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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Notes

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC209H5
Professor
Paula Maurutto
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 2: Thinking Critically about Law & Crime Sept. 21, 2012 Justice  Justice is a democratic value that underpins our criminal and legal justice systems  Justice is often differentially enforced o In the US, Justice can mean capital punishment, in Canada it can’t o G20 protestors – were police actions justified or not? Who defines it? o The courts define whether what the police did were legal or not o Contingent on particular circumstances and shift depending on cultural norms and societal values  How does it affect women and minority groups differently?  Marx: legal and justice systems are forms of control strategies (economic and politically marginalized neighbourhoods and groups) System  Assumption that the component parts of the Criminal Justice System strive towards a common goal  Is the notion of a system more of an analytical tool than a reality? o I.e. Judges and lawyers do not share the same interests as police officers or correctional officers o Whose goal gets prominence? When and how do police get their agenda promoted to legislation? o All these different systems, not working as a whole but competing yet we still have a functioning justice system The New Punitiveness  We use prison more today than we ever did in the past; mandatory prison sentences; increase of zero tolerance strategies  New trend towards harsher penalties (it’s a global trend); move towards longer sentences and more people gong to jail  Canada sent more kids to jail than other English speaking country  Crime rates have been falling in the US and Canada, but the imprisonment rate is higher Justifications for Punishment  Retribution o The idea that the punishment should fit the crime; the more serious crime, the more severe the punishment  Deterrence o The threat of punishment will deter the crime o Assumes that wrong doing and breaking the law is seen as a rational choice, where those who do the crime will do a cost/benefit analysis and if the cost of the crime outweigh the benefits, you will be able to deter criminal acts o Once a crime has been done, you can deter further acts of crime by enforcing punishment and showing the public that acts of crime will not be tolerated o The highest age bracket for crime does not generally engage in a cost/benefit analysis  Incapacitation o Social denouncement of certain acts o Meant to be symbolic act to offenders that society will not tolerate crime o You are only removin
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