Criminal Justice Essay

1467 words - 6 pages

For this assignment I decided on the article “‘Nothing’ Works: Sentencing ‘Reform’ in Canada and the United States” by Michael Tonry for my first topic on sentencing. The journal was published in October 2013 and provided by the “Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice.” The article ““Prison Will Either Make Ya or Break Ya”: Punishment, Deterrence, and the Criminal Lifestyle” by Beverly Crank and Timothy Brezina was chosen to represent my second topic on prisons and jails. In August 2012 this article was offered by the journal “Deviant Behavior.”
The first article studies the United States and Canada sentencing progression, or a failure to progress would be a better choice of ...view middle of the document...

As a result, the prisons and jails are overcrowding, racial disparities are worsening, and many repeat offenders are living his or her life in and out of jail. With the original sentencing policies, there was less of an opportunity for discrimination, but more focus on alternative punishments such as a treatment program. Canada does still have discrimination but not nearly as much as America because the view of crime is considerably different in the two countries. Canada tends to take human rights more seriously, which could be why they decided to take a separate path than America. No one really knows what would happen if the United States made minimal changes to the sentencing laws, but studies make it seem likely that it would cause a dramatic decrease in the role favoritism plays in the court room. So after about forty years of changing policies and taking new correctional approaches, the justice system still cannot find a way to equally appoint the right punishments without discriminating against different people, but it is getting better with time. Taking small steps cautiously is what research shows to be best, so rather than piling on the new policies, maybe sitting back and changing one thing at a time would be the smartest approach and this way society can see improvement over time. Some argue that no matter what we do, nothing is going to work, meaning that you cannot satisfy everyone because each person has his or her own way of viewing crime and rights.
I decided on this article because I found it interesting that the three strikes law was so controversial. I never thought of it as having negative effects on society because it seems as if it would benefit society in most situations since the offenders did not learn the lesson the first time, but after reading this article it makes much more sense why it is a negative thing. If I am ever involved a policy adjustment, whether it be in the workplace or anywhere else, I will definitely consider both sides of the situation, changing it or not because while everyone may think it is to benefit everyone, the policy maker could be trying to gain authority. There is almost always negative and positive effects involved in the revision of a policy and some may not realize that the real reason it is being changed is to benefit certain people such as in this article, the legislators were changing and adding laws to put themselves in more control over the sentencing. This would be classified as the Social Conflict Theory which states that crimes are defined in way that meet the needs of those who control society. In a sense, the legislators would be the ones who control society in this situation because the judges and parole officers could always be as lenient as they wanted, but now the legislators were making laws to increase prison sentences for offenses of their choice.
The second article I chose reflected on life in prison and how the prison lifestyle is not viewed as badly by some criminals...

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