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CRM 102 (29)
Chapter 8


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CRM 102
Scott Clark

Chapter 8: New Right Criminology Introduction: • 60s, 70s and 80s were a time of political and social change • Political ideologies dominated and ‘law and order’emerged as an issue • This approach of crime has a populist dimension (related to political process) + academic dimension (related to criminologists) • Fundamental ideas based on 2 themes: (1) placing responsibility for crime on individual and (2) reasserting importance of punishment in response to crime Social Context: • New Right refers to particular political orientation • Conservative perspective as opposed to liberalism of strain and labelling theory • Alienation and marginalization of a significant number of people in society; associated with antisocial and deviant behaviour • By the 1980s there was a swing to the right at the level of policy formulation and development • 1980s saw emphasis on controlling union power + enhancing wealth creation • Canada’s free-trade partnership with the States in 1986/87 (CUSFTA) was finalized • Rise in ‘law and order’politics both domestically and internationally • Internationally – former concerns of human rights were replaced with the concern of drugs and terrorism • Domestically – an attack on the disorder of society • Demand for more punitive attitudes in areas of young offenders and juvenile justice • 1984 Young Offenders Act demanded that youth be held responsible for their behaviour • New Right Criminology (NRC) revolves around individuals in society + provide positive, punitive approach to issues of crime • Populism isn’t an ideology but a loosely defined mood • Basis of “us vs. them” • “Us” is viewed as virtuous, “them” being viewed as parasites, destructive to the social body • Criminal viewed outside of society – not bound by normal social rules of conduct • Populism reduces all crimes to simple solutions • Offenders are entirely responsible for their actions; not seen as members of the community • Specific groups of people are singled out; young people, aboriginals, social welfare recipients • Hogg and Brown (1998) identified key assumptions known as ‘law and order commonsense’ o Crime rates are soaring o Criminal justice is too soft on crime o Police should have more powers o Greater satisfaction of victims demands more retribution through courts • These general law and order commonsense are aspects in which electronic and print media portray crime (often sensationalized) Basic Concepts: • Main elements of NRC include combo of conservative moralizing + free market competitive ethos • NRC opposed to perspectives that emphasize treatment and reform rather punishment • Asserts that people must pay for the choices they make “if you do the crime, you do the time” • Includes several strands; some w/philosophical views regarding nature of human activity • 2 general views on nature and crime – right wing libertarianism and traditionalist conservatism Right Wing Libertarianism: • Human beings conceived as rational entities of free will • Based on moral philosophy of egoism (selfishness) – there should not be a duty not to initiate force over others • Crime defined as infringement of private property including one’s physical self • Crime as only those acts that violate natural rights of others • Cause of crime is the individual and should therefore be held responsible • Fundamentally matter of rational choice involving incentives and disincentives • Generally favours the promotion of retribution, deterrence and incapacitation in response to crime • Just deserts philosophy where punishment should be proportional to the crime • Morality is rooted in the individualistic ethos of personal responsibility and self-control • Supports the idea that security, law enforcement and prisons should be private rather than public Traditionalist Conservative: • Includes activity that n
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