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Reflective Writing 2: 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 videos 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 Frontlines 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 its 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 students 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.

Worth 10% of your final grade.