Lec 2 soc 209 - jan 9 2012
Thinking Critically about Law and Crime
- the new punitiveness
- link between crime trends and punitive measures
- Canada and the new punitiveness
- does 'tough justice' work?
due- jan 30 - beginning of class.
- eg law and society, birtish journal of crime and society etc.
Notion of justice and crime needs to be carefully considered * - previous lecture.
- how do existing power relations influence the definintion of crime.
- how other forms of justice differ?
Generally, when we think of justice - what should we do with those that break the law, or
commit a crime especially those that we think are dangerous.
Questions for discussion?
- is crime in Canada on the rise? Why or why not?
.yes, because there are more laws created, but also, there were other laws taken away for
eg. not allowed to have anal sex.
- is youth crime increasing?
.youth are consumers of crime - for eg watching CSI on tv - the influence of media.
.also, the more we think crime is going to happen the more we try to protect ourselves.
.particular types of crimes emerge as more problematic eg in the city can affect more
people, as opposed to rural area.
.we have this fear that crime is on the rise - particular in cities - especially what types of
crimes are being committed.
.when you read about homicide rate - look at the date - why are particular dates chosen
(sometimes they are chosen to say that crime has tripled etc. to prove their point)
- are criminal justice measures tough enough?
.what does a tough punishment even mean? .various definitions of crime
.we kind of have hopes for the criminal justice system that they will punish those that have
committed a crime.
-Where do our perceptions of crime come from?
The new Punitiveness
- mid 1980s - this nwe trend emerges - that we are getting harsher on convicted criminals -
harsher penalites - in a lot of western nations - and a lot of this has to do with the culture of
control. - adapting to crime through a culture of control - that we cant really solve the problem of
crime** - slightly before the 1960s - we had the idea that we somehow can cure criminialy
- that they can go to rehab be punished and they would be okay within the society.
- in the 1970s - they came up that we cant make them better, crime is just going to happen
so we just need to control that part of element.
- Global trends -
happens also in many regions - eg, increase use of improsinment - used more often for a
full range of crimes.
- the idea that punishment is related to prison. - central focus of what we do with bad guys.
- this lasting image of what punishment is.
- we also see the number of sentences increasing, the length of sentences increasing, in
terms of mandatory minimums - which means you get x amount of time in prison. and this
is the minimum and this was introduced in 1995 and there was 19 of them.
- every eyar we see a lot of private members bill - individual parliamentary bills - against a
new type of crime. you can use a mandatory minimum. these bills are linked to a name of
somebody that might have died. (names of poeple who were killed, for eg, Megan Bill
etc. ) Invoking that sort of emotional response nad ways of dealing with crime - through the
justice system that we can solve the context of the crime.
- zero tolerance policies - even beyond - even ppl who commit x or y get a penalty.
- eg, graffiti, hand handling, also little crimes, vandalizing,
- 3 strikes legislation - if you have done seomthing three times - this emerges in the states -
connected with the baseball metaphor - 3 strikes and your out.
- Does this paradigm adequate describe changes to the criminal justice system in Canada?
- for eg capital punishment - not every state that uses the death penalty - but there is an
assumption that this has occurred equally throughout the state.
- the reposnse to increasing public anxiety about public disorder - risiing crime rates, and
general deterioration of society. - somehow the moral is collapsed - people arent as moral
as they used to be.
Levels of public disorder: eg, graffiti, kids hanging out and causing trouble - this seems to
be increasing. - small disorders.
***3 disorders: assumptions: ^
Occurred jurisdictions similarly - becuase there is a feeling ther there is an increase of
public disorder, rising crime rate, and detrioration of what it means to be a community.
-Statistics: no correspondence between increase in harsh punishment - to declining crime
-the public doesn't want these harsh punishments.
Justifications for Punishment
- this is how we justify punishin peopple.
- retribution - "let the punishment fit the crime"
- - most criminal justice system - the most seioruso crimes - deserve the most serious
punishments - just deserts model - the punishment fit the crime - portionality - you have done something
wrong - you need to punish you in proportion to what you have done.
- most seirousl penalties for the most seirousl crimes.
- pay back to society - because you have offended society.
- deterrence - assumes we do cost - benefit analysis when we commit a crime.
- for eg, when i go and steal someone's laptop is because i might get caught - this is what a
deterrence model assumes.
- wrong doing is a rational choice/ decision.
- crime result of rational decision.
- if you don't attend class, you might miss something, you might get wrose on the exam and
not get the job.
- were are mini calculators.
- protection of society is key.- what do we need to do to make