Topic should relate to prisons or criminal justice. Just do not use popular magazines or newspapers. This is similar to an argumentative paper. Your research needs to support your thesis(argument). Introduction to the thesis is the first paragraph. 3 paragraphs or more supporting your thesis, a paragraph of a counter argument, and lastly a conclusion paragraph. There needs to be a page for a bibliography as well. So in total, 4 pages of essay and 1 page for the bibliography means 5 pages total. Number of sources needed is between 4 or 5, but 5 is a solid number to strive for.