Jury duty is something that is very common here in the United States. In fact, “an estimated 8 to 10 million citizens report for jury service annually to courthouses across the country, making them the single largest cohort of court users in the nation.” (Jury Management, n.d). Could the reason for jury duty have to do with society’s response to crime? With that being said, we will be analyzing the evolution of society’s views on crime and punishment, the need for crime and punishment, the shift in sentencing laws and impact, punishment or rehabilitation in the present, and how one’s thoughts about multiculturalism and diversity impact their response to crime.
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When the beginning of crime showed its presence through examination of human remains that were studied to find that people had been murdered, it was then decided after going on for thousands of years that a government should be developed, according to (Siegel & Bartollas, 2018). Once the government was set into place, they were seeing a decrease in the number of people being killed.
Eventually, the state wanted their own vengeance but needed codes in order to form laws which is what lead to the evolution of the first formal legal code, according to (Siegel & Bartollas, 2018). It was called the Code of Hammurabi which was formed by the King of Babylonia back in 1780 BCE. That code included 282 clauses concerning civil laws.
As time passed once it reached the middle ages, it evolved to the belief that offenders should receive unembellished punishment and this is where torture even came into play, according to (Siegel & Bartollas, 2018). On the other hand, it was during this time that the first correction facilities were established. However, it wasn’t formed as a way of correcting the offenders but rather as keeping them in a secure facility until they were able to be punished for what they had done wrong.
When the 19th century came, positivism evolved which has been known to have an impact on corrections, according to (Siegel & Bartollas, 2018). Positivism looks at proving things through science, logic, and math rather than going off traditions. With that being said, it reflects upon the fact that behavioral choices made by individuals is something that comes from different factors which includes social, biological, and psychological.
Crime and punishment are something that is necessary because it impacts not only the offender but the victim as well. For example, the offender who spends years in prison for murdering someone’s child while on drugs over an argument can end up feeling shame for the crime they committed, according to (Olson, 2015). On the other hand, others see what can happen as a result and turn the other way rather than doing drugs then risking ending up in the same scenario. However, let’s say the offender gets the death penalty for murdering this family’s child and seeks forgiveness from the family after realization of what he had done. This could promote compassion and mercy because the family sees that not only that he realized what he had done but feels remorse then they start to see it as they are repeating the same cycle of taking away someone’s son just as he had done to them.
When it comes to the changes of sentencing laws over the course of the last 30 years, there has been several changes, according to (Mackenzie, 2001). The indeterminate sentencing model evolved because structure sentencing was sought in order to bring down sentencing disparities. This started with mandatory sentencing which required an offender to be punished for a crime within a number of years that was set as minimum for the crime which came along in the 80-90’s. Eventually, the three-strike law came along in the 90’s for offenders who repeated crimes and this meant that the sentencing would become harsher for each time the crime was repeated.
The changes of the sentencing laws have had some negative impacts on the prisons. According to (Mackenzie, 2001) with the change of sentencing laws has come an increase in the prison population. As the prison has become more populated with offenders, there has come an increase in facilities needed to house the offenders which has caused the prison’s to become overcrowded. Along with the overpopulated offenders in prison has brought along two other problems which involves an increase in diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and offenders with mental illnesses.
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Rehabilitation is something that is important when it comes to offenders for several reasons, according to (Bayley, Gutierrez, Stringham, & Kapenda, 2012). One of those reasons is because it will determine the success of the offenders when they are released back into the real world. For example, vocational rehabilitation is training that is given to offenders for work. During this training they are given the skills needed to use for a job when they are released. If they didn’t have the job skills needed to obtain a job when released, it would create an increasingly stressful situation for them where they could be tempted to fall back into the temptation of crime. For instance, if they couldn’t support themselves, they would find it easier to sell drugs or prostitute themselves to make ends meet.
With each person comes their own views of culturalism and diversity because of how they were raised. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are laws in place that we have to abide by, and they vary depending on the state and country. Even then, one’s views can affect their response to crime in a way that pertains to as ignorance of the law, according to (Rigoni, 2018). An example of this would be where a man moves to the United States from Afghanistan where if their wives even look at another man, they feel insulted and slap them. He sees his wife do this and someone witnesses him slapping her across the face then reports it. He ends up being arrested and explains to police their culture as well as him not knowing that it was considered domestic violence.
Looking at the evolution of society’s view of crime and punishment, you can see how it started as a way to seek justice then revenge and eventually ended up looking at the means of rehabilitation. On the other hand, crime and punishment is something that has shown to be a way to bring a not only painful but powerful lesson towards the offenders but also the victims as well in the sense that they become humble rather than grow bitter. However, sentencing laws have brought an increasing concern in prison overcrowding along with issues of diseases and mental illnesses with the offenders which causes the correction facility to need to be even more cautious and alert. Lastly, one’s views of culturalism and diversity can impact their response to crime in a blind manner.
- Bayley, B., Gutierrez, L., Stringham, K., & Kapenda, J. (July 16, 2012) Why We Incarcerate: Rehabilitation. Retrieved from https://www.correctionsone.com/jail-management/articles/5826786-Why-we-incarcerate-Rehabilitation/
- Mackenzie, D. (July 2001) Sentencing and Corrections in the 21st Century: Setting the Stage for the Future. [PDF File] Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/189106-2.pdf
- (N.D) Jury Management. National Center for State Courts. https://www.ncsc.org/Services-and-Experts/Areas-of-expertise/Jury-management.aspx
- OLESON, J. C. (2015). Rituals upon Celluloid: The Need for Crime and Punishment in Contemporary Film. Cleveland State Law Review, 63(3), 599–619. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=103182351&site=ehost-live
- Rigoni, C. (2018, July 30). Crime, Diversity, Culture, and Cultural Defense. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology. Retrieved 28 Jul. 2019, from https://oxfordre.com/criminology/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190264079.001.0001/acrefore-9780190264079-e-409.
- Siegel, L. & Bartollas, C. (2018) Corrections Today. [Purdue University Global Bookshelf]. Retrieved from https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781337514859/
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