P7- Outline ways in which criminological theory influenced penal policy over the last century.
During this time period witnesses had the power to recognize and catch an offender before any contact was made with a constable, this was because citizens of a village all had legal rights. The ‘Hue and Cry’ was the theory which was based in this period which communities worked together to catch an offender, but alternately it was just the victims word against the potential offenders.
17th and early 18th Century-
The ‘Hue and Cry’ was abolished during this era.
Thief Takers were the new theory now and the name given to people of the villages who would be paid for arresting a potential criminal.
Rewards and pardons were given to criminals, who would help the thief takers find out who else was involved with the crime, and help them gain more knowledge on the situation and offence.
Constables were also introduced and they had a role to keep the peace on situations, make arrests but yet couldn’t prosecute crimes. People volunteered for this role.
Night watchmen evolved in this century too, their role was to patrol the streets during the hours of 9-10pm till sunrise, and they had to keep an eye out for drunks and prostitutes. People also volunteered for this role.
John Howard recognised how poor prison conditions were in 1726-1790 and wanted to do something about it therefore he campaigned against the living conditions for prisoners.
In 1779 the Penitentiary Act was created meaning that prisons should be an alternative punishment from death or transportation.
Prisons only focused on custody and coercion which was the idea of caring for offenders by providing shelter or threatening offenders to make them do something.
Prisons during this era did not separate women, children and men, they all had to share which made it very intimidating, unhygienic and caused many diseases to spread.
Prisons were also used for drunks to keep them off the streets, debtors and average offenders too.
Corporal punishments such as whipping were abolished in 1830’s as well as hanging.
The British government believed that the prison system was working and began to make more prisons in the 1840’s; the two main ones were Pentonville and Millbank.
During 1868 transportation was abolished as people thought it was too harsh.
In 1953 the Penal Servitude Act was passed meaning that prisoners had to carry out hard labour whilst being imprisoned, this consisted of turning the crank and the treadmill which both needed to be carried out to earn their food and too punish them. This was then abolished during 1898-1899.
The modern system of imprisonment had been recognized and developed.
The criminal justice system was established in 1950.
M4- Explain how crime theories have influenced penal policy.
The Criminal Justice System is a system where governments are directed to maintain social control of a country, deterring offenders and other citizens, extenuating crime, or permitting criminals who have not obeyed the laws of the state. This is done by penalties such as fines, sentences, and imprisonment or rehabilitation methods. The purpose of the criminal justice system is to bring justice to everyone. This can be done by convicting and punishing guilty offenders and provide a source of rehabilitation and reformation to help offenders from re offending whilst keeping the guiltless safe and protected. Also the criminal justice system is used for handing out the correct amount of years of imprisonment based on the crime committed. Subsequently the system is to input equality and fairness into a trial. There have been different models of this system for example the ‘Due process’ which has two types these being Adversarial and Inclusive systems. The Adversarial system is based in the UK and the USA and it’s the idea that a suspect is innocent before proven guilty. In addition equality is put before the law for the suspect; the suspect gets a defence lawyer from the government for free and is trialled by an audience of 12 from the community. Whereas the Inclusive system which is used in Spain, France and South Africa, their suspects do not get appointed a defence lawyer and have to defend for themselves. The two labour parties disagree with the extent of the system as the Conservative party believe that the punishments should be harsh with little consideration about their welfare. But the Labour party believe that punishments should still be given with alteration with the intensity, they believe the punishments should be generous and benevolent.
Rehabilitation and the linkage to the Positivism Theory-
During the 1900’s the ‘modern’ system of imprisonment was recognised and put in to place. There have been pros to this system as it can provide the offenders with opportunities to rehabilitate themselves this can be done by counselling, training programmes, drug treatment and psychotherapy. Yet there’re also disadvantages to rehabilitation for example it becomes too cosy for the criminal, from using my own research offender may have different things to entertain themselves for instance a TV, play station, instruments, paints and sewing kits which are all located in their cells. This is a negative because what they get handed to them in prison, compared to what they had at home previously makes them want to never leave as they are well catered for and the things they want are in easy reach for them as they will not have to steal and commit to gain these products. The positivist theory states that criminals are born as criminals and are not nurtured into one. So theoretically rehabilitation links to positivism in the sense that all these methods of rehabilitation can change a person’s mentality and character, which they would be nurtured into a stable, happier and calmer person so generally speaking this theory and method focus on the offender more than the offence. The positivism theory is hugely declined today as psychological and sociological theories have become more valid and justifiable.
Deterrence and the linkage to the Realism Theory-
Whilst offenders were in prison, they had to do a variety of standard activities which were seen as punishments. Essentially they were used to help change an offender’s mentality on committing crime. There’re two types of deterrence (general and individual.) General deterrence is deterrence which deters potential offenders from offending this is done by showing them examples of deviants which will hopefully make them question themselves on how and where they want their life to progress to and hopefully allow them to choose the better option; not committing. Individual deterrence is deterring offenders from reoffending which is done by the punishments used in prisons as they will already know the consequence and no longer want to suffer but yet change themselves. There’re advantages and disadvantages of deterrence for example a disadvantage of deterrence is that prison itself is a punishment so therefore prisoners should not be threatened to perform extra’s for example hard labour (turning the crank and the treadmill) to earn food as these are additional punishments and are not necessary if they’re already serving their time. An advantage of deterrence is that it can prevent and reduce further crimes from being committed and for reoffending to also be reduced in the future. The Realism Theory states that governments recognise that crime is a problem in society but they focus more on how to decrease crime rate levels for example by using the social welfare system (providing education, health, money and employment to keep citizens occupied instead of them turning to crime to get by economically or using crime as an hobby socially.) Deterrence links to the Realism Theory in the sense that the approaches used act as the reward if people do not commit, this theory and method focus more on the offender.
Reform and restorative justice system-
Reform generally means to make changes to improve in further life. Historically speaking the restorative justice system has only recently been introduced (1990’s.) The Restorative justice system is used for any type of crime, where the victim and the offender have contact with each other via face to face, letters, videos or recorded interviews. This justice system has advantages and disadvantages for example an advantage of this is that the victim is provided with clarity as they may gain the answers to their questions which can help to put their minds at ease. This system can also benefit the offender as it can decrease time off their sentence, makes the offender realise the damage which has been caused, gives them responsibility to make the correct changes, apologise and to hopefully make them think twice about re offending if they’re let out. A disadvantage of this system is that it could be too traumatic for the victim and bring back memories. Reform links to the Restorative justice system in the sense that this system can provide the offender with an insight of the upset, trauma and damage that he or she has caused and hopefully wanting to reform themselves to become a improved person and prevent negative emotions from being felt by anyone else from their behaviour and actions. The Restorative justice system provides the platform for an offender to reform as well as focusing more on the victim and crime.
D4- Analyse the influence of positivism and realism on penal policy over the last century.
Both Left and Right realism have had an effect on the Criminal Justice System.
Penal policy has changed over the last century. It has changed from rehabilitation to deterrence/reform which links into voluntarism and determinism. Rehabilitation was introduced during 1779. Rehabilitation was used for allowing the criminals to gain help from trained staff, programmes and activities, people agreed with this method as it was shaping the offender into what the community and society wanted to be instead of punishing them and causing more anger which could lead into more crime. This idea was first based from the positivist’s views which can be thoroughly related to determinism. Positivist’s believe and have this understanding that criminals commit crimes because of the factors surrounding them and which they cannot control as it has been determined by someone else for example how they look or how they were brought up since birth as this associates with the biological and psychological aspects. They essentially believe that a criminal is born as one rather than made into one and that the nature of the person influenced them as a criminal rather than nurturing. There have been many opinions on the punishments that criminals face and what they actually should have faced. Some people believe it is acceptable that criminals who have psychological difficulties are punished by imprisonment as the penal policy has been updated and it can cater for their needs for example mental institutes where the criminal can still gain rehabilitation. On the other hand other people believe that if a person committed a crime but was not their fault due to them not being in control of their thoughts and actions they shouldn’t face a sentence or ideally the sentence should be reduced.
With everything there’re advantages and disadvantages for rehabilitation the advantages are; rehabilitation can offer a new start for criminals when their sentence is over, which makes it easier for them to reconnect with society and hopefully prevent them from reoffending. For example imprisonment provides offenders with job roles for example cooking, cleaning and offers programmes to educate themselves. This is ideal and helpful as to when they are released they may have potential to get a job. Using my own research every cell has a religious book to read from depending on their religion for example a Bible or a Qur’an etc. This is a requirement as this also helps to change the offender’s mentality regardless if they are religious or not. This can help them build a relationship with God again and make themselves and God a promise to change. Rehabilitation effectively benefits the individual but also more importantly the community.
But the disadvantages of rehabilitation are; rehabilitation is not a general thing so therefore it has to specialise to serve everyone’s needs which is financially a problem as it costs the government extra money to provide especially if the treatment given is not effective and is not helping the prisoners reform this can be seen in 2014 where 46%-60% of offenders reoffended. From this we can make assumptions that these figures have increased as crime is still ongoing and is surrounding us as we hear about it majority of the time via social media. Additionally people believe that if a criminal is a positivist believer than their mentality will never be able to change as they are so caught up in the idea that this who they are and always should be so money is being wasted on criminals who are potentially impossible to cure and help. It has been said that 72% of criminals do not feel valued from society when they’re released as many of them are often left without a stable home, income or job. It can also be said that employers will be hesitant to employ them as they have considered their criminal background this could lead to reoffending as they have nothing to work towards.
Deterrence is the use of penalties for offenders who have committed a crime, deterrence is shown by punishments. Deterrence had been recognised and modernised methods were being used in the 1970’s as Margret Thatcher the prime minister of Britain during this era had an ideology that rehabilitation was useless and expensive she gained this idea from noticing no drastic improvements being made in offender’s behaviours inside prison and when released. Studies say that during 1971 the percentage of people reoffending was 65% and hitting the peak of 73% twice. Deterrence is noticed as it’s strongly associated with the ideology of realism and voluntarism as well as classical criminology. The classical criminological principal suggests that the punishment given to the offender should not be based on the social and psychological aspects of the person but on the offence they committed. The theories behind realism and voluntarism is that criminals chose to commit a crime from their free will so in continuation from this they have to face consequences led by their own decisions and actions.
As again deterrence comes with advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of deterrence is that whilst offenders are being punished with imprisonment this is making the environment safe as criminals are being removed from communities. The government benefit from this idea too as it reduces the amount of money being spent on the number of people going into prisons as fines and penalties are given out to the less severe crimes. But on the other hand there’re disadvantages of deterring criminals. If deterring people and criminals was working than people associated with the legal systems such as police officers, judges and lawyers would begin to decrease the amount of hours they spend on their jobs as there would be fewer crimes to deal with this could leave people in the legal systems redundant and unemployed. Also if deterring did begin to work in a certain area the crime and offenders would transport to another area where it was easier to commit, essentially in poorer areas. In addition crime altogether will never be removed it will just travel but the punishments used can sometimes prevent crimes being committed again. To conclude we now incorporate rehabilitation and deterrence into the criminal justice system as each have their advantages which can provide a pathway of change.