Crime and Punishment Analysis Paper Example

The retributive and utilitarian approaches to punishment are basically two different views on punishment, based on philosophical schools of thought. Western society has a long tradition of punishing criminal offenders. Historically, offenders were banished, exiled, killed, or tortured (Schmalleger and Smykla, 73) . Contemporary sentencing of offenders is still intimately associated with historical notions of punishment. Crimes are frequently seen as deserving of punishment. We often hear it said that the criminal must pay a debt to society or that criminals deserve to be punished.

John Conrad puts it another way: “The punishment of the criminal is the collective reaction of the community to the wrong that has been done. ” Conrad further says, “It is the offender’s lot to be punished. ” Basically, utilitarian can be defined as “the principle that the highest objective of public policy is the greatest happiness for the largest number of people. ” (Schmalleger and Smykla, 60) The three utilitarian approaches, which will be addressed, are deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation.

First, we will discuss the differences between the retributive and utilitarian approaches to punishment. In 1764, Beccaria published an essay titled On Crimes and Punishments. It was one of the most important essays on law of the 18th Century. In his essay, Beccaria outlined a utilitarian approach to punishment, suggesting that “some punishments can never be justified because they are more evil than any good they might produce. The use of torture to obtain confessions falls into that category. ” ((Schmalleger and Smykla, 58) Utilitarian punishment includes protecting society, rehabilitation, and deterrence.

By contrast, retribution involves the payment of a debt to both the victim and society and, thus, atonement for a person’s offense. In essence, it is getting even with the offender. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 74) Today, this is the basis of much of the punishment schemes in the United States. Deterrence is one of the goals of punishment. As a society, want criminals to think about what will happen to them should they break the law. We want to deter them from breaking it. It is based on the pleasure-pain principle.

It is assumed that we would rather feel pleasure, rather than the pain of punishment, thus we are deterred from committing the crime. When one is punished, it is an example to others not to commit the same offense. For a punishment to be an effective deterrent, it must be swift, sure, and sufficiently severe. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 76) Incapacitation is a second issue of an effective utilitarian approach. Many believe that the huge increase in the number of correctional clients has helped lower the crime rate by incapacitating more criminals.

Many criminals are in jails and prisons, and others are parole and probation. This incapacitation restrains offenders from committing additional crimes by isolating them from society, or, in the case of parole and probation, keeping a close eye on their activities. A report by the National Center for Policy Analysis, observed that a “major reason for [the] reduction in crime is that crime has become more costly to the perpetrators. The likelihood of going to prison for committing any type of major crime has increased substantially. ” (Schmalleger and Smykla, 76)

Studies show that incarceration is cost-effective, especially for career criminals, by saving money in society that their crimes would cause. One study conducted by Zedlewski used a RAND Survey on currently incarcerated inmates, and showed that the majority of criminals would be committing anywhere between 187 and 287 crimes each year if not behind bars. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 76) Rehabilitation is self-explanatory. The goal is to reform the criminal, so he does not want to commit future crimes. Prisons offer treatment programs, and the like, however, they are not mandated.

Our society is more geared toward retribution than rehabilitation. The trend today is for harsher punishments, and more the ‘just deserts’ theory. True rehabilitation would offer prisoners all help needed to assure that they did not need or desire to commit more crimes. An example of this would be treating the sexual offender. Another example would be training the uneducated thief, so they didn’t feel the need to steal in the future. Unfortunately, even once released from prisons, rehabilitation isn’t easily continued. Parole and probation officers just don’t have the time to properly oversee their charges.

Inerestingly, incarcerated women are more likely to seek rehabilitative programs in prison than men are. While 55% of women seek rehab, only 20% of men do. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 341) One of the problems with rehabilitation programs, which, of course, requires following the rules, is directly against the ‘prisoners code’. Prisoners fear retribution if they break the unwritten rules set by the prisoner population. Conservatives and Liberals have different views on the goals of the penal system. In the Conservative view, the following quote was found: “Lock them up and we’ll forget about them.

” (Woodstock Report, 61) Another article cited the Conservative view as “promoting the death penalty and longer prison terms. ” This article was based on the platforms of Liberal H. Clinton and Conservative Congressman Lazio. (Perez-Pena, New York Times, 6/2004) Another article cited conservatives as wanting to build more and more prisons, even to house non-violent prisoners. (Lackoff, 1999) Of course, the conservative is going to be much more supportive of a retribution view. Google defines a Conservative as follows: • resistant to change • opposed to liberal reforms

• cautious: avoiding excess; “a conservative estimate” • button-down: unimaginatively conventional; “a colorful character in the buttoned-down, dull-grey world of business”- Newsweek • a person who has conservative ideas or opinions • bourgeois: conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class; “a bourgeois mentality” Liberal views, on the other hand, are more based on the reasons behind crimes, and finding of solutions. Google defines a liberal as: • broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness; • “a broad political stance”; “generous and broad sympathies”;

• “a liberal newspaper”; “tolerant of his opponent’s opinions” • having political or social views favoring reform and progress • tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition • a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties (Google Web Definitions-liberal) You are more likely to hear a liberal call for more reasons behind the crimes, such as poverty and abuse. The liberal is much more likely to support a utilitarian view. The liberal is looking for prison reform, which includes rehabilitation and education.

(Chris, Talk Left 7/04) Educational and vocational programs for inmates are important for jail management. One purpose of them, though, is not based on being in prison at all. Many probation programs require training, for instance, which leaves prison space available for the more violent offender. This is a form of intermediate sanction, and used for low-risk, non-violent prisoners. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 159) As far as programs such as those listed above inside the prison, there are many reasons why they are important. Many jail inmates have poor reading skills.

National studies show that more than 40 percent of all jail inmates have less than a ninth-grade education. They also have substance abuse problems and few job skills. They frequently cannot find jobs after they are released or only low-paid or temporary work, As a result, they often return to a life of crime. Too many jails simply warehouse inmates and care little about education or job skills. It costs taxpayers money to provide educational services to jail inmates—the same people who already have financially and psychologically burdened society through their crimes. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 226)

Educational programs do have benefits, however, that make them worthwhile. One indication of success can be seen in the New York State Department of Correctional Services (NYSDOCS) 1996 Annual Report of the Academic and Vocational Program. Of those inmates who entered the system with no degree, 49% came in with reading scores below the fifth grade level. Upon release, 49% had reading scores at the 8. 0 grade equivalent or above. This report also shows success in vocational education, with 9,873 inmates earning 23,396 job titles and 16 apprenticeship certificates while saving the department $7.

25 million in “live work” projects. (LoPinto, Adulted) The bottom line for judging the success of correctional education is, obviously, the reduction of recidivism. In a 1989 study, NYSDOCS reported that, “Overall, the offenders who earned a GED while incarcerated returned at a considerably lower rate (34%) than those offenders who did not earn a GED while incarcerated (39. 1%) For inmates successfully completing one or more courses per each six months of their prison term, 35. 5% recidivated, compared to 44. 1% of those who successfully completed no courses during their prison term.

” (LoPinto, Adulted) There are both advantages and disadvantages on jail accreditation, however. The following is a list of obstacles: 1. Over-crowding and a lack of funding and material 2. Prison life with its routines of lock-downs, counts, and hearings 3. Peer pressure 4. Tensions between security and education staff 5. Public ambivalence toward rehabilitation, as exhibited by the fact that parole boards rarely give weight to an inmate’s efforts at rehabilitation, and consider the incident offense as the sole determiner for granting release 6.

The 1994 crime bill, which effectively killed post-secondary education, programs in prisons by removing grant money from college programs. Statistically, the US Department of Education has stated that 65 percent of inmates are illiterate. And, they go down from there, as detailed below. The average inmate: 1. Is functionally illiterate 2. Probably is learning disabled 3. Never held a steady job 4. Had problems with arrests as a juvenile 5. Has had a substance abuse problem 6. Came from a dysfunctional home with a history of abuse 7. Has not gone beyond the 10th grade (LoPinto, Adulted)

The inmate well might find that they have problems finding jobs once released from prison as well. It is very difficult for a convicted felon to find a job that is anything but low-paying. Still, even with the obstacles, education in prisons is a good thing, as it does provide the inmate with something constructive to do, and a means of assuring that they have minimum skills when they are released. Vocational programs are also a good means for training prisoners to be self-sufficient without crime upon their release. Female prisoners have entirely different needs than male prisoners.

Many prisons don’t sufficiently realize these differences. Many female prisoners develop ‘psuedo-families’ with other prisoners. This, in large, is because women by nature are nurturing, and need that resemblance to a traditional family unit. The female inmates become just as close with their ‘family’ as they would be with a family on the outside. Another consideration with women is the issue of children. Many incarcerated women have children, and prisons are working more on keeping parents in contact with their children while in prison.

(Schmalleger and Smykla, 375) Male prisoners, in contrast, don’t form the ‘family’ as their female counterparts do Instead, male prisoners tend to live by a ‘prison code of honor’ . They maintain their identity through power. There is a large gang structure in male prison settings. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 364) Prisons are also filled with special needs inmates. A special needs inmate is one that suffers from any type of mental issue. According to recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics about inmates in state correctional facilities, a reported 17,354 (1.

6 percent) are under 24-hour mental health care; 137,492 (12. 9 percent) receive therapy or counseling; and 105,403 (9. 6 percent) are prescribed psychotropic medications.. (Tahir, Corrections Today) Of course, these inmates often are the ones that cause problems in the prison system. They are often disruptive, and require more time from the correctional officers. Other special needs inmates are those that are physically ill or handicapped. First-Generation Jails: First-generation jails were built in a linear design that dates back to the 18th century.

In a typical first-generation jail, inmates live in multiple-occupancy cells or dorms. The cells line corridors that are arranged like spokes. Inmate supervision is sporadic, as the staff must patrol the corridors to observe inmates in their cells. Contact between jailers and inmates are minimal unless there is a problem. The design of linear jails reflects the assumption that inmates are violent and destructive, will destroy jail property, and try to escape. The facility is designed to prevent these behaviors. Heavy metal bars separate staff from inmates. Reinforced metal beds, sinks, and toilets are bolted to the ground or wall.

Reinforced concrete and razor wire surround the facility. The major problem with first-generation jails is the inability of an officer to see what is going on in more than one or two cells at a time. That limitation is why the second-generation jails of the l960’s were initiated. Second-generation jails emerged in the 1960’s to replace old, linear jails and provide officers the opportunity to observe as much of the housing area as possible from a single vantage point. Second-generation jails: Adopted a different philosophical approach to construction and inmate management.

In a second-generation jail, staff remains in a secure control booth overlooking inmate-housing pods. Although visual surveillance increases in such jails, surveillance is remote, and verbal interaction with inmates is less frequent than in first-generation jails. Property destruction is minimized, as construction is of steel and stone. Third-Generation Jails: Third-generation jails, also known as direct- supervision jails, emerged in the 1970’s. The housing unit design of such jails is popular. Inmates’ cells are arranged around a common area, or day- room.

There is no secure control booth for the supervising officer, and there are no physical barriers between the officer and the inmates. The officer may have a desk or table for paperwork, but it is in the open day- room area. In a third-generation jail the inmate management style is direct supervision. An officer is stationed in the pod with the inmates. The officer moves about the pod and interacts with the inmates to manage their behavior. The pod contains sleeping areas, dayroom space, all necessary personal hygiene-fixtures, and sufficient tables and seats to accommodate unit capacity.

Officers provide frequent personal interaction with inmates. Furnishings are used to reduce stress caused by crowding, noise, lack of privacy, and isolation from the outside. Bars and metal doors are not present, reducing noise and the dehumanization common in first- and second-generation jails. Third-generation jails have a much more feeling of freedom than the first and second generation jails. Inmates can interact with each other much more, thus avoiding some of the problems caused by isolation scenarios in the other prison models.

The Pennsylvania and Auburn systems developed at the turn of the 19th Century. Pennsylvania Quakers advocated a method of punishment more humane than the public corporal punishment. The Quakers shifted the emphasis from corporal punishment to reforming the mind and soul. Together with an elite group of 18th Century Philadelphians, they created the first penitentiary, a place for reform of offenders through repentance and rehabilitation. They believed prisoners needed to be isolated in silence to repent, to accept God’s guidance, and to avoid having a harmful influence on each other.

The Pennsylvania system, or the separate system, method was first used at the Walnut Street Jail, which the Quakers reorganized in 1790, the country’s first institution for punishment. The prison was designed for solitary confinement at labor, with instruction in labor, morals, and religion. To make the isolation less severe and to help inmates prepare for employment after release, prison officials permitted inmates to work by themselves in their cells at various occupations, such as shoemaking, weaving, tailoring, and polishing marble. For the first time in American history, rehabilitation and deterrence emerged as goals of corrections,

The solitary confinement of the Pennsylvania system was expensive, and reportedly drove prisoners insane and further criminal tendencies. Reformers responded with what has been termed the Auburn system regimentation, military-style drill, silence unless conversation was required in workshops, congregate working and eating, separation of prisoners into small individual cells at night, harsh discipline, shaved heads, black-and-white striped uniforms, and industrial workshops that contracted with private businesses to help pay for the institution.

Prison factories in the 19th Century produced shoes, barrels, carpets, engines, boilers, harnesses, clothing, and furniture—goods that could not be produced under the “solitary” system of Pennsylvania or not in quantities sufficient to make a profit. This merchandise was sold on the open market to American consumers or exported to Canada and Latin America, and the proceeds helped support prison operations. The first prison to use this system opened in Auburn, New York, in 1819. The Auburn system, congregate by day and separate by night, eventually gave way to congregate cells at night and removal of the restrictions against talking.

(Schmalleger and Smykla, 241-242) During the industrial era, prisons progressed from the public accounts and contract systems of the Pennsylvania and Auburn prisons to convict lease, state use, and public works systems. Which system was used in a state depended on the region the state was in and the period in which the transition was made. The Public Accounts System was the earliest form of prison industry, in which the warden was responsible for purchasing materials and equipment and for overseeing the manufacture, marketing, and sale of prison-made items.

The Contract System was a system of prison industry in which the prison advertised for bids for the employment of prisoners, whose labor was sold to the highest bidder. The Public Works System was a system of prison industry in which prisoners were employed in the construction of public buildings, roads, and parks. The State Use System of prison industry employed prisoners to manufacture products consumed by state governments and their agencies, departments, and institutions. The Convict Lease System of prison industry in which a prison temporarily relinquished supervision of its prisoners to a lessee.

The lessee either employed the prisoners within the institution or transported them to work elsewhere in the state. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 244) Diversion is “The halting or suspension, before conviction, of formal criminal proceedings against a person, conditional on some form of counter performance by the defendant”. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 113) There are two types of diversion. Unconditional diversion is the termination of criminal processing at any point before adjudication with no threat of later prosecution.

It affords the best protection for a defendant’s legal rights because dismissal of charges does not require any counter performance. In effect, the defendant has everything to gain and nothing to lose. In unconditional diversion, treatment, counseling, and other services are offered on a voluntary basis. Many corrections leaders regard voluntary treatment as more likely than coerced treatment to have beneficial effects. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 116) Criminal offenses and prisoners are classified as either violent or non-violent.

This distinction will play a major part in sentencing. Other options besides prison are often offered to the non-violent offender. Some of these options are listed below. Conditional diversion means that charges are dismissed if the defendant satisfactorily completes treatment, counseling, or other programs ordered the justice system. Conditional diversion with judicial participation, affords greater protection against prosecutorial overseeing, reach and more assurance of informed voluntary decisions by the defendant than does diversion by the police or the prosecutor.

In diversion programs run by the police and prosecutor, some participants may not have been prosecuted at all or might have been exonerated (cleared of blame) if they had been prosecuted. Conditional diversion does not eliminate the possibility of more severe penalties for divertees who fail the program. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 116) Intermediate sanctions are sometimes referred to as front-end programs. Front-end programs are options for initial sentences, and are more restrictive than traditional probation but less restrictive than jail or prison.

They are usually designed to limit the number of people who go to prison. In front-end programs, judges commonly sentence offenders directly to one or a combination of intermediate sanctions before requiring incarceration. Back-end programs are reduced restrictions for offenders who have made progress in compliance and treatment. In back-end programs, offenders are moved from higher to lower levels of control to complete the final phase of their sentences. In that way, they contribute to net widening.

Net widening is increasing the number of offenders sentenced to a higher level of restriction. As a result, many offenders may receive more restrictive sentences than their offenses and characteristics warrant. These intermediate programs are for non-violent offenses, as a rule. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 160) Recidivism is another issue that is addressed routinely. In felonies, the recidivism rate of probationers is approximately 75 percent according to a RAND study. Conversely, it’s only 25 percent for misdemeanor convictions.

Studies futther show, however, that recidivism rates are on the rise. In 1986, the rate for overall compliance with the terms of probation was 74 percent. By 2001, it had fallen to 60 percent. Recidivism rates also vary widely from place to place. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 130) For years, the courts were blind to the rights of prisoners, and prison officials could act without fear of repercussions. That changed gradually through the years, as more and more cases came before the courts regarding rights. Prison officials can now be held liable for any violation of a prisoners rights.

One issue that has been raised again and again in the courts is the Fourth Amendment, the right against unlawful and unwarranted search and seizure. The courts have upheld that the prisoner can not expect this right with regard to his cell, as prison safety issues take precedence. Another Amendment issue is the Eighth, the right for reasonable bail, and the right against cruel and unusual punishment. This has been difficult for the courts to define with regard to prisoners. Yet, in a Texas case, prisoners won a case against the state for the conditions in the prison.

The prisoner can reasonably expect safe, sanitary conditions, the right to proper mental and physical healthcare. The Eighth also includes the death penalty, although, of course, the death penalty is used in many states. The First Amendment has also been challenged in the courts. The courts have upheld that prisoners have the right to practice their religions, but that the prisons have no obligation to provide clergy for any particular religion. Prisoners do have recourse, however. The grievance procedures for prisoners are handled by the state correctional authority.

“Certification of state grievance procedures by the U. S. Department of Justice requires that both inmates and employees of the institution have advisory roles in the development of the procedures; maximum time limits for responses to grievances be established; provisions exist for rapid processing of emergency inmate grievances when undue delay could result in harm to an inmate; and a mechanism exists for review of decisions by a person or committee not under the direct control of the prison in which the grievance originated. “(Schmalleger and Smykla, 397) .

Today, most correctional systems use a three-step process for resolving grievances. First, a staff member or committee in each institution receives complaints, investigates them, and makes decisions. Second, if a prisoner is dissatisfied with that decision, the case may be appealed to the warden. Third, if the prisoner is still dissatisfied, the complaint may be given to the state’s commissioner of corrections or the state’s corrections board. This three-step procedure satisfies the requirements for U. S. Department of Justice certification.

As to the Death Penalty, prisoners do have the right to appeal this decision, and it is usually automatically appealed, and reviewed against similar cases. Over the last several years, with all the people wrongly convicted, and later released from death row, it has become apparent that there are problems with the death penalty. There is apparent racial profiling in some states. For a time, there was a moratorium on the death penalty. States chose to either have mandatory death penalties, or to allow the courts and juries to have discretion in the process.

Proponents of the death penalty argue that it deters people from crime through fear of punishment; it exerts a positive moral influence by stigmatizing crimes of murder and manslaughter. It has just punishment for murder, the “just deserts” principle of a fitting punishment; life in prison is not a tough enough punishment for a capital crime. Opponents argue it boosts the murder rate this is known as the brutalizing effect, the state is a role model, and when the State carries out an execution, it shows that killing is a way to solve problems.

Not everyone wants vengeance; many people favor alternative sentences such as life without parole. Others still, argue that it doesn’t deter crime. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 596) The time between the imposition of the death sentence and the execution of a death row inmate is an average of 10 years and 7 months. Death penalty cases may pass through as many as 10 courts, across three stages: trial and direct review, state post conviction appeals, and federal habeas corpus appeals. Correctional officers rely on a variety of strategies to manage inmate behavior.

After surveying correctional officers in five prisons, John Hepburn identified five types of officers’ power; according to the bases which they rest: legitimate powe6; coercive power, reward power, expert power, and referent power. They are explained in further detail below. Legitimate Power: Correctional officers have power by virtue of their positionswithin the organization. That is, they have formal authority to command. As Hepburn says, “the prison guard has the right to exercise control over prisoners by virtue of the structural relationship between the position of the guard and the position of the prisoner.

” Coercive Power: Inmates’ beliefs that a correctional officer can and will punish disobedience give the officer coercive power. Many correctional officers use coercive power as a primary method of control. Reward Power: Correctional officers dispense both formal and informal rewards to induce cooperation among inmates. Formal rewards include assignment of desirable jobs, housing, and other inmate privileges. Correctional officers are also in a position to influence parole decisions and to assign good-time credit and gain time to inmates.

Informal rewards correctional officers use include granting special favors and overlooking minor infractions of rules. Expert Power: Expert power results from inmates’ perceptions that certain correctional officers have valuable skills. For example, inmates seeking treatment may value treatment-oriented officers, Inmates who need help with ongoing interpersonal conflicts may value officers who have conflict- resolution skills. Such officers may be able to exert influence on inmates who want their help. Referent Power: Referent power flows from “persuasive diplomacy.

” Officers who win the respect and admiration of prisoners—officers who are fair and not abusive—may achieve a kind of natural leadership position over inmates. Correctional officers today must find a balance between their security role and their responsibility to use relationships with constructively. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 331) Female officers handle their jobs differently than most of their male counterparts. Like most women working in male-dominated professions, female correctional officers face special problems and barriers—many of which are rooted in sexism. Prisons are nontraditional workplaces for women.

Therefore, female correctional officers—especially those working in men’s prisons—often find themselves in a confusing situation. According to studies, female correctional officers typically say that they perform their job with a less aggressive style than men. This difference in style seems due mostly to differences in life experiences and to physical limitations associated with women’s size and strength. Life experiences prepare most women for helping roles rather than aggressive ones. Consequently, women are more likely to rely heavily on verbal skills and intuition.

Female correctional officers use communication rather than threats or force to gain inmate cooperation. They tend to talk out problems. Studies have also found that female correctional officers rely more heavily than male correctional officers on established disciplinary rules when problems arise. Male staff members, on the other hand, are more likely to bully or threaten inmates to resolve problems. According to research, 55 percent of female officers indicate their primary reason for taking a job in corrections is an interest in human service work or in inmate rehabilitation.

One survey of maximum-security prisons in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and the federal Bureau of Prisons showed that female officers were assaulted only 27. 6 percent as often as male officers. (Schmalleger and Smykla, 341) The criminal justice system is in a constant state of change. There needs to be a balance between utilitarian and retribution justice to provide meanin