Draft a Policy Memo: Individual Liberty, Public Safety, and Immigration

Follow the instructions to draft a 1 to 2-page memo based on the given prompts. Once you have finished the assignment, grade yourself according to the grading rubric that follows the instructions.


Each of the prompts below outlines a hypothetical scenario requiring a policy response. Pick one of the three prompts below, and create a 1-2 page memo responding to the prompt of your choosing. Marshall what you have learned in this unit to outline a plan of action and to describe the justification for that plan. Please review the tips for composition and the self-grading rubric listed below before you begin.


  • The state begins a program of prisoner reentry that provides newly-released individuals with housing, job training, and a small stipend. The total cost per person in the program exceeds the cost per person of analogous programs for non-convicts by 50%. Critics of the program argue that the program should be scaled back until the costs match. Defenders of the program argue that the expenditures are necessary. Using what you have learned in this unit and previous units, draft a policy memo supporting one side or the other.

  • In response to a wave of violent crime, a prominent gun manufacturer takes to the airwaves to encourage citizens to be “armed at all times.” The manufacturer’s message urges citizens to abide by all laws and acquire permits wherever necessary. Using what you have learned in this unit and previous units, draft a policy memo answering the following questions: should there be a policy response? If so, what kind? If not, why not? Be sure to use resources from subunits 3.1 and 3.2 as this scenario involves questions of free speech as well as gun-control and public safety.
  • In an effort to boost military recruitment and enrollment at post-secondary intuitions of education, federal legislators have proposed offering conditional residency permits to undocumented immigrants who sign-up for military service or are students in good standing at qualifying schools. Using what you have learned in this unit and previous units, draft a policy memo arguing for or against such legislation.

Tips for Composition

  • Begin your essay by clearly stating the position you want to adopt at the beginning of the memo. Follow with a series of succinct and clearly-written arguments that support your position. These arguments may vary from one paragraph to several paragraphs.
  • Organize your arguments logically and coherently. They should build upon each other to reach a final conclusion.
  • Each argument you present should come from the readings in the course. Make sure your arguments are relevant to the scenario you choose.
  • Practice citing the information, theories, arguments, and data you use from the readings. Use any of the standard citation formats for English language composition (MLA, Harvard, Chicago, Cambridge, etc.), just make sure you use the same format throughout.

Self-Grading Rubric:

  1. (50% Argument) Give yourself full credit for making a creative and compelling argument. Is your position clear and well-defined? Are there gaps in your logic? Would your argument persuade someone with decision-making power? Have you anticipated and addressed likely counterarguments? Can you think of a better or stronger position you could take? Consider making an argument you do not personally believe in!

  2. (25% Source Use) Give yourself full credit for accurate and cogent use of course material to support your argument. Do you have empirical or theoretical support for your key claims? Do you point to cases or theoretical frameworks that suggest likely outcomes? Do you use the sources fairly? In other words, can you see any areas where you may have misrepresented the core argument an author makes to better support your own?

  3. (25% Unit Treatment) Give yourself full credit for broad and balanced use of course materials. Have you used supporting arguments from most of the resources in this unit, or have you ignored large sections? You should avoid cherry-picking the most compelling material in the course.

Assign yourself a letter-grade for each of the above sections. Translate those letter grades into numbers according to the following scale:

  • A: More than 90 percent Exemplary work!
  • B: 80–89 percent Good work, but there are one or two obvious instances where you have not addressed one of the questions in the grading rubric.
  • C: 70–79 percent Satisfactory work. You have answered most of the questions in the self-grading rubric, but review your work since you have not addressed several areas.
  • D: 65–69 percent Please review your arguments and make sure they are clearly written.
  • F: Less than 64 percent Please try again! Your memo does not make a coherent or clear argument.

To calculate your final grade, use the following formula:
(percent for argument x 0.5) + (percent for source use x 0.25) + (percent for unit treatment x 0.25) =

Grade Assignment

For example: If you gave yourself an A- for argument (90%), B for source use (85%), and B for unit treatment (85%), calculate your grade as:

(90 x 0.5) + (85 x 0.25) + (85 x 0.25) = (45) + (21.25) + (21.25) = 87.5%

Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2021, 11:00 AM