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Criminology Prosecution & Punishment. Does the greater use of imprisonment reduce crime? Views of criminologists Views of politicians and members of the.

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Presentation on theme: "Criminology Prosecution & Punishment. Does the greater use of imprisonment reduce crime? Views of criminologists Views of politicians and members of the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Criminology Prosecution & Punishment

2 Does the greater use of imprisonment reduce crime? Views of criminologists Views of politicians and members of the public >consequences of the views of politicians and the public

3 Two most important issues for a sociological understanding of criminal justice The extent to which social inequality affects the exercise of legal discretion……. the extent to which reliance on the criminal justice system can reduce crime………

4 Prosecution & Punishment The actual behavior of people in organizations often differs from the formal procedures required by the organizations. The criminal courts are no different from other work settings: they often don't operate as they are supposed to.

5 Prosecution & Punishment The adversary system is largely a myth, because most cases are plea- bargained; in fact, the courts feature much more cooperation than combat between prosecutors and public defenders.

6 Plea Bargaining Critics have charged that rampant plea-bargaining actually denies defendants due process. Heavy caseloads burden prosecutors, public defenders, and other defense attorneys, and judges alike.

7 Courtroom Work Group The courtroom work group, consisting of all three parties realizes the best thing for everyone is to resolve the case as quickly as possible through a guilty plea; plea bargaining accounts for up to 90 percent of all guilty verdicts

8 Courtroom Work Group To decide which cases to drop, prosecutors in their initial screening decisions compare cases against an ideal that will ensure conviction; this ideal is known as the “strong” or “solid” case.

9 Courtroom Work Group The courtroom work group benefits from plea bargaining and, contrary to popular opinion, defendants who plead guilty to serious offenses typically receive long prison terms.

10 An Administrative System of Justice most criminal justice experts characterize the system as administrative rather than adversarial.

11 Durkheim and Punishment Based on Durkheim’s classic analyses, more advanced societies rely on organic solidarity, deriving from the interdependence of multiple roles. When deviance occurs in these societies, they engage in restitutive law marked by an interest in restoring relationships to their previous state.

12 Durkheim & Punishment Societies that rely on organic solidarity typically develop prisons as a substitute for physical punishment. A society’s social structure influences its type of punishment.

13 The Role of Inequality Inequality in society is a central influence on the type and severity of punishment: Legal punishment becomes a mechanism for the ruling class to preserve its power by controlling the poor, people of color, and other subordinate groups.

14 The Role of Inequality The clearest class disparity in legal outcomes is seen comparing poor defendants accused of street crime with much wealthier defendants accused of white-collar crime. Poor defendants accused of street crime are much more likely to be incarcerated.

15 The Role of Inequality the criminal courts are fundamentally courts against the poor.

16 Research Race & Ethnicity Consensus Theory Conflict Theory John Hagan Liberation Hypothesis

17 Gender & Sentencing

18 “Get Tough” Policies on Crime Has it impacted crime?


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