Research Paper Directions 

 TOPIC and PURPOSE: The topic of your paper is New York’s new bail laws, which make all misdemeanors and drug felonies non-bailable offenses. The person is arrested but simply given a desk appearance ticket by the cops and a date within three weeks to appear in court. At arraignment court, the judge cannot set bail if the offense is a misdemeanor or one of the designated drug or other nonviolent felonies noted in the new bail law. The judge is required to release the person on their own recognizance or to supervised release.

The purpose of the paper is to discuss the pros and cons of the new laws, and then to argue whether or not the laws should be changed. If you argue that they should be changed, describe how they should be changed. If you argue that they should remain the same, be sure to make a strong case that they don’t need to be strengthened or revised in any way.

There is no right answer to this question. There are good arguments on both sides. Your job is to research the topic, decide which position makes most sense to you, and then persuade me that you’re right!

Strive to write a paper that is well structured, succinct, and to the point. Make sure every sentence flows naturally from the one that preceded it. Same with paragraphs. Use your newly acquired punctuation and grammar skills! Finally, make sure to proofread every sentence to make sure it is typo free, grammatically correct, and properly cited. And remember, no quoting. Paraphrase!

Directions for the Outline 

Use the framework below for your outline.

1. Introduction

a. Hook (what are you talking about—changes to New York’s bail laws—and why we should care)

b. Thesis statement (You only have two possible arguments or thesis statements, which are: Legislators should leave the revised laws as is OR Legislators should change the laws.)

2. Background

a. When, why and how the laws were changed. Be specific! Be clear and concise.

b. Discuss the current controversy over the laws. What are law enforcement officials and criminal justice advocates arguing over?

3. What works/what’s good about the new bail laws? (list at least two key advantages)

a. You tell me

b. You tell me

4. What doesn’t work/what’s not so good about the new bail laws? (list at least one downside)

a. You tell me

b. You tell me

5. The laws should be revised OR The laws should remain as is (your choice)

a. If you believe the laws should be revised, explain why you believe that and how they should be revised, i.e. what changes should be made to them.

b. If you believe the laws should remain as is and be given a chance to succeed, explain why you believe that. Argue your point! 

6. Conclusion

a. Summarize the current controversy over the State’s new bail laws

b. Restate your argument as to whether or not they should be revised, and if so, how.

Writing Suggestions:

Read the two-page document, “Social Science Writing Style.” Written by a John Jay professor, it explains basic the rules of academic writing.  Throughout your paper, use headings. They help break up the text and tell the reader where you’re going. Within these sections, use multiple paragraphs! In general, paragraphs contain 4 to 5 sentences. The first sentence is a broad statement (the topic sentence) that is then supported by subsequent sentences.

Papers should be typed using Times New Roman, 12 pt. font and double-spaced. Papers should be 7 to 10 pages, with separate pages for a title page and a reference page. Use APA citation in the body of your paper (author’s last name, year of publication). Then add a separate page at the end titled, “Works Cited,” and list your all sources alphabetically by author last name. Make sure you are using APA format, not MLA or anything else. APA is what is used in criminal justice.

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