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CRJ 480/580: Applied Criminal Justice Theory

Course Research Guide for CRJ 480/580

Writing Your Policy Briefs (CRJ 480 Students)

A Policy Brief presents a concise summary of information that can help readers understand and make decisions about government policies. Your policy brief should demonstrate upper-level academic writing. Everything in your policy brief should clearly and easily connect back to your criminal justice problem. 

Sections

1. Executive Summary summarizes what you will write and puts it into context

  • Give an overview of the criminal justice problem that you want to address and how your policy brief will address it

2. Scope of the Problem

  • Provide background on your criminal justice problem and put it into context
  • Describe why your criminal justice problem is important and why it is necessary to address it
  • Incorporate criminal justice theories and concepts from your course readings to describe the scope and importance of the problem

3. Existing Policy or Program

  • Describe an existing criminal justice policy or program that addresses your problem
  • Why is this policy or program being conducted this way?
  • Why do you feel this policy or program is inadequate?
  • Incorporate criminal justice theories and concepts from your course readings into your analysis of this policy or program

4. Theory-Based Policy Alternative

  • Describe your policy alternative for addressing your problem
  • Analyze how and why this be a desirable alternative to the existing policy or program 
  • Incorporate criminal justice theories and concepts from your course readings into your description and analysis of your proposed policy

Use the UNC Writing Center's Policy Briefs page for more help and instructions on putting together your Policy Briefs.

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