The Exonerated Five (Formerly Known as The Central Park Five) Case

When They See Us (Only available on Netflix). This is 4-part series. You may want to space each episode out to process the content of the film.. Using the 4 major criminology theories we have learned and discussed so far, I would like you to weigh the different factors of the case and apply the following criminology theories to the story when you think it is relevant:

1) Rational Choice Theory (based on Homo Economicus)

2) Biological Theory

3) Critical Criminology

4) Life Course Theory

I) For When They See Us: Part I,

In the Spring of 1989, five boys of color were arrested, interrogated, and coerced into confessing to the attack of a woman in Central Park.

Questions to consider:

A) How did Get Tough on Crime (driven by Rational Choice Theory) impact the investigation of this case?

B) What were some of the major considerations impacting the victim in this case?

C) How did Life Course theory impact these five boys during their interrogation, given that they were teenagers?

II) For When They See Us, Part 2

As the jogger case stirred tensions nationwide, the boys’ families and their lawyers prepared for a bitter legal battle against the City of New York.

Questions to Consider:

A) How would a Critical Criminology perspective view the prosecution and defense of this case? What are some factors to consider?

B) How did media coverage influence this case?

C) Under biological theory, how did the use of DNA impact this case?

III) When They See Us, Part 3

The boys struggled with the difficult reality of life behind bars; years later, Raymond, Antron, Yusef and Kevin returned home as men in a world that has changed.

Questions to consider:

A) How would Life Course Theory describe the impact of wrongful conviction and imprisonment on these boys? What sort of losses and consequences did they suffer?

B) How would Life Course Theory describe the impact of wrongful imprisonment when they came out of prison? What changes did they go through as men. How did losing so many years to prison impact their future outlooks?

C) What sort of unique struggle did Antron have to endure with his father from a Life Course perspective?

D) How about Raymond? Under Life Course Theory, how was Raymond’s life impacted?

IV) When They See Us, Part 4

At age 16, Korey started a brutal journey through the adult prison system; a shocking turn of events revealed the truth of the crime, long ignored.

Questions to consider:

A) How did solitary confinement impact Korey? What were the physical and mental challenges of withstanding solitary confinement?

B) We know that Korey Was not even an original suspect in the case. He was entangled into the case because he went down to the precinct to make sure his friend Yusef was okay. From a Critical Criminology perspective, what would this say about the way Korey got roped into this case?

C) Under Life Course Theory, what are some of the long-term consequences of what happened to Korey? What kind of struggles does he probably have to face as an adult now?