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Lecture 10

CRIM 3656 Lecture 10: March 28
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Department
Criminology
Course Code
CRIM 3656
Professor
Anna Pratt

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-restorative justice approach begins to unsettle the prison-punishment nexus -challenge that begins to pull apart the taken-for-granted assumptions about the prison- punishment nexus, but also and even more fundamentally, the conceptual link between crime and punishment Abolitionism: -a fundamental challenge to the way that imprisonment monopolizes criminal justice -informed by this moral and political conviction that social life cannot be effectively regulated by and through the criminal law and sanctions, as other ways of dealing with problematic situations need to be explored, developed, and put into practice -they criticize the taken-for-grantedness as prisons as the primary response to wrongdoings -MacLeod: rather than understanding abolitionists as simply eliminating prisons, a better understanding of abolitionism is one that sees is as a gradual project of gradual decarceration in which radically different legal and institutional regulatory forms supplant and criminal law enforcement -lies in preventive forms of justice, which entails a wide variety of initiatives and strategies that strengthen the social arm of the state: prevent the need of carceral interventions from occurring -abolitionism is both a theoretical perspective and political movement -Sudbury: details the way abolitionists have been politically active on a wide variety of reform issues -they try to improve the conditions of prisons, address issues of violence and overcrowding in prisons, but these kinds of reform might tend to appear to be at odds with a more extensive abolitionist agenda -making prisons more tolerable will legitimize it and fail to understand the taken-for-granted assumption under which prisons are based -it must be seen as a part of decarceration -we must understand the many other institutions and public policy domain that sustain the prison and the contemporary prison-punishment nexus -reform in productive tension with abolitionism -range of positions: 1) Minimalist: -the position that there should be a marked reduction in the use of prisons as a sanction of first resort, which is a view that scholars, such as Doob, advocate, who support the development of more community-based sanctions as genuine alternatives to imprisonment, rather than net-widening 2) Extreme: -abolitionists argue that there should be a drastic reduction in the reliance on prisons -they seek to challenge the assumption that prison is the normal response -the dangerous few: the small segment of offenders who are so dangerous that they need to be incarcerated -the dangerous few are vastly outnumbered by those who are non-dangerous, but are under some form of criminal supervision -encourage the use of non-custodial sanctions -2 priorities that abolitionists have committed to: 1) Efforts that seek to transform popular consciousness: impossible to imagine a world without prisons 2) Abolitionists pursue practical measures to dismantle the prison-punishment nexus -Morris: what are the arguments against prison? -4 categories: prisons are: 1) Expensive -most costly than alternatives 2) Unjust: -prisons disproportionately incarcerate poor and racialized populations 3) Immoral: -caging human beings is as harmful as those who are caged as it is to those who do the caging 4) Ineffective: -prisons have failed to achieve any of the guiding objectives of punishment -this is not only not justifiable in terms of some kind of benefit for the broader society, but it might also be counterproductive in the sense that it produces criminals -prisons are expensive, unjust, immoral, and ineffective -Thomas advocates a cap for prisons: we will never be able to think about reducing reliance on imprisonment unless there is a cap on the number of people we can send to prison -the absence of a cap will ensure that alternatives will inevitably widen the net -he proposes that if people really understood the total irrationality of prisons and that prisons are not protecting society, then we can dismantle prison..this is challenging because prisons, and the irrationality of prisons, is protected by 3 protective shields or layers: 1) Administrative: -anyone who works on the frontline of the cjs or in the administration of criminal justice -those who work in the system protect the system -a culture of loyalty exists in the organization -they are bound to protect the system 2) Intellectuals, resea
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