Criminology on the down side they give up

Criminology Final ExamMandatory minimum sentencing laws are statutes that require judges to sentence offenders to a specified minimum prison term for a specific crime. Abiding by the mandatory minimum sentencing laws forces a judge to hand down a minimum, often long, prison sentence based on a prosecutor’s choice of charges brought against a defendant. Numerous states across the country have such laws. When deciding on the punishment the judge takes in account the actual circumstances of the crime and the individual defendant. Mandatory sentences have the effect of transferring sentencing power from judges to prosecutors. Prosecutors frequently threaten to bring additional charges carrying long mandatory minimum sentences and longer guidelines sentences to scare a defendant into pleading guilty. In exchange the defendant receives a reduced sentence but on the down side they give up every factual and legal basis for a defense. In some exerts of “Do the Time lower the Crime”, James Q Wilson argues that stricter prison sentences are lowering the crime rates, but the cost of prison is succeeded by the beneficial outcomes society is receiving in return. Wilson believed that some offenders carry out their crimes in pursuit of superficial desires such as respect, glory, or attention while other offenders are driven by “impulsive, irrational, or abnormal” needs. These individuals are undeterred by the existence of mandatory minimums. Wilson blames the rising crime rates on the Johnson Administration’s humanitarian programs which are supposed to target crime through abolishing poverty. Wilson associated the crimologists Beccaria and bentham to the “as if” theory of the cause of crime.Wilson believes criminals are “wicked,” and individuals commit crime in alliance with Jeremy Bentham’s pleasure-pain principle. Although he does not credit Bentham, Wilson implies “Having subjected their criminal intent to a cost-benefit analysis of likely gain versus likely arrest and prison sentence, opting finally for the criminal act”. For crimes such as these, Wilson prescribes swift, and sure punishment. No advocate of rehabilitation in prison, Wilson views the correctional system “as having a very different function namely, to isolate and to punish, it’s a measure of our confusion,” Wilson continues, “That such a statement will strike many enlightened readers today as cruel, even barbaric. It is not. It is merely a recognition that society must be able to protect itself from dangerous offenders … it is also a frank admission that society really does not know how to do much else, if prisons cannot rehabilitate at least they can punish and isolate”. “Beccaria was reacting to the tyranny, aristocratic privilege, corruption, and bureaucratic abuse of his time, which had resulted in judicial favoritism, in torture and imprisonment without formal charges or fair trial. The Bastille was to be levelled, not long after, as a direct consequence of these abuses. Beccaria’s ideas were embodied in France in the radical Penal code of the Third Brumaire of 1795. One of the first ones of the new regime, this Code left nothing to the discretion of the court, except the question of guilt. There was to be no abatement of sentence for extenuating circumstances, no added penalty for the seriousness with which the crime had been committed in every respect it was patterned after the “lex talionis” of Babylonian days. This new Penal Code lasted exactly 15 years. It had proved completely unworkable mainly because judges refused to limit their discretion within a rigidly formulated schedule which aimed to equalize the seriousness of the crime with the prescribed penalty. In the end it was replaced by the Napoleonic Code of 1810, which has endured, with some modifications, down to the present. In the red book on page 53, Wilson continues with, “If casual theories explain why a criminal act as he does, and they also explain why he must act the way he does, and therefore they make any reliance on deterrence seem futile or irrelevant. Yet when Sutherland and Cressey come to consider the consequences of treating criminals in order to reform them, as opposed to punishing in order to deter them, they forthrightly admit that “there is no available proof” that treatment increased or decreased crime” (Wilson, p. 53). They have different point of views on how they view crime, but Wilson believes its behavior and attitude that leads a criminal into doing a specific a crime (Pleasure Pain Principle). Also on page 56 in the red book “The criminologists assume, probably rightly, that the causes of crime are determined, the policy analyst is led to assume that the criminal acts as if crime were the product of a free choice among competing opportunities and constraints. The radical individualism of Bentham and Beccaria may be scientifically questionable but prudentially necessary” (Wilson, p.56). Cesare Beccaria’s penal reform philosophy, which supplies the foundation of the deterrence argument. The debate over punishment was one small part of the battle of ideas in which America’s early statesmen found themselves. Punishment was sufficient payment for the crime. In his view, criminal law is no longer an integral part of the principles of justice. Instead of a governing conception of the common good, each society must secure the aggregate self-interest, narrowly understood, of the individuals in a community. Consequently, “reform” theorists believe that the purpose of punishment is prevention. It is by deterring future crime, not seeking justice for past crime, that the individual self-interest of the citizens may be secured. Beccaria believes that no man can be judged a criminal until he/she be proven guilty. Nor can society take from him/she the public protection until it have been proved that he/she has violated the conditions on which it was granted (p.408). Also he states that when one chooses to live in society, that they choose to give up some personal liberties in exchange for the safety and comfort of society.Fun fact about Zebulon Brockway In the mid 1800’s, Brockway became the superintendent of a prison in Detroit, Brockway attempted to introduce work and release supervision programs and “indeterminate sentences” to better benefit the prisoners so that they can make great use of their time instead of committing crimes. Brockway’s main goal was to establish the country’s first indeterminate sentencing system.According to Zebulon Reed Brockway on page 578 he believed the states attitude toward punishment was changing in the early twentieth century because “This theory works a change of attitude on the part of the state, a change of the relations of the offenders. It also involves a different prison procedure, punishments to mend the broken laws, and vindicate the state. The state is too busy trying to rehabilitate rather than intimidate them so that a criminal wouldn’t want to be a repeat offender. Brockway believes that if a person is intimidated that they wouldn’t want to do the same thing to put them in the same predicament again to where they would be scared again. Brockway goes into detail describing what some of the characteristics do people who commit crimes regularly have that undermine the effectiveness of deterrence he states on page 579 ” Bulk of prisoners consist of those who are weak, habitually wayward are unmindful and disregardful of legal penalties”. Brockway feels like people who commit crimes aren’t educated and he feels like the prison system should have more programs to educate the prisoners “The aim is to aid educational advancement in the trades and school of letters”. He continues saying “Trades instruction based on the needs and capabilities of individual prisoners, conducted to a standard of perfect work and speed performance that insures the usual wage value of their services. When there are a thousand or more prisoners confined, thirty six trades and branches of trades may be usefully taught”. If a prisoner is taught a trade while he is in prison it’s a better chance of him getting released and still doing work in that trade rather than committing a crime. The prison system gas to teach prisoners to value their time and efforts into being productive and making an influence somewhere. Brockway feels that even though it adds to inmates anxiety the indeterminate sentence is desirable because ” The prisoners can’t get out early in hope of parole but they get anxiety because they might have to serve the full sentence or end up back in jail” (Brockway 584). Anxiety isn’t healthy at all it is an emotion, and it is often accompanied by nervous behavior, for an example pacing back and forth. It is the unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events. Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation. Which by all means the last thing a prisoner should be going through. Instead of sitting in a cell going through anxiety prisoners can put that time and energy into working hard to relieve some stress out there stressful and in some cases a long sentence. Inmates also benefit from productive work because “The indeterminateness of the sentence breeds discontent, breeds purposefulness, and prompts t new exertion. Captivity, always irksome, is now unceasingly so because of the uncertainty of its duration, because the duty and responsibility of shortening it and modifying any undesirable present condition of it devolve upon the prisoner himself, and, again because of the active exactions of the standard and criterion to which he must attain. Naturally these circumstances serve to arouse and rivet the attention upon the many matters of the daily conduct which so affect the rate of progress toward the coveted release” (Brockway 584). Often criticized for his endeavors Brockway seemed to keep pushing his idea for the better meant of the prisoners. His program was designed to educate and reform prisoners rather than punish them. In his program he acquainted instruction with prisoners between the ages 16 to 21 and built up a framework for giving prisoners professional abilities and rewarding them for good conduct.With them constantly getting rewarded for their good work it is instilling in them that this is the right thing to do because you are getting rewarded for it rather than punished for a crime. One may say that Brockway feels that those of the ages 16 through 21 are committing crimes because they are trying to fit in or even misguidance so his program is built on guidance and teaching young men what’s right from wrong, rather than having them sit in prison and get out doing the same thing he wants them to learn from their mistakes. If you was in his program you would work during the day and, at night, you also received education or vocational training so that you won’t be missing school since your behind bars because you eventually have to go back into the world. Brockway system allowed prisoners to earn points by learning tech skills or completing homework or doing things religious for an example going to church. The main goal was if you reached a certain amount of points you could possibly have an early release through parole.Edwin Lemert introduced and studied primary deviance, primary deviance is engaging in the initial act of deviance, these acts can remain primary under certain conditions. “The deviations remain primary deviations or symptomatic and situational as long as they are rationalized or otherwise dealt with as functions of a socially acceptable role” (Lemert p.351). Lemert suggested that secondary deviance is the process of a deviant identity, integrating it into conceptions of self, potentially affecting the individual long term. He states that “when a person begins to employ his deviant behavior or a role based upon it as a means of defense, attack. Or adjustment to the overt and covert problems created by the consequent societal reaction to him, his deviation is secondary” (Lemert p. 352). According to Lemert “there has been an embarrassingly large number of theories often without any relationship to a general theory, advanced to account for various specific pathologies in human behavior” (Lemert p 351). Lemert focuses on deviancy but believes that labels could affect the behavior of someone being labeled. As if they are trying to live up to the name or label that has been put on them by society. Lemert goes into explaining a situation on page 353 “the schoolboy engages in a classroom prank. He is penalized for it by the teacher. Later, due to clumsiness, he creates another disturbance and again he is reprimanded. Then, as sometimes happens, the boy is blamed for something he did not do. When the teacher uses the tag “bad boy” or “mischief maker” or other invidious terms, hostility and resentment are excited in the boy, and he may feel that he is blocked in playing the role expected of him. Thereafter, there may be a strong temptation to assume his role in the class defined by the teacher, particularly when he discovers that there are rewards as well as penalties deriving from such a role” (Lemert p.353). To conclude, when an individual is given the label as deviant, the individual feels inclined to fulfil the stipulations placed upon them. By doing this it doesn’t give the individual his or her fundamental status as a member of the society to encourage or develop the deviant identity placed upon them.Lemert identifies that there is indeed a direct correlation between the deviation of the individual and societal reaction by stigmatizing the deviant in the forms of labeling, name calling, or stereotyping this will only strengthen and further deviation. However, he seeks to essentially abolish this notion by allowing the individual to retain fundamental status as a member of the society by helping an encouraging the development of a deviant identity.  

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