Tutor profile: Marissa K.
What is an important writing myth to demystify?
The five paragraph essay is an unnecessary writing structure issued by middle and high school teachers to give students an idea of how to write essays. There are various valid writing structures that work when writing an essay. An op-ed will look very different from a literature analysis, for example. Over time, a student will find their rhythm with the way they choose to write. In a political theory paper, for example, there may be a question in lieu of a thesis. The question being posed and my subsequent commentary may come on the second page, rather than in the very first paragraph. Writing can take many forms and does not need to conform to rigid writing rules.
Subject: Political Science
In U.S. Presidential elections, why do third parties deplete mainstream party votes?
When a person votes third party, they are casting a minority vote that has the potential to chip away at another candidate's chances of success. In the 2016 election, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump represented the two mainstream parties, and Jill Stein represented the Green Party, a minority party. Between the two mainstream candidates, Jill Stein had more things in common with Hilary Clinton when it came to the issues. When thinking about what voters would cast their ballot for Jill Stein, it is important to consider who they would have voted for, if they were forced to pick between Republicans and Democrats. A reasonable person could argue that if Stein voters had not cast their ballot for the Green Party, they would have voted for Clinton. By voting Green, citizens took votes away from Clinton and gave them to Stein, which gives the opposition, Donald Trump, more leverage. While Stein advocates may have preferred Green over Democrat, it is possible that they found voting Republican to be the least suitable option. By voting for Stein, they are indirectly giving Trump leverage, because votes that were hypothetically going towards Clinton were subverted towards a third party which has little chance of winning.
Subject: Criminal Justice
Can a person be put in jail if they were not convicted of a crime? Why would a person be subject to imprisonment if they have not been found guilty?
A person can be incarcerated without being convicted of a crime, which is a practice called pre-trial incarceration. Pre-trial incarceration means that a person is sitting in jail while they wait for their trial date. When a person is charged with a crime, they will either receive a citation or be charged with a crime and brought in front of a judge, who will determine if that person should walk free, pay a penalty which ensures their freedom, or face jail time. Some states allow judges to set cash bail for people charged with crimes. An example of this would be a judge saying to the person, "For your drug possession charge, I will institute a $600 cost (bail) for you to pay the court. If you pay this amount, you will not go to jail, and your money will be returned to you when you show up to court the day of your trial." Cash bail allows people with money to stay out of jail before their trial date. If that person charged with drug possession does not have the money to give the court, they will go to jail and stay there into their trial date. When cash bail is employed, a person's freedom is determined by their wealth. An alternative to issuing cash bail, is for the judge to determine safety risks. A judge can choose to hold a person in jail if they are thought to be a flight risk or a danger to their community. A person can be put in jail before being found guilty. Many people are put in jail before they have their trial because they cannot pay the issued bail, or because they are considered dangerous or a flight risk.