GOVT 2306 Instructions for Common Assignment, Fall, 2017

This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Monday, November 13, 2017, hard copy to me. You will receive separate instructions for uploading your research paper to the panel who evaluates the Common Assignment papers. I will discuss this in class and post those instructions on BB.

Read these instructions carefully before beginning your paper.

• Topic: Bail Reform in Texas. A bill to reform the Texas bail system for misdemeanor offenders failed to pass in the regular session of the 85th legislature. However, a bail reform bill was passed in the special session of the legislature this past summer. Your paper should focus on explaining the drawbacks of the bail system that was in place prior to enactment of reforms by the Texas legislature in the summer of 2017, and how the new legislation will benefit those accused of misdemeanor offenses.


• Your paper should be a minimum of 750 words, not counting headings. Do not exceed 1000 words.

• Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font; double-spaced pages with one-inch margins – top of page, bottom of page, left and right margins; no extra spacing between paragraphs.

• Your concluding paragraph should be limited 5 sentences in which you give your opinion of whether the new bail reforms will benefit or harm the people of Texas.

• Use this guide to format your paper: Note the sample paper example and its guidelines for what to include in your first paragraph.

• Your paper should use proper paragraphing and punctuation and contain few or no typographical errors, grammatical errors or misspellings.

• You should use MLA style (in-text citations) for documenting the sources used throughout your paper.

• Your final page – not included in the word/page count – should be headed Works Cited and include a list of the references you used to write your paper, formatted according to MLA style.

• Write your paper in your own words. Do not plagiarize. As much as possible you should paraphrase the information you glean from your references rather than using direct quotes. Cite the source of the information you used within each paragraph by using in-text citations according to MLA format.

To receive credit:

• your paper must be at least 750 words in length, formatted according to MLA style;

• you must use at least 3 references from the list provided. You may use more from this list if you choose but do not use any references other than the ones provided below.

• you must use in-text citations formatted in MLA style to document each source you used;

• your paper must include a Works Cited page in which you list the references you used formatted in MLA style.

If any of these elements are missing, I will not read your paper and it will receive a failing grade. (Do not attempt a workaround to avoid using in-text citations or you will receive a failing grade).

For complete information on how to format a research paper using MLA style refer to


Listed below are sources of information to use for your paper. You must use at least three of these. Do NOT use any additional references. You are strongly encouraged to read through ALL of these articles before beginning to choose references for your paper. il-reform-texas-new-jersey.html form-bills-made-it-through-legislative-gauntlet scroll down to the section on Affordable Justice SB 1913 lature-Winners-and-losers-11179606.php Scroll down in this reference to find paragraph relevant to bail reform. t-jersey-like-bail-reform-not-texas/ Note: this reference mistakenly reports that bail reform will not be considered again by the Texas legislature until its next regular session in 2019. In fact, as reported in the references below, bail reform was passed in a special session of the legislature in June, 2017. Other than this error, this source provides sound information on failure of the original bill. prisons/ he-bill-to-stop-debtors-prisons-in-texas-9473917 191236/texas-lawmakers-judges-push-for-major-bail-reform/


Common Assignment