Name a work of pop culture that depicts prisoners and sentencing. Is it accurate according to reality? Why

Your task in this final project is to explore the way prisons and the justice system are depicted in a work of popular culture of your choosing, with particular emphasis on the way a policy or practice is being portrayed in that work (and whether that portrayal is accurate or not, and what the consequences are of such a portrayal). You might, for instance, choose a particular episode of Orange is the New Black that features an inmate receiving maximum sentence because of the “three strikes” law. You would describe and discuss the depiction of this sentencing in the episode, but you would also research the law and illuminate for your reader whether the episode depicts this law accurately. Whether it does or not, your final step would be to discuss the effects of prison-as-entertainment on the viewing audience, prisoners, and the justice system. Your first step is to choose a work of pop culture. The easiest works to choose here would be a film or a few episodes of a television series (keep your inquiry focused – all episodes of a television show would be too wide of a scope). You can choose a work of literature or a work in another medium (like songs, for instance), but your work must be fictional – no documentaries or personal, non-fiction essays are allowed. In the case of some works—like Orange is the New Black—the source material was a non-fiction memoir and would not be acceptable, but the television show is fictionalized to a degree that it is disconnected from any one person’s true experiences; therefore, it would be acceptable. Finally, you will need at least seven additional sources that discuss your chosen focus/issue and/or comment upon the depiction of prison in popular culture in general; one of these may be a source we read together and/or you have already used in a previous paper, but the others MUST be entirely new sources. All seven of these sources should be reputable—preferably academic—and relatively recent; given the rapidity with which laws change, an older source may not be accurate (Note: if you have ANY questions about whether or not a source is acceptable, contact me via email or in person to check!). Your ultimate goal in this paper is to craft an argument about why prison narratives are depicted so often in pop culture, how this can help or hurt prisoners, and whether or not portraying prison in pop culture has a negative, positive, or neutral effect on the prison and criminal justice systems. Are the representations of prison in pop culture in any way connected to reality, or is there little or no connection? What are the consequences of either situation? This paper must be between 2200-2500 words and must have at least eight sources (your work of popular culture only counts as one source, even if you use multiple episodes; if you use other works of popular culture in tandem with your major focus, these will not count toward your seven required research sources). You will be required to complete annotated bibliography entries for some of your sources; the final annotated bibliography will contain an annotation for your major fictional work and four sources of your choosing. As with all written work in this course, this paper must follow my formatting guidelines: Times New Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins all around, double spacing, your last name and page number in the upper right-hand header, and no superfluous spaces between paragraphs. You must include an outline and a properly-cited MLA-style Works Cited with your final draft.

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