University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
 StudentLink New   Concentration/Area of Focus Registration New     Attendance System New

Spring 2020

Course Description
The WIRE was a path-breaking television series which focused on the lived experiences of both police and suspects in Baltimore’s war on drugs. The show will provide the backdrop or lead-in to an interdisciplinary exploration of criminal justice in urban areas. The show will provide a context for discussions of the war on drugs, zero tolerance campaigns, and the role of race and ethnicity in the criminal justice system in urban areas. While the war on drugs is central topics will also include police shootings, excessive force, structural inequality in education, and the relationship between social isolation and the problem of crime (particularly drugs). Readings will include court opinions, historical materials, and critical theory. Evaluation in this discussion-based class will be based on class participation (one-third of the grade), and a paper. This course will satisfy the writing requirement.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
01-13-2020 - 04-21-2020   M  9:00 AM-10:50 AM F209

Course Frequency
Occasional course offering

Course Information

Credits: 2
Pass/Fail Option: Yes
Method of Evaluation:
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Writing Requirement
Special Attributes:
Course Delivery:

Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Criminal Law - Related
Social Justice - Related
Bar Subject(s): None
Social Justice & Public Interest (Area of Focus)   More information
Social Justice & Public Interest (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet: America's New Dilemma
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Recommended
    Author: Jones, Donald
    Publisher: Praeger
    Edition: 2013
    ISBN: 978-0313395772
  • Textbook Name: The Wire: Truth Be Told
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Recommended
    Author: Alvarez, Rafael
    Publisher: Pocket Books
    Edition: 2004
    ISBN: 978-0743497329
  • Textbook Name: Dangerous Spaces: Beyond the Racial Profile
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Recommended
    Author: Jones, Donald
    Publisher: Praeger
    Edition: 2016
    ISBN: 978-1440838248
  • Textbook Name: The Wire: Crime, Law and Policy
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Required
    Author: Gershowitz, Adam M.
    Publisher: Carolina Academic Press
    Edition: 2013
    ISBN: 978-1611631968
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: SESSION ONE: “HOW DO YOU GET FROM HERE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD?” Subject Matter: (1) The social isolation of the inner city: de-industrialization, disinvestment, social disorganization; (2) Violence, drugs, and prohibition; (3) individual responsibility v. structural discrimination Required Viewing: THE WIRE: Season 1, Episodes 1-3 “The Target, The Detail, The Buys”; Also review: THE WIRE, Season 4, Episode 3, “Home Rooms” Required Reading: DANGEROUS SPACES: pgs. 17-35 FEAR OF A HIP-HOP PLANET: pgs. 47-60 Paul Goldstein, The Drugs/Violence Nexus: a Tri-Partite conceptual Framework, Journal of Drug Issues, Vol 39, pages 1-17 Suggested Reading Elijah Anderson, Down Germantown Avenue, from THE CODE OF THE STREET: DECENCY, VIOLENCE AND THE MORAL LIFE OF THE INNER CITY, pgs. 15-66 William W. Goldsmith, The Drug War and Inner City Neighborhoods, pgs. 248-256 Assignment: Write a short essay of 300–750 words on defining the problem: Is drug abuse in the inner city context a criminal justice problem? Or is it a symptom of despair linked to social isolation? Can we hold socially disadvantaged individuals fully responsible regardless of social conditions? For your convenience, copies of all readings for Session One are posted on TWEN. PLEASE BRING YOUR PRINTED FIRST CLASS ASSIGNMENT TO CLASS AND HAND IN TO PROFESSOR JONES. THANK YOU.

    Required Texts:

    Adam Gershowitz, THE WIRE: CRIME, LAW, AND POLICY (Carolina Academic Press 2013) (hereinafter The WIRE)


    D. Marvin Jones, FEAR OF A HIP-HOP PLANET: AMERICA’S NEW DILEMMA (Praeger 2013) (hereinafter Fear of a Hip-Hop Planet)

    TWEN/Blackboard/Course Webpage Link:

    Additional Information:
    This course requires the use of TWEN. Please be sure to register.




Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-6314
Office: G475