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SOCI 2450 (128)
Lecture 2

Lecture 2 policy, conservatives, liberals.docx

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SOCI 2450
Darryl Davies

Lecture 2 Social policy and public crime concern - The media simply “gives the public what it wants” • The media tend not to report or to emphasize declining crime rates • National crime figures are published only once a year, allowing the media to concentrate the remainder of the year on extreme, violent cases • Crime stories reported by the media are rarely put in a statistical context, and the print news outlets neglect to comment on trends in crime rates over time - Fear remains an important determinant of public policy Crime perspectives - Social problems perspective: the belief that crime is a manifestation of underlying social problems such as poverty, discrimination, family violence, and breakdown of traditional social institutions • Solutions to this are things like government made social programs designed to enhance social, educational and occupational opportunities - Social responsibility perspective: the belief that individuals are fundamentally responsible for their own behavior and that they choose crime over other, more law- abiding courses of action • Solution is firm punishment, imprisonment, rehabilitation, increased security, and wider use of police power • Most evident in crime prevention and control. Ex: U.S.A’s “war on drugs”. This prompted police to go harder, even in Canada, and that is whyAlain Olivier and many others had been targeted Evidence based crime policy - Originated in England with the Cochrane collaboration • An effort to bring together a “best practices” approach to health care • Unproven approach- no scientific basis in its effectiveness in dealing with people - Movement for evidence based approach • Followed in England then in the US Feb 2000 Campbell collaboration brought together an evidence based criminology approach in society • Scientific research has become the basis of moving forward • Without research the information is useless • With research you determine what works vs what didn’t work - Started to examine research before a practise is implemented (what is the basis/evidence for it) – when asking if we should we adopt an approach? > must ask what evidence backs it up, has it been assessed, has it been published in academic journals (peer review: objectivity and independence)? - DARE – idea of police officers going into schools and talking about drugs. No evidence it reduced drug use. Police officers talking to children, was ineffective Some policies can be harmful - “Scared Straight”: The Scared Straight Program is where young adults are taken into prisons and introduced to inmates and young offenders, in the hope that talking with an individual like this will scare them and make them think “I don’t want to end up like them”. - The program had the opposite effect and instead made young adults think that the individuals behind bars were tough and such, and made them want to be like them. - So why do we follow them? Because politicians say we should 4 things that drive public to believe in these myths - There are four things that drive society into thinking that ineffective programs like the Scared Straight Program actually works: • Ignorance • Apathy • Inertia • Cost Conservatives - Crime control ideology is the belief that somehow because it is the belief of our political party, that it is the correct idea/belief. • Notion of a self made individual that governs by free will  Because criminal offend, they choose to receive their punishment - Idealize the image of the patriarchal family • If the adult fails (to discipline their kids), they blame the parenting • They believe that deterrence works - Conservatives emphasize the rules of the criminal law - They look at what can be the “worst case scenario” which is that unchecked crime will lead to anarchy - Includes “just deserts” (get what is coming to them), deterrence (specific and general), death penalty, public humiliation Conservatives- what we can do to reduce serious crime 1. Crime can be reduced if they crack down on criminal 2. Crime will be released if cops have more power and resources 3. Crime can be deterred through swifter, more certain and severe punishment 4. Lock up more criminals by sending more criminals and for longer time 5. Get rid of crime by getting rid of the loop holes in courts and sentencing Liberal - According to the Liberals, criminal behavior is related to social influences such as family, and seek to alter the influence - They tend to be advocates of rehabilitation instead of punishment • An increase in imprisonment has done nothing to reduce amount of crime - They advocate that a person’s belief/behavior can be changed in a positive way (social reform) - Reject the individual responsibility • Feel there is some contribution from the individual but it is the collective society that holds the key - Liberals
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