Ideological Goal Of Punishment Essay, Research Paper
FINAL EXAM QUESTION 1: In your opinion, which goal of punishment best represents the ideological approach of the criminal justice system throughout its history? Substantiate your argument by selecting a goal of punishment and discussing several examples of criminal justice policies that exemplify the goal of punishment. (30 points) I believe Incapacitation best represents the ideological approach of the criminal justice system. Incapacitation seeks to reduce crime by imprisoning repeat offenders (Walker, 129). We keep criminals off the streets so that they are unable to commit a crime against society. Incapacitation seeks to reduce crime by imprisoning repeat offenders. If we keep the criminals in twice as long, we will prevent twice as many crimes. As a sentencing philosophy, incapacitation does not try to rehabilitate offenders; it is only intended to get them off the streets (Walker 129). Selective incapacitation is designs to lock up only the “high rate” offenders. This targets career criminals to long term prison sentences (Walker 129). Selective incapacitation was one of the biggest ideas in the criminal justice system in the 1970s and 1980s. James Q. Wilson wrote “serious crime could be reduced by one-third if each person convicted of a serious crime received a mandatory three-year prison sentence” (129). Wolf Gang s birth cohort study followed almost 10,000 children less than 18 years old. His objective was to determine how many of these individuals actually committed the majority of crime. His findings showed that only 6% of these children had five or more interactions with the system. This proves that selective incapacitation would reduce crime. The problem is that it is very difficult to determine the 6% of repeat criminals (Johnson, 2000). Gross incapacitation involves locking up many people and sending them to prison for a long time (Walker 132). The three strikes and your out law is a very popular form of incapacitation. This law makes it mandatory for someone who commits a third felony to be locked up for life. The idea became popular after a Richard Davis committed a brutal murder in California, three months after he was paroled (Walker140). The problem with this is that many criminals could receive life sentences for committing minor offense such as stealing. Physical Incapacitation is probably the harshest form of incapacitation known to man. This was used commonly through history. If a criminal was caught stealing, his hand would be severed. This was not safe considering the medical knowledge of that time (Johnson 2000). I strongly believe this would deter 75% of crime today, although I would never support it due to legality and moral issues. Physical isolation is another form of incapacitation. Criminals could be sent to different countries such as Australia. Unfortunately, this will not happen because incapacitation s primary goal is to get the offender away from society while it s secondary goal is whether the offender will come back. QUESTION 2:Discuss the prediction problem. Explain its origins in research and how it led to specific programs designed to aid in crime control. Also, discuss examples of conservative and liberal policies that exemplify this problem. What are the problems with this approach to society? In your opinion should criminal justice policy continue to follow this approach to crime control? Why or Why not? (30 pts) The prediction problem has to deal with Wolfgang’s cohort study. This particularstudy traced the careers of all males living in Philadelphia in 1945 through their eighteenth birthday in 1963. Using official records, the study used the criminal careers of a sample of 9,945 juveniles. The finding was that a small percentage of delinquents are responsible for a majority of all crimes and for about two-thirds of all violent crimes (Walker 62-63). This pattern was repeated a number of times. It highlighted a pattern: most delinquents stop committing illegal acts at some point, and most stop relatively early. The amount of undetected criminality is an important question. Although we are not good at guessing, if we could find the remaining six percent and control them we would have less crime to start with (Johnson, 2000). Basic methods for prediction of crime consist of an actuarial approach, prior history and clinical evaluation. The actuarial approach relies on patterns of behavior among individuals with similar characteristics. Insurance companies use this method to determine who high risk drivers are (Walker 67). Prior history predicts that if you have done something poorly in the past, chances are you will do the same thing poorly again (67) Clinical evaluation predicts future behavior on the assessments of trained experts. Psychologists can construct personal interviews and possibly administer a psychological test (67). Rehabilitation assumes a good match between offender and treatment programs. Treatment programs are effective for some offenders, but it is not quite as easy to determine who needs which treatment. Preventive detention, on the other hand, points out the defendants likely to commit a crime on bail and to detain them and only them. Concerning parole and the prediction problem, conservatives and liberals especially have attacked this problem. Liberals have criticized it as unsound. In one California correctional research, Liberals have found there is no evidence that parole officers were more accurate in predicting offenders’ behavior than other states. Conservatives have then been concerned with parole authorities for turning dangerous offenders’ loose on the community. A problem with releasing criminally insane persons is that someone must predict that person’s future behavior. Because a certain number of inmates will not commit another violent act, you could argue that experts were wrong about the other percent of the inmates. I believe that this crime reduction method is not very dependable. The fact that certain people have to guess another person’s future behavior is quite unfair. We either over-punish non-criminals or we allow everyone to be a victim. I do not think criminal justice policy should continue with this method.QUESTION 3:Outline the basic tenets of both conservative and liberal crime ideologies. For each ideology, explain the worldview, cause of crime, response to crime, inherent philosophical inconsistency, and legal emphases. Also, discuss three policies or programs that are the result of this ideological approach to crime and crime control, and explain how they reflect the particular ideological beliefs. (40 pts) Conservatives believe in free will, rational choice and moral responsibility. They believe in creating a society that is fair and equal. Criminals decide what they will do and what will become of themselves. They can commit a crime whenever and wherever they choose. People are morally responsible for their actions, and deserve punishment. If punishment is low, they will tend to commit more crimes. If punishment is high, fewer people will choose to commit crimes (Walker 18). Conservatives also believe that there is failure in controlling crime. They blame the criminal justice system for crime happenings and assume to believe that if there were more cops there would be less crime. They feel there are too many loopholes in the system and that let criminals off easy. If you commit a crime, you deserve the punishment rendered (76).
Conservatives also believe that deterrence is a necessary process that will shape the future behavior. We can deter crime through swifter, more certain and more severe punishments (76). The death penalty is an example of this policy. Proposition 14 indicates “deterrence-oriented policies that rely exclusively on criminal law enforcement do not enhance the inherent deterrent effect of the criminal justice system” (118). The threat of punishment therefore does not deter enough not to commit. Conservative’s crime control policies include incapacitation, preventive detention and mandatory sentencing. These programs are other ways designed to lock up more criminals and get them off the streets. These are based on that the assumption that the criminal justice system turns criminals loose on society where they prey on law biding citizens (121). James Q. Wilson introduced a program that was to reduce serious crime by 30 percent in 1975. Conservatives and liberals supported the 1994 Violent Crime Control Act which promises great reductions in crime. Yet, none of these promises are found practical (18). Liberals, on the other hand, believe in an unfair world. They choose to believe that capitalism is unfair and that even a quality of opportunity does not exist. In dealing with criminals, liberals feel that social influences, such as family, economic influence, and discrimination are the main cause of crime. Rehabilitation is the necessary response to crime in this circumstance. These programs are set to provide a structured set of influences that will shape the offender’s behavior in a positive direction (20). Liberals feel that rehabilitation does really help the individual. As conservatives feel that it is the criminal justice fault for having too many loopholes in the system, liberals feel tend to blame everything on overly harsh punishments. They do feel as the social influences are the problem, but they cannot deny individual responsibility. Liberals want to protect individual freedom and feel that there should be legal guilt (21). Decriminalization has been a liberal proposal. It argues they should not prosecute criminal behavior that does not harm others (nonviolent crimes). Examples of this could be public drunkenness, purchase or possession of drugs, and gambling. Many people are against the prosecution of these crimes although this would have no impact on the serious crime rate Liberals have adopted some crime control proposals from the conservatives. The 1994 Violent Crime Control Act calls for more police and longer prison sentences. In 1996, political observers said that Clinton had moved the right and embraced the traditional Republican position on crime (22). These policies have become very controversial and both conservatives and Liberals have conflicting believes within their own parties. QUESTION 4:Walker’s first proposition in the Sense and Nonsense text is that “most crime control proposals and nonsense.” His conclusion is rooted in the second major theme of this section of the course. Discuss the relevance of the five truths of crime, the war on crime analogy, wedding cake, and funnel effect to this point. Also, select three criminal justice policies from each ideological perspective discussed in the text and explain how they exemplify the theme. Lastly, do you believe that any new policy initiatives avoid this problem? If not, how you believe society can ever escape this problem? (50 pts) Walker’s first proposition is to think that most crime control proposals are nonsense, they don’t attack the reality of what is going on. The five truths of crime are: 1) no dramatic crime wave in the US has been declining for more than two decades, 2) of crimes that do occur, the overwhelming majority do not involve serious economic loss or serious injury 3) most of the violent crimes that occur are committed by peel that are acquainted or related 4) most crimes, including violent crimes do not involve a weapon of any kind 5) most crimes are intra-racial- between members of the same group (Johnson, 2000). The War on Crime is one of the most important developments in criminal justice over the past 25 years. The number of people in prison has quintupled as well as the National Jail population more than doubled. Conservatives believe that the recent decline in the crime rate is proof that punishment works and that if we are to deal effectively with young offenders, we need to be tougher than we have been in the previous year’s (8). Overloading the system is one of the policies in this area. The war on crime has also overloaded the system. The amount of massive arrests has been overwhelming. The justice system can only handle so much business. The enormous costs of war on crime has also drained tax dollars from other specific services such as: education, and public health services. Another policy is Crime Control Theology. A serious problem is that faith usually triumphs over facts. Both liberals and conservatives begin with the certain assumptions that are almost like religious beliefs. Too often these assumptions are not supported by empirical facts (17). These as well tend to be nonsense because they are not backed by persuasive evidence. The Wedding Cake Model focuses attention of important variations in how cases are handled. It emphasizes two points: there are significant differences between types of cases bases on seriousness, and consistent patterns of disposition exist within each category (29). The role of the prior relationship between victim and offender presents a major policy dilemma. For an example: sexual assaults should be prosecuted equally. Rapes between acquaintances should be treated as total stranger rapes. “Is the criminal justice system hard or soft on crime”? The system is both harsh and lenient. It depends on the seriousness of the crime. Distinction between these are found in some career criminal prosecution programs. “Being tough doesn’t work, because being lenient is not the source of the problem”. The wedding cake allows us to respond to most serious crimes. The flow of cases through the system is known as the “Funnel”. The attrition of cases between arrest and indictment is clearly a weak point in the system (49). The courtroom work group has enormous power to limit, frustrate, or even block reforms in the administration of justice. A state legislature might pass a new law, or a landmark ruling, but that does not guarantee that anything will really change. A lot depends on the nature of the reform itself (54). This problem will be ongoing for many yeas to come. I feel that some day, a formula will be constructed though it will take many years to be perfected and finally prosper.