Should Government Regulate Victimless Crimes Essay Research

Should Government Regulate Victimless Crimes? Essay, Research Paper (note to user – made in word 2000) Throughout history, there have been moral rules, enforced, which have been instituted by society as a whole due to the nature of their ethical shortcomings. These crimes against morale have often been called victimless, vice, or even consensual crimes.

Should Government Regulate Victimless Crimes? Essay, Research Paper

(note to user – made in word 2000)

Throughout history, there have been moral rules, enforced, which have been instituted by society as a whole due to the nature of their ethical shortcomings. These crimes against morale have often been called victimless, vice, or even consensual crimes. These offenses can hardly be considered crimes. A crime is defined as being ??an offense to one who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition? whereas a victimless crime is defined as ?An illegal act that is felt to have no direct or identifiable victim, often associated with prostitution, gambling, and drug use? (Random House Webster?s College Dictionary 321 and 1485). By there being criminal action taken against victimless crime offenders, the government is contributing to the overpopulation of prisons, over expenditures used to control such crimes as drug use and prostitution, violations to human rights, and the breakdown of such procedures which have been deemed acceptable for centuries. Not until the past 500 years of our existence had laws been instituted against these so-called moral indignities. So, for those who are still captivated, my thesis will now set out to discover, ?Should there be regulations on victimless crimes??

It has been shown that the government, in its efforts to control victimless crime, has spent an ever-growing amount of police time and taxpayer money for a cause that most would find trivial. An example of the waste of money towards controlling drugs entering and being dispersed within the country is the DEA, or the Drug Enforcement Agency. The amount of money the DEA had spent between the years of 1995 and 1998 had risen from $788 million annually to $1.099 billion annually (The World Almanac 108). In addition to spending time and money on capturing drug offenders, the government has wasted taxpayer revenue on court cases, and sending these so-called criminals to federal prisons where they are harbored to ?think about what they?ve done.? These people are secluded from friends and family and are labeled as burdens upon society. These people are put into the same cells with rapists and murderers, however they are not outnumbered by any means. Drug related offenders make up 58.4%, or 56,291 of 95,522, of all sentenced federal prisoners which is a far cry from the 16.3% of drug related inmates in 1970 (Federal Bureau of Prisons Web Site). Another startling fact is that in 1970, though the information is somewhat outdated, almost ? of all arrests in the United States were related to ?victimless crimes? (Lentini 3). With even a minimal annual cost of $40,000 to maintain a federal prisoner, the government is still spending an estimated $2,251,640,000 (40,000 x 56,291) of taxpayer dollars.

Illegal drugs are usually considered the downfall of ones body. Their only purpose is to destroy and degrade. In many regards this is true, but can also be labeled upon any drug that is used in sufficient doses, which most often, will probably cause severe harm and sometimes death. Many drugs can cause this, even many which are available without prescription (Richards 167). Many of the harms cited as the basis for criminalization could be avoided by the same forms of regulation that are applied to presently legal drugs (Richards 167).

Many consider victimless crimes to be protected under the Declaration of Independence, the cornerstone of our American institution. The Declaration of Independence states many items which our forefathers found necessary to include while announcing their sovereignty from Britain. One of the most important and well-known quotes from the Declaration of Independence is ??that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? (McWilliams 62). The pursuit of happiness, what does that mean? I believe that it refers to each citizen?s individual search for prosperity and each individual?s rights as humans to ?fulfill,? if you will, these originally Constitutional rights.

Of the victimless crimes, I believe that criminal action against prostitution is the most unnecessary misuse of police time, effort, and government spending. Until the 1960s, attitudes toward prostitution were based on the Christian view of immorality. Researchers have recently attempted to separate moral issues from the reality of prostitution. The rationale for its continued illegal status in the U.S. rests on three assumptions: prostitution is linked to organized crime; prostitution is responsible for much secondary crime; and prostitution is the cause of an increase in STD?s (Encarta ?99). STD?s are a risk of any relationship, and it should be a personal decision for a person to request the services of a prostitute. Further, it is recognized that, often, enforcement of these crimes lead officers to do such undesirable practices as entrapment, illegal searches, and unauthorized audio surveillance (Lentini 4). Though there have been little signs of leniency towards such an undesirable offense, there has been some progress. Nevada, in 1971, reversed the long-standing law which has stood strong in every other state, allowing all counties with a population of less than 200,000 to license, tax or prohibit prostitution in cities and towns (Lentini 2-3). Prostitution can be considered a very normal job in some regards. Just as a mathematician offers his or her brain to their job, or a construction worker offers his or her strength, a prostitute or gigolo, as the male prostitutes are referred to as, offers their body to their line of work. All work uses you body in some regards, so can these people really be persecuted and prosecuted for using their body for profit. Some would say no, but why? Are people who dispute this hypocritical? I believe that they are.

It is thought by many who do not support laws against victimless crimes, that drugs are embraced by the constitutional right to privacy (Richards 10). Among victimless crimes viewed as being covered by this right are drug use, prostitution, right to bear arms, and suicide. The reason these are considered private procedures are that they can and should be done in the privacy of your own home. When such actions are viewed before people who do not necessarily agree with what you are doing, you are violating what is considered a moral constraint. Then again, when the scope of the criminal law exceeds such moral constraints, it violates human rights (Richards 185). So what was once thought to be inbounds in terms of moral constraints is now controlled by criminal regulations, though the general public may not necessarily regard them as ?bad.?

On many occasions the federal government has been known to blackmail states that refuse to comply with these laws by withholding funds, a blatant example of government misuse and corruption (The Libertarian Party Platform Website).

It is often argued that drug use is supported by the user resorting to theft or other crimes to maintain their addiction. Though criminalization of drug use does force addicted drug users into illegal conduct to obtain money for drugs, it also confines them to a life of solitude, fear of getting foreign material within their drugs, and constant hiding from police to conduct their practices (Richards 179). There are possible solutions to this and other drug related or caused crimes. We should move towards legalization, decriminalization, and control much in the same manner that we once dealt with the problems of alcohol and cigarette smoking (Lentini 3). If illegal drugs were legalized I would guess that they would fall under the regulation of the FDA and could be properly sold, measured, and researched, much the same way other prescription and non-prescription drugs are.

In the past 200 years, our infant country has tried many different approaches to moral offenses. Starting out by putting tariffs on opium to suppress the Chinese spirit and flow of immigration, to prohibition in the 20?s and 30?s on alcohol, to laws forbidding assisted and individual suicide. These are ?crimes? for which the only person who suffers from the decision to ?break? these crimes is the person themselves, and no one else. These should not be regulated by society but by the person who is to execute the act; they are merely decisions that affect only the individual. In conclusion, it has been shown throughout this thesis, that I believe victimless crimes should be regulated, but not be illegal and criminalized for that would violate every Americans Constitutional Rights and every persons human rights.


1.Encarta ?99. Windows/PC. vers. CD-ROM. Redmond, WA:

Microsoft, 1998. Available: My House.

2.Federal Bureau of Prisons. Type of Offense. November 30, 1999.

{} Viewed January 24, 2000

Available: Internet

3.Lentini, Joseph R. Vice and Narcotics Control. Beverly Hills, CA: Glencoe Press,

1977. Available: Palm Beach Community College.

4.The Libertarian Party Platform. Victimless Crimes.

{} Viewed February 6, 2000.

Available: Internet.

5.McWilliams, Peter. Ain?t Nobody?s Business If You Do: The Absurdity of

Consensual Crimes In A Free Society. Los Angeles, CA: Prelude Press,

Available: Palm Beach Community College.

6.Random House Webster?s College Dictionary. New York, NY: Random House,

1992. Available: My House.

7.Richards, David A.J. Sex, Drugs, Death and the Law: An Essay On Human

Rights Overcriminalization. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982.

Available: Palm Beach Community College.

8.The World Almanac. Mahwah, NJ: Primedia, 1998. Volume 1999. Page 108,

caption ?Drug Enforcement Agency.? Available: PBGHS Library.