Study Guides (248,425)
Canada (121,528)
York University (10,209)
Criminology (158)
CRIM 3656 (6)

CRIM 3656 exam notes

22 Pages
Unlock Document

CRIM 3656
Robin Metcalfe

CRIM 3656 Introduction – prison reform or prison abolition? – Angela Davis − The prison is considered so natural that it is extremely hard to imagine life without it − Larger prison populations does not lead to safer communities but rather to even larger prison populations − As the U.S. prison system expands so does corporate involvement in construction, provision of goods & services, & use of prison labour − This can be referred to as the prison industrial complex − Consider the case of California whose landscape has been thoroughly prisonized over the last twenty years − The expansion of prisons in California can be seen as a geographical solution to socio – economic problems − These developments are a response to surpluses of capital, land, labor & state capacity − People believed that prisons would not only reduce crime, they would also provide jobs & stimulate economic development in out – of – the – way places − People tend to take prisons for granted but at the same time, there is reluctance to face the realities hidden within them, a fear of thinking about what happens inside them − Thus the prison is present in our lives and at the same time it is absent from our lives − We take prisons for granted but are often afraid to face the realities they produce – ideology is shaped in the way we interact with our social surroundings - social phenomenon then − No one wants to go to prison & no one wants to imagine the possibility that anyone, including ourselves could become a prisoner so we tend to think of the prison as disconnected from our lives − We thus think about imprisonment as a fate reserved for others, a fate reserved for the “evildoers” − Because of the persistent power of racism, criminals & evildoers are in the collective imagination, perceived as people of colour − The prison therefore functions ideologically as an abstract site into which undesirables are deposited relieving us of the responsibility of thinking about the real issues afflicting those communities from which prisoners are drawn in such disproportionate numbers − This is the ideological work that the prison performs – it relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society especially those produced by racism & increasingly global capitalism − Prison industrial complex – the prison has become a black hole into which contemporary capitalism is deposited − Mass imprisonment generates profits as it devours social wealth & thus it tends to reproduce the very conditions that lead people to prison − More prisons were needed because there was more crime yet many scholars have demonstrated that by the time the prison construction began official crime statistics were already falling − So why do we take prisons for granted? – partial answer has to do with the way we consume media images of the prison even as the realities of imprisonment are hidden from almost all who haven’t done time − Our sense of familiarity with the prison comes in part from representations of prisons in film & other visual media − The prison is wedded to our experience of visuality, creating also a sense of its permanence as an institution − The prison is one of the most important features of our image environment, has caused us to take the existence of prisons for granted − The prison has become a key ingredient of our common sense – it is there all around us − Most difficult & urgent challenge today is that of creatively exploring new terrains of justice, where the prison no longer serves as our major anchor Efficiency & decency – Christie Nils − Societies of the Western type face two major problems: wealth is everywhere unequally distributed, so is access to paid work − The crime control industry is suited for coping with both – it provides profit & work while at the same time producing control of those who otherwise might have disturbed the social process − The crime control industry has particular advantages – providing weapons for what is often seen as permanent war against crime – belief in being war is one strong driving force behind the development − We are in a situation with an urgent need for discussion on how large the system of formal control can be allowed to grow − Thoughts, values, ethics – and not industrial drive, must determine the limits of control, the question of when enough is enough − The size of the prison population is a result of decisions – we are free to choose − It is only when we are not aware of this freedom that the economic/material conditions are given free reign − Crime is an endless supply − The major dangers of crime in modern societies are not the crimes but that the fight against them may lead societies towards totalitarian developments − Crime is created – fist there are acts, then follows a long process of giving meaning to these acts − Social distance is of particular importance, distance increases the tendency to give certain acts the meaning of being crimes & the persons the simplified meaning of being criminals − We live in a new situation – with an unlimited reservoir of acts which can be defined as crimes, also creates unlimited possibilities for warfare against all sorts of unwanted acts The causes & consequences of prison growth in the United States – Marc Mauer Policy changes & incarceration − in tracing the landscape of change in criminal justice policy that has contributed to the growing use of imprisonment the most significant area of examination is sentencing policy − we see a shift toward the use of determinate sentencing in a variety of forms & the consequences on power relationships within the court system − the movement toward determinate sentencing quickened in the 1980s & continues through the present, with much of it intimately intertwined with the war on drugs − despite crime rates declining, prison populations have continued their seemingly climb – harsh sentencing policies is clearly a key factor Understanding the tough on crime movement − in the early 1970s the nation was confronted with a rising rate of crime, it was hardly preordained then that mass incarceration was the only or the most effective approach possible to respond to the problem − a national commitment to address the root causes of crime would have been an alternative policy approach, indeed efforts in this direction were already underway – the War on Poverty, the development of the Head Start program and the orientation toward drug treatment all contained elements of an approach with a greater social welfare orientation − several factors contributed to the ‘get tough’ climate that began in the 1970s & then continued in the following decades 1) politicization of crime – addressing crime moved from a local issue to a pubic one with the problem of ‘crime in the streets’ & the appeal for ‘law & order’ 2) American culture of individualism – the much greater American emphasis on individual as opposed to collective approaches to social welfare created a receptive climate for harsh prison policies - the promotion of more collective approaches to social problems is less enforced in the American political culture – makes it simpler to conceptualize solutions that punish individual behaviour rather than addressing underlying contributors to crime 3) growing conservative political climate – getting tough on criminals is consistent with increasingly harsh attitudes & polices toward welfare recipients, immigrants & other politically unpopular & marginalized groups − problems with reform strategy: − 1) misplaced emphasis on rational analysis - much of the work that has been done to advance the reform agenda has focused on the development of factual analyses that argue that the cost – benefits of mass imprisonment are quite modest particularly in comparison with other policy options − 2) misunderstanding of public opinion dynamics - there is little room in the political arena for such a wide – ranging presentation of alternatives - while alternative options may be significant in a local courtroom looking at real offenders & real sentencing options, they are generally too complex to fit into the political debate which rarely allows for more than competing get tough proposals − 3) misunderstanding media dynamics - powerful imagery of television, the nation continues to be flooded with a relentless assault of nightly crime stories regardless of whether crime is rising or falling - the visual & emotional impact of television is on a different order that the more constrained images of the print media - Many of the television’s drama shows contribute to the portrayal of violence that reinforces these images − Each of these factors have been critical in thwarting the reform agenda − The most significant change within the criminal justice system is the loss of the individual in the sentencing process as determinate sentencing & other reforms have taken us from an offender- based to an offense – based system − Reformers have in fact made considerable progress in recent years but if we are to see more overreaching chancing in the landscape two types of strategic approaches need to be considered − 1) reform efforts need to include broader constituencies – these might include education leaders concerned about the diversion of funding to prisons, religious leaders raising moral concerns & family members in communities heavily impacted by incarceration − 2) it will be necessary to convey an overarching vision of how to move from a punitive response to crime to a problem – solving orientation − Concept of restorative justice has made substantial headway in recent years − Holds the possibility of moving us away from a zero – sum game that pits the supposed interests of one against the interest of the other Introduction & the expanding prison – David Cayley − Officially prisons exist to protect society, a prison term is given to deter someone who has broken the criminal law from doing so again & to discourage others by his example − The idea that having been in prison deters people from offending again is refuted by universally high rates of recidivism − Since 1992 – Canadian law allows the parole board, under the advice of the Correctional Service of Canada (csc) to hold an offender deemed “dangerous” until the very end of his sentence rather than giving him the normal statutory release after doing two – thirds of his time − The law was intended to serve the public’s fear of dangerous offenders − However it is difficult to predict dangerousness – it is not easy to foresee who will reoffend in the future − Imprisonment does not actually enhance safety but it does 3 things: − 1) they provide a dumping ground for unwanted people − 2) they subject convicts to surroundings whose harshness appears to pay them back or/balance out their crimes − 3) they signify to the public that something has been done − Functions of imprisonment are costly in several ways – the prison as the bottom rung of the welfare system is extremely expensive − The general effect of imprisonment as a system of ostracization & lifelong stigmatization is to foster defensive criminal subcultures among the inmates − In a vicious cycle, the institution intended to make society safer actually makes it more dangerous − Levels of crime & levels of imprisonment show no regular or predictable relationship − Crime alone does not drive prison rates − Prison numbers reflect political decisions about what constitutes crime & how it should be punished − Certain acts are universally accepted as crime but beyond this, political societies exercise considerable discretion concerning what they penalize & what they tolerate − How acts of crime is penalized depends on the enactments of legislatures, the practices of the police, the decisions of judges & parole boards, the biases of news media, and the social atmosphere in which all these agencies go about their work − The collapse of communism as an external enemy has produced a new awareness of internal enemies − The ethos of the prison spreads beyond the prison’s walls – the violence prone to prison life returns to the streets with the released offender, setting up the vicious cycle as mentioned before − Prisons foster the very behaviour they purport to control & so justify their own expansion − Today when crime is discussed there is a disturbing enthusiasm for the expansion of penal control, as if punishment were no longer a necessary evil but had become a desired good − Crime control has become a self – justifying growth industry engaged in a thrilling “war against crime” & war imagery has injured citizens to the idea that crime is committed by a special class of moral monsters who deserve no better than they get − Sensitivity to suffering has been dulled & resistance to imposing suffering has been weakened − The danger is that contemporary societies will increasingly practise imprisonment in what amounts to a concentration – camp model & that prisons will simply become holding pens from which nothing more is expected than efficient containment − Today we take the criminal justice system for granted – the glorification of the judge as a demigod in robes, the complex procedural rules, the emphasis on isolating & defining criminal acts, the adversarial character of the trial, etc. − The dissatisfaction with the existing institutions of criminal justice has led to the creation of a number of new forums in which criminal acts can be dealt with − New Zealand for ex – produced the family group conference – all parties to a conflict involving a young offender seek a resolution in an open assembly moderated by a justice official − Canadian aboriginal communities have submitted criminal cases to sentencing circles in which all concerned members of the community are invited to contribute to a disposition − All of these forms have certain features in common – they seek noncustodial settlements, they allow both the offender & the victim much more initiative, they are oriented more to peacemaking than punishment & they try to mobilize the capacities of families, friends & local communities − All have also proved themselves in practice – New Zealand has radically reduced the number of youth in custody, victim offender mediation is successful in Winnipeg, etc. − These alternatives to criminal justice are all rooted in the renewal of an old view of justice as peacemaking rather than retribution − Offenders are seen as neither wholly wicked nor as wholly excusable − Punishing those who have never known justice will not make them act justly in future − Imprisonment will sometimes be necessary in the interests of public safety but it should be used only when diligent efforts at reform & repair have failed − Christie’s social distance – where people are relatively close to each other & relatively equal in status they will have to be very careful about solving conflicts with power − When authority is distant & immune from immediate consequences, more punitive solutions become possible − Social production of moral indifference as well – those who misinterpret their experience may treat prisoners more harshly than those who had gotten closer to the prisoners – story of Norwegian prison guards & Yugoslavian prisoners − Crime became a lightening rod for anxiety − Governments declared war on crime & the first such war was the war on drugs − The war on drugs has had many consequences - catching, convicting, an imprisoning people for drug crime is immensely expensive − It establishes an immensely lucrative illegal economy which leads to a reign of terror on the streets and tempts entrepreneurs to tap this instant wealth rather than applying themselves to the economic regeneration of their communities − The war on drugs has also played a terrible role in aggravating racial conflict in the US − African Americans have always been overrepresented in American prisons − The war on drugs has increasingly taken on the aspect of a covert war on black America − “the line dividing good and evil, cuts through the heart of every human being” The body of the condemned – Foucault Foucault begins by comparing a public execution from 1757 to an account of prison rules from 1837. The shifts between the two reveal how new codes of law and order developed. One important feature is the disappearance of torture; the body of the criminal disappeared from view. Punishment as spectacle disappeared; the exhibition of prisoners, the pillory and the public execution ended. Now, the certainty of punishment, and not its horror, deters one from committing a crime. Conviction marks the prisoner; publicity shifts towards the trial and the sentence. A theoretical realignment occurs. Sentences are now intended to correct and improve. A sense of shame about punishment develops along with this. Punishment no longer touched the body. If it did, it was only to get at something beyond the body: the soul. New figures took over from the executioner, such as doctors, psychiatrists, chaplains and warders. Executions were made painless by drugs. The elimination of pain and the end of spectacle were linked. Machines like the guillotine, which kills almost without touching the body, were intended to be impersonal and painless. Between 1830 and 1848, public executions ended. This was an irregular, delayed process, however. A trace of torture remained because it is difficult to imagine what a non- corporal punishment would be. The penalty now addressed the soul. Although the definition of crimes changed, some elements remained the same. Judgment was now passed on the motives, passions and instincts of the criminal, not only punishing but also supervising and directing the individual. Offenses became objects of scientific knowledge. The development of a new penal system in Europe led to the soul of the criminal as well as the crime being judged. The power to punish becomes fragmented. Psychiatrists now decide on a criminal's medico-legal treatment. The adoption of these non-legal elements meant that the judge is not the only one who acts or judges. This book is a genealogy of the modern soul and the power to judge. It follows four general rules: one) to regard punishment as a complex social function; two) to regard punishment as a political tactic; three) to see whether the history of penal law and of the human sciences are linked; four) to try to find in changes in penal techniques a political technology of the body and a general history of changing power relations. We need to situate punishment within systems of production and the political economy of the body. Historians have yet to consider the body as a subject of political power or power relations. The body is subjected to a body of knowledge; this is the political technology of the body. A "micro-physics" of power operates; power is a strategy, and we need to decipher it in a system of relations that can be called political anatomy. Power is not a property but a strategy evident in the relations between people. Power relations operate and exist through people. They go right down into society. We need to realize that power and knowledge are related. We should think of the body politic as a series of routes and weapons by which power operates. A history of the micro-physics of power is an element in the genealogy of the modern soul. Upon the idea of the "soul", concepts of the psyche, personality and consciousness are created, as well as scientific techniques and claims. This is not a substitution of the soul for the real man; now, the soul is the prison of the body. Foucault ends by relating his commitment to modern prisoners, and to writing a history of the present. Analysis The beginning of this section is typical of Foucault: he characteristically began his works with a shocking image to attract the reader's attention. The horror of Damiens's 1757 execution shows that this is an unusual kind of history book. Foucault draws heavily on contemporary documents, like the two at the beginning, but goes beyond this to construct a complicated theoretical argument. This argument will chart the movement between the public execution and the modern prison. The body-soul shift is central to Discipline and Punish. For Foucault, the body has a real existence, but the "modern soul" is a recent invention. There are limits to how you can punish the body, as the execution at the beginning demonstrates, but the soul allows new possibilities. Firstly, it allows you to consider why the crime occurred; the motives that drive the criminal become knowable, and the subject of investigation. Secondly, it becomes possible to consider the criminal beyond the crime and its punishment. Instead of inflicting a painful penalty, or killing him, it becomes possible to supervise and investigate him. The shift from body to soul also marks the end of the public idea of punishment, because whilst the body has to be tortured in public, the soul is a private thing. Foucault's idea of the fragmentation of judgment is related to the shift away from the body. When a criminal is condemned to be executed, the judge alone passes the sentence. When he is sent to prison, he is also evaluated by doctors and psychiatrists. The rise of what Foucault calls the human sciences is a personal preoccupation, found throughout his work. Psychiatry, social work, medicine and other professions assess and judge people according to standards called norms: they ultimately decide what is "normal" and "abnormal". This involves judging not a crime but a person, making decisions about his sanity, his treatment, and even when he should be released. According to Foucault, the modern world has given the important power to judge to a shadowy body of professionals whose role is sometimes uncertain. This section is also an introduction to Foucault's methodology. The reference to genealogy is vitally important here. It represents the idea of writing a history that reveals struggles, discontinuities and the role of the individual. Discourses such as that of modern punishment define what it is possible to say and do about certain things. People are in a sense trapped inside them, but Foucault aims to give them a voice and help them to resist. In Discipline and Punish, he writes in order free prisoners not from their cells but from the discourses that helped to create them. His argument is that when the power to judge shifted to a judgment about normal and abnormal, the modern soul was formed. The prisoner or delinquent with an abnormal soul is defined against the normal majority. In showing how the prisoner is oppressed, Foucault wants to show us what is wrong with the modern soul in general. Of the four straightforward rules for this investigation, the fourth is the most interesting. The techniques applied to the prisoner and our attitudes to him show the ways in which power operates in society. The knowledge possessed by prison warders and psychiatrists creates a certain "technology of power." Foucault's metaphors are drawn from science and industry, but he is also clear that economic and social circumstances are important. The reference to systems of production (the means of making and creating products and capital) is from Marx. Foucault's discussion of power is central to Discipline and Punish. He thinks that power is a strategy, or a game not consciously played by individuals but one that operates within the machinery of society. Power affects everyone, from the prisoner to the prison guard, but no one individual can "control" it. The remarks about the soul being the prison of the body reflect Foucault's love of contradictions, but they also make a deeper point. The body is imprisoned because people can be controlled by sciences directed at the soul, such as psychiatry. Foucault attempts to chart a move from a situation where the criminal's body is attacked, to one where we are all disciplined and controlled. Finally, Foucault's role in the prison reform movement is an important context for this section: he helped to run the French Groupe d'information sur les Prisons (GIP) in the 1970s. The group distributed information on prisons to the public, and was concerned with letting prisoners speak for themselves. In a way, Foucault sees Discipline and Punish as a theoretical counterpart to the work he carried out in practice. The Liberal Veil: Revisiting Canadian Penality - Dawn Moore & Kelly Hannah-Moffa − The Canadian model of punishment operates under a liberal veil & is increasingly popular & far removed from the kind of punishment described through the punitive turn thesis − Historical accounts of practices of punishment in North America typically cite 4 eras: rehabilitation, retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation − Ontario’s penal policy has a schizophrenic vision – it employs rhetoric & practice − The rhetoric is to be tough on crime & have truth in sentencing but those involved in carrying out this rhetoric in practice (the bureaucrats) are also committed to rehabilitation − So they find a way to satisfy the government’s need for tough on crime while maintaining on some level of practice, rehabilitation to working with & changing individual prisoners − While at the level of rhetoric Ontario’s penality clearly adopts a more punitive ideology, the practices are not best understood as punitive − Theorists argue that the ascendance of neoliberal regimes has given rise to new forms of targeted governance − Correctional interventions are now targeted – speak of interventions that target criminogenic needs − Neoliberalism is best described through its emphasis on individuality – both the federal & provincial penal system place a good deal of emphasis on the centrality of the individual within the context of individual choice making − Emphasis draws on two themes: individuals can & should able to make rational choices & that individuals must take personal responsibility for the choices they make − The notion of choice is present in just about every facet of penal programming in Canada − Those incarcerated in the federal system in Canada are supposed to be taught how to make pro – social choices that are personally resonant, largely around the ways in which they will conduct themselves while in prison − This notion of choice making also translates into notions of personal responsibility − Individual offenders must take responsibility for their past actions as well as their future changes − The liberalism of Canadian punishment is a veil underneath which remains an extremely punitive system From Nothing Works to What Works: Changing Professional Ideology in the 21st Century –  Francis Cullen The authors explore changes over time in criminologists' “professional ideology”—a core set of underlying beliefs that focuses academic thinking along certain lines but not others. Until the late 1960s, criminologists believed that the scientific study of the causes of crime would form the basis of individualized treatments that would reduce offender recidivism. By the mid-1970s, this view had collapsed and had been replaced by a professional ideology emphasizing that “nothing works” in corrections, that the causes of criminality are structural, and that crime can only be reduced through social justice. Although not without its merits, the authors suggest that this professional ideology has had the unfortunate consequence of legitimating “knowledge destruction” (showing what does not work) as the core intellectual project of criminology and thus of undermining efforts at “knowledge construction” (showing what does work). A “what works” movement within corrections, however, is advancing an alternative professional ideology that, once again, endorses the use of science to solve crime-related problems. The authors believe that, if embraced, this vision will improve criminology as a discipline and contribute more than “nothing works” scholarship to the commonweal of both offenders and the public order. Modernity in Decisions – Christie Nils − Reasons for not including social factors in the sentencing table are solidly based in the ideology of ‘just deserts’ − The main content of this idea is that punishments ought to reflect the blameworthiness of criminal acts − The less social factors are included in the account, the clearer the relation becomes between the concrete act & the punishment − It becomes a most useful theory for fast justice & a depersonalization of the offender during the penal process − Against sentencing tables – sense of depersonalization – creates distance from the person to be sentenced The Traditional justifications − Backward looking/ desert based justifications: - classical retribution - the state has both a right & a duty to punish in the sense of inflicting unpleasant consequences upon an offender in response to her offence to the extent that by reason she deserves that punishment - the lex talionis – an eye for an eye - the lex talionis offers no real arguments about why we should punish in the first place, it makes it clear we shall have to look further for an explanation of the principle of desert central to the retributivist tradition - the culpabilit
More Less

Related notes for CRIM 3656

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.