Oakland Law Essay Writing Short Paper: The Last Days of Solitary

Short Paper: The Last Days of Solitary

This assignment entails you carefully and thoughtfully watching the Frontline Documentary “The Last Days of Solitary” which can be found at the following:


This is not a film for your entertainment. You will write a 3-5 page paper analyzing the different issues raised in the film and how these are related to our text and supplemental readings. That is, I want to see students analyzing this documentary by bringing to bear your understanding of the materials from our text. While the primary focus of your analysis should use this week’s chapter on Prisons and the Correctional Client and Legal Issues in Corrections, the film also illustrates a number of other topics from earlier chapters such us Correctional Programming and Treatment.

I would strongly recommend that you take notes during the class showing of the film especially when you observe something that is connected to a concept/idea or piece of research from the readings. For example some of the processes prisoners and correctional officers experience may be observed in the film—such as mortification of the self or prisonization. But you should also be viewing the film thinking about some larger questions such as whether the use of solitary confinement violates the eighth amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment—and if so, how or if not, why not. You have many ways to apply the readings to this film. We will discuss some during class, but these by no means should be the only things you write about in your paper.


  • Typed– double spaced with 1.25 inch margins on left/right and 1 inch margin top/bottom (standard default for most Word docs…but double check)
  • 3-5 pages. I think you can accomplish the goals of the paper within this limit. BUT, I will accept more if you are inspired or having a hard time keeping it within this limit.
  • Use a 12 point sized font: 11 pt is for cramming within the limit; 10 pt and below is microscopic and verges on the preposterous; 14 pt raises concerns that you are having a different sort of writing problem and 16 pt should be restricted to title page only. Get the point?
  • You should have no need for quotes. Use your own words—it is better to state in your own words what an author is saying, rather than paraphrasing in ways that not only make it clear that you are using the author’s words, but that you really don’t know what the author is writing.

The following is taken from the OU Kresge Library Website which not only defines plagiarism but also offers guidelines for avoiding plagiarism:

Plagiarism is defined by the Modern Language Association (MLA) as “the use of another person’s ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person’s work” [MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed., p. 66]. Examples of plagiarism include copying from a source word for word without citing the original source, as well as paraphrasing an author’s words or even ideas without giving appropriate credit.

See: http://library.oakland.edu/tutorials/studentwriting.htm

5)Works cited: You may use the citation style you are most comfortable with for this paper. Just make a notation on the bibliography page which one you have employed. Go to the link above in #4 and there is a listing of styles and the formats for citations within each style. But remember, the only literature you can use is what we have assigned/read in class.