two Exams: 100 points each
Two Papers: 50 points each

Total Semester Points: 300


EXAM 2: November 8 (Thursday) -- ABSOLUTELY NO MAKE UP EXAMS!!!

In preparation for the first paper, view HUNGER (2008 Irish film, directed by Steve McQueen) on reserve at Kilmer Library (or Netflix, etc.) Please develop a sophisticated critique of the significance of protest at the H Blocks. Discuss the chronology of various forms of resistance by the political prisoners and the screws responses to them. Along the way, address the Sanctity of Death and Complicated Catholicism. Your critique should be exactly SIX pages in length (single-spaced, 12 pitch). (Use citation style contained in the book ESCAPE TO PRISON.) Also precious points will be awarded to those essays boasting an insightful title. The paper is due on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1 at 1.44pm. Hand-deliver it in class and not via email. Brutal penalties apply for late arrivals.

Forthe second critique, please refer to the book POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE WORLD OF THE BLACK PANTHERS (by Shames and Seale) and documentaries FREE ANGELA (DAVIS) AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS and BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION. Discuss several themes of activism and resistance shared by the Black Panthers (as well as Angela Davis) and political prisoners in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the Southern Cone of Latin America. Your critique should be SIX pages (single-spaced, 12 pitch). Again, precious points reserved for insightful titles. (Use citation style contained in the book Escape to Prison.) The paper is due TUESDAY, 11 DECEMBER at 1.46pm. Deliver it in class and not via email. Brutal penalties apply for late arrivals. Should you want your paper returned, please provide an adequately self-addressed stamped envelope. Otherwise, you may collect your paper next semester in my office.

There are NO extra-credit assignments.

Final Grades:

90 - 100% A
87 - 89% B+
80 - 86% B
77 - 79% C+
70 - 76% C
60 - 69% D
00 - 59% F

ABSENTEE POLICY (for all courses taught by Professor Welch): A total of six absences (any combination of excused and unexcused) results in a FULL GRADE reduction (e.g., C falls to D).

MISSING CLASS? In the very unlikely event that you miss class. Do NOT email Professor Welch. Instead, have a classmate take notes for you - cheers!

TRIGGER ALERT: All courses taught by Professor Welch have a MAXIMUM trigger alert (e.g., graphic analysis of torture, especially at the hands of government operatives).

Nota Bene: Photographing, Video, or Tape recording are strictly prohibited, as well as note taking for commercial purposes.


Students often enroll in a class without the benefit of knowing much about the course, the professor, and what is expected of them. In deciding whether this course suits your personal needs, interests, and lifestyle, the following checklist may be of assistance. Should you have difficulty with any of these items, this course is probably not suited for you.

  1. Attendance and punctuality
  2. Rigorous reading assignments and challenging exams
  3. Being aware of current events and the world around you
  4. Tolerance for the ideas and opinions of others
  5. Remaining attentive and riveted to each lecture
  6. Abstract thinking and critical thought
  7. True and amazing stories

Program in Criminal Justice, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, March 2008

Learning Goals: A Statement of Principles

The Program Committee for the Program in Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in New Brunswick has adopted a series of learning goals for students who complete the major. These goals represent the consensus of the faculty regarding the concepts a student should grasp and the skills a student should acquire in the course of completing the major. These goals guide the choices faculty make about the structure of the curriculum and the requirements for our majors. Moreover, they guide faculty and instructors preparing course material and teaching courses.

The Program in Criminal Justice will provide students with a rich understanding of crime and criminal justice in the United States and abroad through an interdisciplinary approach that blends a strong liberal arts educational experience with pre-professional instruction in the field of criminal justice. Graduates of the program will be well-informed citizens on the topic of crime and justice, and qualified for graduate study or for employment as practitioners in a variety of legal, policymaking, and law enforcement fields.

Criminal justice majors graduating from a research university should be able to use critical thinking, factual inquiry, and the scientific approach to solve problems related to individual and group behavior. In addition, students should have an understanding of the legal, political and policymaking processes that affect criminal justice systems in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Finally, students should be familiar with the institutional structures and latest developments in the field in order to engage in meaningful debate about current public policy issues.

Learning Goals for Criminal Justice Majors


Theory. Students who complete the major in criminal justice should understand and be able to articulate, both orally and in writing, the core theoretical concepts that form the foundation of analysis and research in criminology and criminal justice today. Core concepts are derived from explanations of crime from a variety of perspectives, including biogenic, psychological, and sociological approaches. There are myriad theories of crime that are informed by these perspectives, including, classical, control, critical, ecology, labeling, learning, strain, and trait-based approaches. Theoretical literacy should extend to multicultural and international understanding.

Institutions. Students who complete the major in criminal justice should understand the special role of three types of institutions: Police, Corrections, and Courts. In addition, students should know how institutional forms vary across jurisdictions and how these institutions interact with and influence each other.

Research Methods. Students who complete the criminal justice major should be familiar with the tools, techniques, and data sources necessary for empirical analysis. Students should understand the various ways that empirical analysis is used in the scientific approach: for description, for developing, and for testing theories. They should be able to analyze data using computer applications and should be familiar with basic statistical techniques and regression analysis. They should be able to read and assess research from a wide range of sources, including general interest, academic, and government publications.

Critical Thinking: Upon completion of the major students should be able to apply their understanding of core concepts and quantitative tools to analyze and research real world problems, and evaluate alternative policy proposals on a range of criminal justice issues, from micro-level analyses relevant to particular cases to management concerns to macro-level analyses of legislative and other broad-scale policies. Accomplishment of this goal will require that students can apply their literacy and numeracy skills to different institutional structures, within the U.S. and across countries.

Scholarship: Qualified majors should have an opportunity through such avenues as advanced coursework, internships, and faculty interactions to conduct independent research on matters of central relevance to the field of criminal justice.