Death Penalty

Objective: Use  examples from the movie to explain the politics of Texas’ justice  system in application of criminal proceedings and the nature of  corrections policy to illustrate meaning of the death penalty/eye for an  eye mentality; and create an argument supporting rehabilitation, death  penalty or long term incarceration as the best correctional policy  approach to dealing with criminals in Texas.


When writing your essay, respond to the prompt completely and  thoroughly. Essays must be a minimum of 1.5 – 2 pages in length, double  spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 point font, and written in Times New Roman.

Your response should be your own thoughts and analysis. Citations may  be formatted in APA, MLA or Chicago style, remaining consistent  throughout. Research and resources should be incorporated with scholarly  application. I.e. used as examples or evidence to support your  analysis. While outside research is not required it could help support  your argument. Remember you do not have to cite anything that is common  knowledge.

Make sure to use complete sentences, and proper  grammar. Your response to the prompt should focus on analyzing the  information you have gathered and used to provide examples that support  your analysis.

“A” papers should include a critical analysis of the video’s by applying at least 2 examples to support your position.

A bibliography, references or works cited page, must accompany  submission. This page does not count towards the minimum length, of the  paper. Students must provide proper in-text (parenthetical) citations.  Failure to cite paraphrased work or direct quotes, from the original  work, thoughts and/or ideas of someone, other than your own, will result  in an automatic 0, with no make-up work being accepted.

PART 1: Video Access and Viewing 

The video you are required to watch will cover the notorious Texas  execution case of Todd Willingham. In 2004, Cameron Todd Willingham was  executed for the arson (fire) deaths of his three children. The initial  investigation found 20 indicators of arson, pointing to his guilt. When  science is included and they reexamine the evidence used to convict  Willingham, no sign of arson was found. Did Texas potentially execute a  man who was innocent?

The video is publicly accessible  through PBS Frontline’s official website.  You can access the video by  following the instructions provided below

Click the link below, or copy and paste the link , into a new tab, in your internet browser. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)

PART 2: Video Reflection, Analysis and Submission Instructions
Write  a reflective analysis of crime, justice and punishment under  application of the Death Penalty, in Texas, based on application of what  you learned from the Todd Willingham Case Video.

Write an essay that addresses each of prompt’s 2 components, Issue Position and Explanation and Application, outlined below

Issue Position:

First, identify whether you are for, or against use  of the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment (there is NO right  or wrong answer). Successful completion of this assignment, and it’s  learning objective, require your compliance in identification or your  personal position, and perspective, towards the issue of the “death  penalty”.  Responses are confidential and will be graded objectively,  based on student’s independent, reflective analysis of their own  individual personal perspectives,  and application of the information.

Explanation and Application

Then, Discuss, and describe, the nature of political  debate, surrounding the issue of the death penalty, and explain how  your personal position toward the issue has changed or been reinforced,  with regard to application to crime, punishment and justice in Texas,  based on what you learned from the movie.


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