Reactions to Deviance

Police

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder.

Learning Objectives

Explain the relationship between the police and the state, differentiating between preventive police and police detectives

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Preventive police wear uniforms and perform functions that require an immediate recognition of an officer’s legal authority, such as traffic control, stopping and detaining motorists, and active crime response and prevention.
  • Police detectives are responsible for investigations and detective work. “Plainclothes” officers dress in attire consistent with that worn by the general public for purposes of blending in.
  • Specialized units exist within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud.
  • In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants.
  • Transnational policing pertains to all those forms for policing that, in some sense, cross national borders.
  • INTERPOL is an organization facilitating international police cooperation.

Key Terms

  • INTERPOL: Commonly used name for the International Criminal Police Organization, an international organization facilitating police cooperation.
  • Specialized Units: Subdivisions within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud.

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. Their powers include the legitimized use of force. The term police is most commonly associated with police services of a state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from military or other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie and military police are military units charged with civil policing.

Preventive Police and Police Detectives

In most Western police forces, perhaps the most significant division is between preventive police and detectives. Terminology varies from country to country. Preventive police designates the police that patrol and respond to emergencies and other incidents, as opposed to detective services. As the name “uniformed” suggests, preventive police wear uniforms and perform functions that require an immediate recognition of an officer’s legal authority, such as traffic control, stopping and detaining motorists, and more active crime response and prevention. On the other hand, police detectives are responsible for investigations and detective work. Detectives, in contrast to uniform police, typically wear ‘business attire’ in bureaucratic and investigative functions where a uniformed presence would be either a distraction or intimidating. “Plainclothes” officers dress in attire consistent with that worn by the general public for purposes of blending in, but a need to establish police authority still exists.

Specialized units exist within many law enforcement organizations for dealing with particular types of crime, such as traffic law enforcement and crash investigation, homicide, or fraud. In counter insurgency type campaigns, select and specially trained units of police armed and equipped as light infantry have been designated as police field forces. They perform paramilitary type patrols and ambushes whilst retaining their police powers in areas that were highly dangerous.

Police in the United States

In United States constitutional law, police power is defined as the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants. Police power can be exercised in the form of making laws and compelling obedience to those laws through legal sanctions, physical means, or other forms of coercion and inducements. In the United States, concern over such issues has increasingly weighed upon law enforcement agencies, courts, and legislatures at every level of government since the 1960s. Incidents such as the 1965 Watts Riots and the videotaped 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police officers and the riot following their acquittal have been suggested by some as evidence that U.S. police are dangerously lacking in appropriate controls.

image

Police: The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been heavily fictionalized in numerous movies and television shows throughout its history. The department has also been involved in a number of controversies, mostly involving racial animosity and police corruption.

Transnational Police

The term transnational policing entered into use in the mid-1990s as a description for forms of policing that transcended the boundaries of the sovereign nation state. Transnational policing pertains to all those forms for policing that, in some sense, transgress national borders. This includes a variety of practices, but cross-border police cooperation, criminal intelligence exchange between police agencies working in different nation-states, and police development-aid to weak, failed, or failing states are the three types that have received the most scholarly attention. The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO), widely known as INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation. It was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923 and adopted its telegraphic address as its common name in 1956.

Courts

A court is a form of tribunal with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties, and carry out the administration of justice.

Learning Objectives

Describe the three levels of the court system

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution. Generally, all persons have an ability to bring their claims before a court.
  • Jurisdiction refers to the court’s practical authority to decide cases. There are two types of jurisdiction. The first is personal jurisdiction: the court’s jurisdiction over the parties to a lawsuit.
  • Secondly, subject -matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter.
  • There are three levels of courts. Trial courts initially hear cases and review evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case. Appellate courts hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. The Supreme Court primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts.
  • A tribunal in the general sense is any person or institution with the authority to judge, adjudicate, or determine claims or disputes.
  • The Supreme Court primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts.
  • A tribunal in the general sense is any person or institution with the authority to judge, adjudicate, or determine claims or disputes.

Key Terms

  • civil law: The body of law dealing with the private relations between members of a community; it contrasts with criminal law, military law, and ecclesiastical law.
  • common law: Law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals (also called case law), as distinguished from legislative statutes or regulations promulgated by the executive branch.
  • tribunal: Any person or institution with the authority to judge, adjudicate, or determine claims or disputes.

What is a Court?

A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties, and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law. In both common law and civil law legal systems, courts are the central means for dispute resolution, and it is generally understood that all persons have an ability to bring their claims before a court. Similarly, the rights of those accused of a crime include the right to present a defense before a court.

The system of courts that interpret and apply the law are collectively known as the judiciary. The place where a court sits is known as a venue. The room where court proceedings occur is known as a courtroom, and the building is known as a courthouse; court facilities range from simple and very small facilities in rural communities, to large buildings in cities. A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges.

Jurisdiction

The practical authority given to the court is known as its jurisdiction, or the court’s power to decide certain kinds of questions or petitions. A plaintiff is the term used in some jurisdictions for the party who initiates a civil lawsuit before a court. A defendant is any party required to answer a plaintiff’s complaint in a civil lawsuit, or any party that has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. A legal remedy is the means with which a court of law (usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction) enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes some other court order to impose its will.

In the United States, the legal authority of a court to take action is based on personal jurisdiction, subject-matter jurisdiction, and venue over the parties to the litigation. Personal jurisdiction refers to a court’s jurisdiction over the parties to a lawsuit. Personal jurisdiction means the power of the court to decide a dispute, as against a particular person. Subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type, or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority to hear bankruptcy cases.

Types of Courts

In most jurisdictions, the court system is divided into at least three levels: the trial court, which initially hears cases and reviews evidence and testimony to determine the facts of the case; at least one intermediate appellate court that hears an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal; and a supreme court, which primarily reviews the decisions of the intermediate courts. A tribunal, in the general sense, is any person or institution with the authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes, whether or not it is called a tribunal in its title. For example, the Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany.

image

Nuremberg Tribunal: At the Nuremberg Tribunals, the main target of the prosecution was Hermann Göring (at the left edge on the first row of benches), considered to be the most important surviving official in the Third Reich after Hitler’s death.

image

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

image

The Old Bailey: A trial at the Old Bailey in London, as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin, for Ackermann’s Microcosm of London (1808-11).

Prisons

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms.

Learning Objectives

Analyze recent developments in the rate of incarceration in the U.S.

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Imprisonment is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime.
  • The modern prison system was born in London, influenced by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham.
  • In the U.S., jails are county or city administrated institutions, which house both inmates awaiting trial on the local level, and convicted misdemeanants serving a term of one year or less.
  • Supermax prisons provide long term, segregated housing for inmates classified as the highest security risks in the prison system.
  • The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world (743 per 100,000 population ).

Key Terms

  • Supermax Prisons: Prisons that provide long term, segregated housing for inmates classified as the highest security risks in the prison system.
  • Jeremy Bentham: An English founder of utilitarianism who was influential in designing the first modern prisons.

A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime. For most of history, imprisoning has not been a punishment in itself, but rather a way to confine criminals until corporal or capital punishment was administered. Only in the 19th century, beginning in Britain, did prisons as they are known today become commonplace. The modern prison system was born in London, influenced by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham.

Prison Design

Prisons are normally surrounded by fencing, walls, earthworks, geographical features, or other barriers to prevent escape. Multiple barriers, concertina wire, electrified fencing, secured and defensible main gates, armed guard towers, lighting, motion sensors, dogs and roving patrols may all also be present, depending on the level of security.

image

Prison: Barbed wire is a feature of prisons.

Modern prison designs have sought to increasingly restrict and control the movement of prisoners throughout the facility, while permitting a maximal degree of direct monitoring by a smaller prison staff. As compared to traditional large landing-cellblock designs, which were inherited from the 19th century and which permitted only intermittent observation of prisoners, many newer prisons are designed in a decentralized “popular” layout.

Incarceration in the United States

In the United States, “jail” and “prison” refer to separate levels of incarceration; generally speaking, jails are county or city administrated institutions which house both inmates awaiting trial on the local level, and convicted misdemeanants serving a term of one year or less, while prisons are state or federal facilities housing convicted felons serving a term of more than one year. Supermax prisons provide long term, segregated housing for inmates classified as the highest security risks in the prison system—the “worst of the worst” criminals, and those who pose a threat to national and international security.

The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world (743 per 100,000 population). Incarceration rate in the U.S. for federal and state prisons in 2007 was the highest in history of the country. It was 5.5 times greater than the sharp peak that occurred during the Great Depression at 137 per 100,000 in 1939. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2,266,800 adults were incarcerated in U.S. count jails and federal and state prisons at yearend 2010; this represents about 0.7% of adults in the U.S. resident population. Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at yearend 2009 were on probation or on parole. In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2009, representing about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2009. According to the 2010 census of the U.S. Census Bureau, blacks (including Hispanic blacks) comprised 13.6% of the US population. Hispanics (of all races) were 20.6% of the total jail and prison population in 2009. Hispanics comprised 16.3% of the U.S. population according to the 2010 U.S. census.

The Death Penalty

Capital punishment is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime.

Learning Objectives

Evaluate arguments for and against the death penalty

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences.
  • Supporters of the death penalty argue that the death penalty is morally justified when applied to murder cases, especially cases with aggravating elements, such as multiple homicide, child murder, torture murder and mass killing including terrorism or genocide.
  • Capital punishment is often opposed on the grounds that innocent people will inevitably be executed.
  • Abolitionists believe capital punishment is the worst violation of human rights.

Key Terms

  • insubordination: The quality of being insubordinate; disobedience to lawful authority.
  • capital punishment: Punishment by death.
  • capital crime: A crime that is punishable by death.

What Is Capital Punishment?

Capital punishment is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as “capital crimes” or “capital offenses. ” Capital punishment has in the past been practiced by most societies. Currently, only 58 nations actively practice it, and 97 countries have abolished it. Although many nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where executions take place–the People’s Republic of China, India, the United States, and Indonesia–the four most-populous countries in the world, that continue to apply the death penalty.

Execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by nearly all societies–both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent. In most places that practice capital punishment, it is reserved for murder, espionage, treason, or as part of military justice. In some countries sexual crimes, such as rape, adultery, incest, and sodomy, carry the death penalty, as do religious crimes, such as apostasy in Islamic nations. In many countries that use the death penalty, drug trafficking is also a capital offense. In China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by the death penalty. In militaries around the world courts, martial have imposed death sentences for offenses, such as cowardice, desertion, insubordination, and mutiny.

Arguments For and Against

Supporters of the death penalty argue that the death penalty is morally justified when applied in murder, especially with aggravating elements, such as multiple homicide, child murder, torture murder, and mass killing including terrorism or genocide. Some even argue that not applying the death penalty in latter cases are patently unjust. Supporters of the death penalty, especially those who do not believe in the deterrent effect of the death penalty, say the threat of the death penalty could be used to urge capital defendants to plead guilty, testify against accomplices, or disclose the location of the victim’s body.

Capital punishment is often opposed on the grounds that innocent people will inevitably be executed. Between 1973 and 2005, 123 people in 25 states were released from death row when new evidence of their innocence emerged. Abolitionists believe capital punishment is the worst violation of human rights, because the right to life is the most important, and judicial execution violates it without necessity and inflicts to the condemned to a psychological torture. In addition, opponents of the death penalty use the argument that executing a criminal costs more than life imprisonment does. Many states have found it cheaper to sentence criminals to life in prison than to go through the time-consuming and bureaucratic process of executing a convicted criminal.

image

Capital Punishment: Anarchist Auguste Vaillant guillotined in France in 1894.