Central Park 5 essay

Due: June 2 by the start of class on your Google Doc
Length: 750-1,000 words (1,000 is a hard limit. I stop reading after 1,000)


We have spent much of the beginning of the semester looking at examples of “expressive justice” and the role the media has played in maintaining criminal justice narratives. These narratives have real consequences as they impact public opinion, which in turn helps shape policy and laws.

This assignment is a chance to write a reaction to your reading of The Central Park 5. This short essay should be 750-1,000 words and make an argument about the impact of media and public on the criminal justice system in this case. You should make an argument grounded in the book and the concepts and ideas we have talked about in class (things like expressive justice, the routinization of character and the deployment of coded language like “wilding” and “wolfpack.”)


You should make an argument in your writing and find evidence in what you have read. That said, I like reading things that are conversational in tone rather than formal and stodgy. So write like you speak, just make sure you back it up with facts (including references to the text or film). I hate stupid mistakes like typos and bad grammar (they make smart ideas look bad), so proofread. Use images if you think they will help make your point.


The Writing Center is open for the summer over in the library. Maybe have someone there take a look at it.
Writing Center
Post Learning Commons

Room 128
May 24 – August 4
Tuesday – Thursday  4 – 6 p.m.


Follow the basic structure of writing an essay:
• Introduction
• Thesis statement (what is your overarching point)
• Supporting point 1
     – evidence
• Supporting point 2
     – evidence
• Supporting point 3, 4. 5 etc.
     – evidence
• Conclusion


Here is a prompt:
How did media narratives contribute to the resulting convictions in the Central Park 5 case?