argumentative essay on prison failure

4. Prisons: Why is the American prison system failing? Narrow the focus to one or two reasons why. Keep the length of the paper in mind to help you narrow the scope of your topic. No personal examples.


First of all, you may not use personal examples. No essay you write for me will be personal.

Write a well-developed, multi-paragraphed essay with at least six to eight (6-8) paragraphs. Essay should be at least 3 – 4 pages.
Use the two sources from your annotated bibliography. If you want to replace a source from the annotated bibliography or both sources, you may; however, you still must have one (1) article from our databases. The other article may also come from the databases or may be found on the web. Finally, if you would like to add a third source, you may. No more than three sources may be used. Our papers are too short for four or more sources.
Essay must have a counterargument. Use the handbook, your text, or go to Announcements to read more about counterarguments under the posting, “Counterarguments.”
Include a Works Cited page. The Works Cited page should be on its own page on either page 4 or page 5. (For the short stories, if you quoted from them, follow MLA Chapter 56: Entry #29 on page 448 in your Rules for Writers, if you are using just one short story. This entry is MLA 2016 update correct. If you are using two or more short stories, follow entry #30 on the same page.) Review graded annotated bibliography. Were any errors marked in the bibliographical entry that need to be corrected?
Save the Works Cited page with the essay, not as a separate file.
In the introduction (paragraph #1): Briefly introduce the issue, and if using the first prompt, mention the the show (italicize the title) and briefly summarize the episode. Review pages 92 – 93: 7c in your Rules for Writers handbook. However, do not ask questions in any writing for this course.
Also in the introduction, include a clear thesis statement in your introduction. Secondary sources should not be mentioned in the introduction, in the thesis statement, nor should they be mentioned in the first sentence of a paragraph. Begin with your voice, your point. Secondary sources support. Read “Considerations for When Writing about Literature:” below.
Use your Rules for Writers handbook Chapters 54, 55, and 56 for help in incorporating/integrating quotes correctly, citing quotes correctly, and punctuating quotes correctly. Review chapter 37to use quotation marks correctly. Review graded rubric from postings.
Incorporate at least four quotes from the secondary sources. The combination may be two quotes from each secondary source, but it may also be three and one.
Some prompts specifically ask for quotes from the works assigned (primary), but if not in the prompt, you may still also quote from the assigned readings.
Do not use long quotations. A long quotation is a quote that is more than four typed lines. Long quotes require block quoting, and the essay is too short to include block quotes. To see an example of a long quote to avoid them, go to 37b on page 297. The essay is too short to include block quotes.
Do not begin a paragraph with a quote. Begin with your voice–your point.
Do not end a paragraph with a quote. End with your voice explaining your concluding point.
Do not quote back-to-back.
Avoid “dropped” quotes. Review 55c, “Marking Boundaries,” in your Rules for Writers handbook to avoid dropped quotes and for help in incorporating/integrating quotes correctly, citing quotes correctly, and punctuating quotes correctly.
Use author’s last name–after establishing credentials the first time secondary source is used. In other words, the first time you introduce the source, you should mention first and last name and credentials. After that, the source’s last name may be used. Read “Establishing Authority” in your handbook chapter 55c pages 410 -411.
Concluding paragraph should be paragraph #6, #7, or #8 of the essay. You are moving away from writing five paragraph essays. (Read “Structuring Your Argument: Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay” on pages 30-31 in your Arguing about Literature text.)
Follow correct MLA: Refer to the MLA 8th edition REQUIRED module and also review the syllabus for the information and spelling needed: heading, header, Times New Roman 12 point font, double spaced throughout, Work Cited page. Follow essay format found on pages 464-476 in your Rules for Writers handbook –with the following exception: spell out “English”– and know your section. If the heading and header do not look how I expect it, you are showing me that you are not paying close enough attention to my requirements or have not watched the videos in the MLA 8th Edition REQUIRED module.
Audience: Your instructor and your classmates.
Do not use “I” (“we” “our”) or any form of “you,” “your,” or “you’re.” Do not use any form of “you” or “I”—unless in a quote. Bottom Line: Do not use first or second person.
Do not use contractions—unless in a quote.
Do not ask questions in the essay. (No rhetorical questions.)
No announcements or commandments: My essay will show (making an announcement) or Imagine going (commandment using the understood “you” as the subject).
Comprehend work!
Grammar—be careful of major grammatical errors: run-ons, fragments, agreement errors, and comma splices. Chapters 19, 20, and 22.
**Word choices. Use descriptive word choices and avoid “fuzzy” words like very, really, always, nice, a lot, thing, big, good, and bad. Chapters 16, 17, and 18 in handbook.
Use active, vivid verbs.
Purpose: to inform, to entertain, and to persuade.
Need a creative, original title.
Essays need to be uploaded in Canvas so that Canvas can use the plagiarism-checking tool. Thus, do not e-mail me essays as attachments. For more information about Turnitin, go to the syllabus.
VERY IMPORTANT! TURNITIN does NOT allow re-submissions, so please make sure the correct, completed essay (including Works Cited page) is uploaded the first time in Canvas. Make sure–check and double-check–the correct file is uploaded. No excuse will be accepted. I will grade the file uploaded.
Refer to syllabus for late essay policy.
A final note: Sometimes students ask me if they can use more sources. Here is my response: The most sources you may have is three. Any more than three, the essay reads like a research paper instead of an argument. Secondary sources are to support your argument. This essay is not just an informative paper.

Considerations for When Writing about Literature:

“Maintain a Critical Focus”: “The topic sentences (usually the first one of each paragraph in the body of the paper) should be critical observations supporting or relating to your thesis.” The topic sentence should not mention the secondary source. Set up points from the thesis in the topic sentences. If you begin with the source, you may fall into the trap of summarizing the article and not arguing a point.

“Developing with Details”: maintain an effective balance of interpretive points and details. Too many details and essay sounds like a summary; if just interpretive direction, and then essay sounds “too abstract” and “unconvincing.”

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