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SOC 371 Oct 1.doc

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Philip Goodman

SOC371 Oct 1st Class, Marx, and the Criminal Justice System - reducing crime? - how to design a system that would fail o criminalize acts with no unwilling victim  prostitution, drug use (victimless crimes) o discretion  at every level – police, judges, parole officers; they all have their own discretion o make prison demeaning  rather than rehabilitating people, you do more harm  make it hard for them to re-enter society o impart few, if any, marketable skills o collateral consequences  not only consequences for the person, but also on families and communities of those who are incarcerated - pyrrhic defeat theory o the idea of what a system would look like if it was ineffective - ‘real’ sources of crime – argue these are the sources of crime (Marx) o poverty, prison, guns, drugs - more people die from unsafe-unhealthy work conditions than murder – getting middle class to look to street crime rather than corporate crime and industrial crime - if we describe crime to be harmful – as much harm is done from corporate and industrial crime than violent crime o negligence – harm o compare the number of people who die and are harmed by industrial crime – more harm done by them than people alone o disproportion between the amount of harm done by white collar crime and the % of people who are punished who fall under that category o street crime is punished at a higher rate and more severely than industrial and corporate crime - at each stage, class is important – those who are wealthy are punished less severely - chapter 3 o treatment of poor vs. wealthy  on average – not case by case o arrest and charging o adjudication o sentencing Some Discussion Questions from Reiman Reading - role of race o treat race as an intersection? - conspiracy theory – invisible hand o CJS is built wrong from the foundation – designed to be counter productive  but in failing, it succeeds – it is effective – the target of this practise keeps you looking and worrying about street crime and wants you to not focus too much on industrial crime (also shown on the media)  you think less of corporate fraud because it is shown to be less ‘scary’ as burglary - you are either not aware, or don’t worry - does intent matter? Should one harm be treated identical to another - if we accept some jail or all of Reiman’s arguments, what would be appropriate remedies? Are there any remedies short of revolution and societal restructuring? Mass Incarceration and the New Punitiveness: Some Background - the media and the public had a lot attention focussed on the height of our crime rate – capitalizing on the fear of crime to get votes - less attention to the decline of the crime rate - Canadians almost always say that the crime rate is either increasing or stable – but in reality it is actually going down – the U.S crime rates are also very similar in the overall pattern (similar increase and decrease) - decline has happened independent of the incarceration rates o almost certainly wrong – look at both the U.S and Canada – same pattern – so how can this be described by the locking up of people o but there is some effect of incarceration, but only moderate o mass incarceration comes from:  longer sentences • very little deterrent value  taking drug offenders who would have been ignored and putting them behind bars  the effect of those 2 things are quite modest • not really having an effect on the decline of crime Canada’s Stable Incarceration Rate (Doob and Webster) - how do authors’ define punitiveness? o a country is more punitive to the extent that it locks up more people o contrast in the prosecutors – some are elected and their % of convictions are public during elections (US) o better to not give people a voice and be able to pressure the government to get tough – what we want is a system in which the public at large has little influence  proposes bills – to show people that
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