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Lecture 10

WDW370H1 Lecture 10

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Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
WDW101Y1
Professor
Bucerius

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1 WDW370H1 March 26, 2012 Lecture 10 Alternatives to Incarceration The term alternatives to incarceration doesn’t apply today as much as it did years ago.thack in 70s this terminology was more evident in research and policy. During most of the 20 century the two main ways the judicial system dealt with young people in conflict with the law - Custody was used, open and closed custody, rehabilitation was seen as the main goal. - Probation began with the JDA in early 20 century. It’s regarded as first alternative to incarceration in Canada. Young people are given non custodial punishments when they are to report to probation officers, etc that was seen as the first real alternative to incarceration back in the early 1900’s. As Canada moved on other alternatives became evident and played role In 60s and 70s had community service orders, fines but were used much, mainly cause those young people in conflict in law can’t pay it. You have victim compensation where young people pay victim for damage that was done, all the alternatives were regarded initially as just that, alternatives to incarceration, rather than custody let’s deal with their crime in the community. Stan Cohen – talked about the whole concept of these alternatives as a possibility of net widening, in other words if these alternatives were literal alternatives to incarceration then you should see numbers in people in jail go down and other numbers go up, as Cohen was saying, what was happening was a lot of young people he believed would’ve been given discharges were now being given these alternatives. So in the past when there was incarceration/probation/discharge, these judges are now giving kids who would’ve been given discharges alternatives to incarceration so it’s net widening. The net is becoming broader and more young people are being brought into the criminal justice system. Not only was the net widening, the mesh in the net was becoming narrower. By having more options for judges you have a narrower mesh… Kids are put on probation, breach their conditions and are sent back to court – breaching administrative offenses – expansion of net and social control with dealing with young offenders. This is some of the theoretical thinking that has gone behind thinking of alternatives to incarceration. Under the YCJA is the change in language from alternative measures to extrajudicial measures/sanctions, idea being here is kind of like going the opposite way of net widening because putting young people who are shallow end offenders, by putting them in extrajudicial measures they are keeping them outside of the system the number of people going to court today is lower than it was with the YOA. Swings from punitiveness, non-punitiveness, etc One of the things that’s interesting about Canada is often we compare ourselves to the US. By doing this we think of ourselves as being more civilized and less criminogenic than the united states. But not for YOA – children in Canada were held more often than in the US. In 70s policy makers started to question the whole notion if traditional programming was an effective way of dealing with recidivism. Also, cost-effectiveness. In the last 10-15 years some would say that the penal philosophy in Canada was becoming less punitive and more community oriented and example of that are conditional sentences. Rather than going to jail you are given a bracelet or other monitoring where you spend your time in your home, you are only allowed to 2 go out for employment, school, etc. that was seen as another alternative to incarceration, more cost effective than having people serve sentences in correctional facilities. There’s been other alternatives related to that that are based on ideas of: SHOCK INCARCERATION You can see origins of this way of thinking. It all began in the UK and US, after WWII a lot of military thinking reflecting on how troops did in WWII felt that soldiers weren’t physically in shape. The whole notion of physical exercise, discipline, getting troops prepared for the field was seen as something that needed to be worked on. These programs really have a military heritage that can be translated into youth system. Not long after that what’s referred to as OUTWARD BOUNDS programs developed in US on similar militaristic grounds. Kids seen as having no chance of escaping their environments, rather than putting them into jail, they were trying to pick up on kids who were seen as being at risk – kids living in high crime neighbourhoods, get these kids, remove them from this environment and put them into the wilderness. The idea being here is that these kids were brought into remote areas and they were things such as teamwork, and other idea was to have them physically fit – seen as ways to deal with minor crime and prevent crime. One of the key things there was that these kids lacked discipline. Idea was to let these kids know that to survive in society you have to cooperate and have self-discipline and control. This was seen as alternative to traditional ways of dealing with youth. Idea is that these kids are in trouble with the law because they lack discipline. These first shock incarceration programs began in US in 1970s and they were typically defined under rubric of scared straight: - Scared Straight: in 1978 there was a documentary on Rathway prison and the idea behind this program was that these kids would be bust into Rathway to meet with convicts doing life sentences. Idea is that you bring these kids to these prisons and they become scared away from crime. Even though these programs faded away to some extent they haven’t faded away from popular culture. The big claim about Rathway’s program is that 17 kids were brought in for the TV show, after they were scared they let them go and then they tracked them for a few years, found out that 16 of the 17 kids who were scared were scared straight because only one had reoffended and looking at correctional programming those kids of statistics were unheard of. It was also cost effective. For these reasons program expanded in the US into the late 70’s and early 80s. Researchers at the time began to think about well how good is this program? One researcher – FINCTIENHAUER – if you look at his research and think the program was too good to be true then his research shows that it really was too good to be true. He looked at 2000 youth from various scared straight programs and followed them. He did a more rigorous study compared to the TV show and wanted to know if results from TV program could be applied to general correctional population for young people. He found opposite results, It was found that kids were 2-3 times more likely to offend than kids in the control group that did not go to scared straight programs so it made kids more likely to reoffend. It sort of beefed up the kids’ machismo. Their attitudes became more tough and criminogenic b/c they adopted a lot of the prison culture. Why did scared straight program have such an impact? Well most of the 17 kids came from stable homes and middle class neighbourhoods, may not have actually reoffended anyway, it’s more of a selection effect. That research began to question the effectiveness of this. - This ideology of shock ideology moved it’s way to boot camps in 1980’s. Boot camps started to spring up. Boot camps were originally seen as alternative to traditional incarceration also seen as more cost effective. The reason for this is because they were 3 mostly privatized. Most boot camps were not run by state governments they were contracted out to private companies. The idea of discipline, the reason why young kids, why they break the law is because they lack discipline. Key researcher in this area was Doris Mackenzie, she did a number of meta analyses where results are ruled together to see whether or not boot camp experience is effective and the key dependent variable is recidivism. She found not a clear-cut thing. For one there’s not one boot camp in the states that is like the other, because they are priva
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