Here are a few examples of what has happened in the criminal justice system based on new right theory. Since 1997 new labour have cut long tem youth unemployment by 3/4s. In 1997 a serious of measures were taken to combat what labour consider the biggest issue affecting the quality of life in british communities. This issue is anti social behaviour. One particular policy which relates to this is the 2003 white paper respect and responsibility. This is effectivley an anti social behaviour act. The white paper focus's on:
firstly people taking responsibility for their own actions, the community setting clear standads of behavoiur ( the police, local authorities and other enforcers taking swift effective action if they are breached), the perpetrators of anti social behaviour being held accountable for their actions, giving police more power to disperse groups of undesirables. ( adapted from the white paper march 2003) As you can see the anti social behaviour act closely follows the theory that underlines new right criminology.
Going back to the speech in 2001 the prime minister promises a police reform, effectivley getting officers out of the station and back on the beat in their communities. This was a major point concerning wilson and hernsein. the police should take on a more traditional role, this is what labour in 2001 aimed to do. ' tough legislation, backed up by police on the streets – to reduce crime and anti social behaviour and reinforce peoples responsibility to society'
( tony Blair PM speech June 2001) Post 1979 criminiology would seem based on new right theories of crime, especially policies after 1997. This is becuase the labour party came into power after a long period of conservatism. The impact of new right criminology on the british criminal justice system since 1979 has had a varied effect on policies and programmes concerning crime since 1979. We can see that many things have been promised some have been achieved some havny quite got there yet.
If we look at brief history of the political agenda since from 1945 to 1979 we see a completly diiferent social context to what we have now. Between 1945 and 1970 there was cross party support for the welfare state, this being policies such as: Full employment, cradle to the grave support from the state, high taxes,and a keynesian economics socialist approach. There was a lot of support for helping thepeople of britain, weldfare was a massive issue at this time. The problem with a huge welfare state is that to keep it running efficiently money is needed this money comes from taxes.
The end result was high taxes for something was wasnt really working. This is where we encounter a time of changing attitudes. The 1970's saw a growing economic crisis there was mass dissatisfaction with the welfare state and a popular attitude was that of ' nothing works'. The decade also saw a re-structuing of global capitalism, and a rejection of keynesianism and socialism. From 1979 to present day we see different britain. There has been a re-structure of british society,with the erosion of the welfare state.
There has been a promotion of individual provision and the market economy has been widley accepted and welcomed. There is the popular attitude of ' no such thing as society only individuals and family'. People are acting for themselves taking a stand and trying to provide for themselves and families, not depending on the state to help them. After 1979 we can see very new right attitudes towards how british society should be run, and so in turn we see how crime should be dealt with.
We can see this attitude towards crime more evidently after 1997. Since then labour has been in control and labour is holds right wing ideals. In 1997 crime was made a key point in tony blairs plan to make britain a better place to live in. Since 1997 crime is down 25% and the chance of being a victim of crime is at its lowest for 20 years. According to government statistics the number burglaries, car theft and violent crime has gone down considerably. Also police levels are at record levels.
In a labour party webpage, labour are claiming to have accomplished the following, a cut in overall crime (labour is the first government in 50 years with a crime lower at the end of its first term than when it took office. ) Police numbers are up by over 9000 since labour came to power. There are tough new laws such as the outlaw of handguns and labour have made a start tackling the roots of crime through programmes such as sure start. Having focused mainly on new labour we can see key elements of new right criminology.
This is simply beacuase new labour is a right wing party and so its makes sense that new right theories will be behind its policies on crime and its handling of the criminal justice system. When looking back at the question i have been set i must conclude upon two main areas. Firstly on New right theories of criminology. There have benn many critisisms of the new right theories and those of wilson et al. The new right appeals to fundemental populism, which as expressed in some tabloid press means crime is seen as simple events which can be dealt with by simplistic solutions.
( adapted from Jones criminology 2001: 242) It seems that new right theories of crime completly ignore and socio-economic factors surrounding the caused of crime, it ignores the influences of a persons society on thier behaviour. Issues of poverty, power, race and gender are overlooked. According to currie 1991 wilson is unable to explain the diiferent crime rates in different cities; differences which can be linked to the varying levels of deprivation, racism and unemployment.
Wilsons attempt to bring back lombrossos theory of the criminal man could possibly have been believed if he had any new evidence, he does not. Wilson overlooks the decades of research that can link social factors with the cause of crime. Although some of the theories of criminology are open to much critisism the idea of paragmatism has held well in todays society. Wilson has some good ideas and theories but he neglects to back them up with any evidence, he has the right idea but does suggest any practical ways of implimenting them.
This i feel is the downfall of new right criminology it lacks depth, it skims the top of ideas but fails to really look into how they would work in a real society. My second point for evaluation is that of the new rights effect on post 1979 criminal justice in britain. Untill 1979 the new right didnt fit in the mood of society, people belived in welfare and help from government with all aspects of their lives, by 1970 society in britain saw that this wasnt working and a new approach was needed, individualism became popular.
Yet we didnt see a real shift towards New right theory untill 1997 when Labour came to power in government. Labour promised big changes in the criminal justice system. A lot of tony blairs policies and speechs echoed of new right theory. The differnce in 1997 was that government also had practical ideas to back up their policies, new labour were on to a winner. Reforms to the criminal justice system and policies concerning the community have greatly decreased the rate of crime. Although we cannot always trust official statistics labour do appeaer to be carrying out what they promosed.
New labour policy on crime is not completly based on new right criminology, it uses the basics but goes on to improve it by finding ways of making it work in todays society, it would seem that the labour party make up for what new right criminology misses in its implication ofthe theory. In conclusion i feel that new right criminology lacks everything needed to make it work, the writtings of wilson clearly illistrate this point, his lack of research and depth make his ideas some what messy.
Although wilson did write of ideas that todays government has sarted to impliment, the difference is that today we have practical ideas and ways to properly carry out what the new right theorists thought of. Society is more open to the ideas of the new right. The attitude of todays society is that of looking after yourself and the community around you, a policy which agrees with this and is backed up by good theory is one which society will welcome. Changing patterns and attitudes of society will determine how best to deal with its problems and which theories to follow.