Policy Memo on Criminal Justice Reform
Imagine you are a state or city government policy adviser. The governor or city mayor has asked your boss to brief them on a critical problem facing your community (and therefore one of your agency’s top policy priorities). You need to develop a comprehensive policy memo that will give your boss:
(1) the critical background information he/she needs on the issue at hand;
(2) analysis of the influence of the state/city legislature, the judicial system, and other state/city government agencies on the formulation and implementation of a specific policy;
(3) an evaluation of the influence that interest groups, political parties and the media have on the policy at hand;
(4) a set of options/solutions for your boss to consider regarding a path forward with all these political players (including pros and cons for each option); and,
(5) a recommended strategy that you want your boss to present to the governor or mayor to win support for your agency’s policy agenda.
To recap, your memo should:
– Clearly and concisely state the problem you are trying to tackle
– Provide a summary of the current policy context / relevant background
– Analyze the influence of the state or city legislature, the judicial system, and other agencies
– Evaluate the influence of interest groups, political parties, and the media
– Present a set of solutions to the problem for your boss to consider, including pro’s and con’s for each
– Make a realistic recommendation of one of those options and provide further justification for why you are saying that option is the best.
– No cover page; put your name, student ID, and the subject line at the top with a date.
– Minimum length of 2000 words, but do not exceed 6 single-spaced pages. (Most senior leaders wouldn’t have time to read anything longer than this.)
– Cite sources for your memo since this is an academic exercise (sources will not count toward the 6 page limit).
– At minimum, your sources should include: one book besides the textbook, two articles from scholarly journals (i.e. Foreign Affairs, Harvard International Review), two news articles from major periodicals (i.e. Washington Post, The New York Times, The Economist), and two primary sources (public opinion polls, legislative records, speeches). The tighter the topic focus, the better the product.
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