Select a social problem and describe why they believe that this topic is, in fact, a social problem. In order to successfully complete this exercise, students
should write a brief (350-500 words words) essay describing the topic and provide an argument that it is a social problem. Students should clearly identify the issue, the conclusion, and the
premises of this argument at the end of their paper in list form. It is important to emphasize, however, that students must touch on a social problem. This cannot be a blog post about personal
problems, psychological problems, medical problems, etc. – you have to discuss a topic which affects society more broadly.
Issue: Whether incarcerating people for minor drug offenses is a social problem.
Premise: Incarceration hurts families and communities by removing role-models and economic resources.
Premise: These communities end up with more crime as a result of these issues.
Premise: The United States spends a lot of money on incarceration.
Premise: The United States has a substantial amount of debt.
Premise: The United States cannot afford to spend substantial sums of money on programs that do not work.
Premise: Anything which results in more crime and wastes taxpayer money is a social problem.
Conclusion: Sending people to prison for minor drug offenses is a social problem.