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Criminal Justice System - Lecture #3

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Social Science
SOSC 2652
Anna Pratt

CRIM 2652 (CJS) – LECTURE #3: Misperceptions and Origins – Overview of Crithnal Justice September 20 , 2012 Introduction: - Social production of moral indifference  Willingness to inflict pain – different from ourselves  The production of indifference facilitated by gender, racial and class divides Politics, Crime and the Media: - Media coverage:  Tends to focus on sensational, violent crimes  Brief stories – few details on actual case  Focus on offence Police reported Crime Rate (1962-2011) - Crime rates are decreasing steadily since the 1990s - Police reported crime severity index (2001-2011)  shows that the severity is decreasing - Homicides and attempted murders increased in 2011 - Major assault increasing, robbery decreasing - Police reported youth crimes: decreasing since 2009 Misperceptions: - Incarceration - Corrections - Parole - Success rates of parolees - Costs of incarceration compared with community based supervision s Sentencing: - Public tends to underestimate the severity of sentencing imposed - Public overestimates the crime control effects of harsher sentencing  Case attrition Mandatory Minimums: - No effect on crime rates through deterrence - No effect on sentencing disparity - Increase prison populations - Increase costs (prisons and trials) Conditional Sentences: - S. 742: a convicted person who would otherwise be sentenced to incarceration for a period of less than 2 years can be sentenced to a conditional term of imprisonment to be served in the community instead of in custody - Further restricted in Bill C-10 - Costly – estimated $100 million per year - Increase prison populations (overcrowding, double-bunking, keeping order) Official Version of Law: - Impartial - Neutral - Objective - System of resolving conflict - "divorced from politics, morals and systems of belief, law's task is to discern 'the facts' and find truth of any given matter placed before it" - Naffine, 1990 - Adversarial System - Separation of Powers (legislature and judiciary) - Rule of Law:  Everyone is subject to the law  Everyone is equal before the law - "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France, 1894
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