The Process is the Punishment

Author: Malcolm M. Feeley
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610442015
Release Date: 1979-10-03
Genre: Social Science

It is conventional wisdom that there is a grave crisis in our criminal courts: the widespread reliance on plea-bargaining and the settlement of most cases with just a few seconds before the judge endanger the rights of defendants. Not so, says Malcolm Feeley in this provocative and original book. Basing his argument on intensive study of the lower criminal court system, Feeley demonstrates that the absence of formal "due process" is preferred by all of the court's participants, and especially by defendants. Moreover, he argues, "it is not all clear that as a group defendants would be better off in a more 'formal' court system," since the real costs to those accused of misdemeanors and lesser felonies are not the fines and prison sentences meted out by the court, but the costs incurred before the case even comes before the judge—lost wages from missed work, commissions to bail bondsmen, attorney's fees, and wasted time. Therefore, the overriding interest of the accused is not to secure the formal trappings of the judicial process, but to minimize the time, and money, spent dealing with the court. Focusing on New Haven, Connecticut's, lower court, Feeley found that the defense and prosecution often agreed that the pre-trial process was sufficient to "teach the defendant a lesson." In effect, Feeley demonstrates that the informal practices of the lower courts as they are presently constituted are more "just" than they are usually given credit for being. "... a book that should be read by anyone who is interested in understanding how courts work and how the criminal sanction is administered in modern, complex societies."— Barry Mahoney, Institute for Court Management, Denver "It is grounded in a firm grasp of theory as well as thorough field research."—Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court Judge." a feature that has long been the hallmark of good American sociology: it recreates a believable world of real men and women."—Paul Wiles, Law & Society Review. "This book's findings are well worth the attention of the serious criminal justice student, and the analyses reveal a thoughtful, probing, and provocative intelligence....an important contribution to the debate on the role and limits of discretion in American criminal justice. It deserves to be read by all those who are interested in the outcome of the debate." —Jerome H. Skolnick, American Bar Foundation Research Journal

Plea Bargaining

Author: Milton Heumann
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226331881
Release Date: 1981-08-15
Genre: Political Science

"That relatively few criminal cases in this country are resolved by full Perry Mason-style strials is fairly common knowledge. Most cases are settled by a guilty plea after some form of negotiation over the charge or sentence. But why? The standard explanation is case pressure: the enormous volume of criminal cases, to be processed with limited staff, time and resources. . . . But a large body of new empirical research now demands that we re-examine plea negotiation. Milton Heumann's book, Plea Bargaining, strongly and explicitly attacks the case-pressure argument and suggests an alternative explanation for plea bargaining based on the adaptation of attorneys and judges to the local criminal court. The book is a significant and welcome addition to the literature. Heumann's investigation of case pressure and plea negotiation demonstrates solid research and careful analysis."—Michigan Law Review

Misdemeanorland

Author: Issa Kohler-Hausmann
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400890354
Release Date: 2018-04-03
Genre: Social Science

An in-depth look at the consequences of New York City’s dramatically expanded policing of low-level offenses Felony conviction and mass incarceration attract considerable media attention these days, yet the most common criminal-justice encounters are for misdemeanors, not felonies, and the most common outcome is not prison. In the early 1990s, New York City launched an initiative under the banner of Broken Windows policing to dramatically expand enforcement against low-level offenses. Misdemeanorland is the first book to document the fates of the hundreds of thousands of people hauled into lower criminal courts as part of this policing experiment. Drawing on three years of fieldwork inside and outside of the courtroom, in-depth interviews, and analysis of trends in arrests and dispositions of misdemeanors going back three decades, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues that lower courts have largely abandoned the adjudicative model of criminal law administration in which questions of factual guilt and legal punishment drive case outcomes. Due to the sheer volume of arrests, lower courts have adopted a managerial model--and the implications are troubling. Kohler-Hausmann shows how significant volumes of people are marked, tested, and subjected to surveillance and control even though about half the cases result in some form of legal dismissal. She describes in harrowing detail how the reach of America's penal state extends well beyond the shocking numbers of people incarcerated in prisons or stigmatized by a felony conviction. Revealing and innovative, Misdemeanorland shows how the lower reaches of our criminal justice system operate as a form of social control and surveillance, often without adjudicating cases or imposing formal punishment.

The Limits of the Criminal Sanction

Author: Herbert Packer
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 080478079X
Release Date: 1968-06-01
Genre: Social Science

The argument of this book begins with the proposition that there are certain things we must understand about the criminal sanction before we can begin to talk sensibly about its limits. First, we need to ask some questions about the rationale of the criminal sanction. What are we trying to do by defining conduct as criminal and punishing people who commit crimes? To what extent are we justified in thinking that we can or ought to do what we are trying to do? Is it possible to construct an acceptable rationale for the criminal sanction enabling us to deal with the argument that it is itself an unethical use of social power? And if it is possible, what implications does that rationale have for the kind of conceptual creature that the criminal law is? Questions of this order make up Part I of the book, which is essentially an extended essay on the nature and justification of the criminal sanction. We also need to understand, so the argument continues, the characteristic processes through which the criminal sanction operates. What do the rules of the game tell us about what the state may and may not do to apprehend, charge, convict, and dispose of persons suspected of committing crimes? Here, too, there is great controversy between two groups who have quite different views, or models, of what the criminal process is all about. There are people who see the criminal process as essentially devoted to values of efficiency in the suppression of crime. There are others who see those values as subordinate to the protection of the individual in his confrontation with the state. A severe struggle over these conflicting values has been going on in the courts of this country for the last decade or more. How that struggle is to be resolved is a second major consideration that we need to take into account before tackling the question of the limits of the criminal sanction. These problems of process are examined in Part II. Part III deals directly with the central problem of defining criteria for limiting the reach of the criminal sanction. Given the constraints of rationale and process examined in Parts I and II, it argues that we have over-relied on the criminal sanction and that we had better start thinking in a systematic way about how to adjust our commitments to our capacities, both moral and operational.

Punishment and Inequality in America

Author: Bruce Western
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610445559
Release Date: 2006-05-25
Genre: Social Science

Over the last thirty years, the prison population in the United States has increased more than seven-fold to over two million people, including vastly disproportionate numbers of minorities and people with little education. For some racial and educational groups, incarceration has become a depressingly regular experience, and prison culture and influence pervade their communities. Almost 60 percent of black male high school drop-outs in their early thirties have spent time in prison. In Punishment and Inequality in America, sociologist Bruce Western explores the recent era of mass incarceration and the serious social and economic consequences it has wrought. Punishment and Inequality in America dispels many of the myths about the relationships among crime, imprisonment, and inequality. While many people support the increase in incarceration because of recent reductions in crime, Western shows that the decrease in crime rates in the 1990s was mostly fueled by growth in city police forces and the pacification of the drug trade. Getting “tough on crime” with longer sentences only explains about 10 percent of the fall in crime, but has come at a significant cost. Punishment and Inequality in America reveals a strong relationship between incarceration and severely dampened economic prospects for former inmates. Western finds that because of their involvement in the penal system, young black men hardly benefited from the economic boom of the 1990s. Those who spent time in prison had much lower wages and employment rates than did similar men without criminal records. The losses from mass incarceration spread to the social sphere as well, leaving one out of ten young black children with a father behind bars by the end of the 1990s, thereby helping perpetuate the damaging cycle of broken families, poverty, and crime. The recent explosion of imprisonment is exacting heavy costs on American society and exacerbating inequality. Whereas college or the military were once the formative institutions in young men’s lives, prison has increasingly usurped that role in many communities. Punishment and Inequality in America profiles how the growth in incarceration came about and the toll it is taking on the social and economic fabric of many American communities.

Creating Born Criminals

Author: Nicole Hahn Rafter
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 025206741X
Release Date: 1997
Genre: Social Science

But Creating Born Criminals is much more than a look at the past. It is an exploration of the role of biological explanation as a form of discourse and of its impact upon society. While The Bell Curve and other recent books have stopped short of making eugenic recommendations, their contentions point toward eugenic conclusions, and people familiar with the history of eugenics can hear in them its echoes. Rafter demonstrates that we need to know how eugenic reasoning worked in the past and that we must recognize the dangers posed by the dominance of a theory that interprets social problems in biological terms and difference as biological inferiority.

Total Justice

Author: Lawrence M. Friedman
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610442305
Release Date: 1985-08-14
Genre: Social Science

It is a widely held belief today that there are too many lawsuits, too many lawyers, too much law. As readers of this engaging and provocative essay will discover, the evidence for a "litigation explosion" is actually quite ambiguous. But the American legal profession has become extremely large, and it seems clear that the scope and reach of legal process have indeed increased greatly. How can we best understand these changes? Lawrence Friedman focuses on transformations in American legal culture—that is, people's beliefs and expectations with regard to law. In the early nineteenth century, people were accustomed to facing sudden disasters (disease, accidents, joblessness) without the protection of social and private insurance. The uncertainty of life and the unavailability of compensation for loss were mirrored in a culture of low legal expectations. Medical, technical, and social developments during our own century have created a very different set of expectations about life, again reflected in our legal culture. Friedman argues that we are moving toward a general expectation of total justice, of recompense for all injuries and losses that are not the victim's fault. And the expansion of legal rights and protections in turn creates fresh expectations, a cycle of demand and response. This timely and important book articulates clearly, and in nontechnical language, the recent changes that many have sensed in the American legal system but that few have discussed in so powerful and sensible a way. Total Justice is the third of five special volumes commissioned by the Russell Sage Foundation to mark its seventy-fifth anniversary.

Courts

Author: Cassia Spohn
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 9781412997188
Release Date: 2011-11-09
Genre: Law

Courts: A Text/Reader provides the best of both worlds— authored text sections with carefully selected accompanying readings that illustrate the questions and controversies legal scholars and court researchers are investigating in the 21st century. The articles, from leading journals in criminology and criminal justice, reflect both classic studies of the criminal court system and state-of-the-art research, and often have a policy perspective that makes them more applied, less theoretical, and more interesting to both undergraduate and graduate students.

American Criminal Justice Policy

Author: Daniel P. Mears
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521762465
Release Date: 2010-04-12
Genre: Social Science

Examines the most prominent criminal justice policies, finding that they fall short of achieving the effectiveness that policymakers have advocated.

Trust in the Law

Author: Tom R. Tyler
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 9781610445429
Release Date: 2002-10-10
Genre: Psychology

Public opinion polls suggest that American's trust in the police and courts is declining. The same polls also reveal a disturbing racial divide, with minorities expressing greater levels of distrust than whites. Practices such as racial profiling, zero-tolerance and three-strikes laws, the use of excessive force, and harsh punishments for minor drug crimes all contribute to perceptions of injustice. In Trust in the Law, psychologists Tom R. Tyler and Yuen J. Huo present a compelling argument that effective law enforcement requires the active engagement and participation of the communities it serves, and argue for a cooperative approach to law enforcement that appeals to people's sense of fair play, even if the outcomes are not always those with which they agree. Based on a wide-ranging survey of citizens who had recent contact with the police or courts in Oakland and Los Angeles, Trust in the Law examines the sources of people's favorable and unfavorable reactions to their encounters with legal authorities. Tyler and Huo address the issue from a variety of angles: the psychology of decision acceptance, the importance of individual personal experiences, and the role of ethnic group identification. They find that people react primarily to whether or not they are treated with dignity and respect, and the degree to which they feel they have been treated fairly helps to shape their acceptance of the legal process. Their findings show significantly less willingness on the part of minority group members who feel they have been treated unfairly to trust the motives to subsequent legal decisions of law enforcement authorities. Since most people in the study generalize from their personal experiences with individual police officers and judges, Tyler and Huo suggest that gaining maximum cooperation and consent of the public depends upon fair and transparent decision-making and treatment on the part of law enforcement officers. Tyler and Huo conclude that the best way to encourage compliance with the law is for legal authorities to implement programs that foster a sense of personal involvement and responsibility. For example, community policing programs, in which the local population is actively engaged in monitoring its own neighborhood, have been shown to be an effective tool in improving police-community relationships. Cooperation between legal authorities and community members is a much discussed but often elusive goal. Trust in the Law shows that legal authorities can behave in ways that encourage the voluntary acceptance of their directives, while also building trust and confidence in the overall legitimacy of the police and courts. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust

Criminal Courts

Author: Craig Hemmens
Publisher: SAGE
ISBN: 9781412979566
Release Date: 2009-11-05
Genre: Law

This comprehensive textbook covers court structure, courtroom actors, and the trial and appeal process. In addition, it also covers related areas often not covered, or inadequately covered, in many courts textbooks. These include judicial decision-making, specialized courts, and comparative court systems.

Brick by Brick

Author: Jeffrey A. Butts
Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
ISBN: 1478262621
Release Date: 2012-07-17
Genre: Social Science

Changes in juvenile law and juvenile court procedure are slowly dismantling the jurisdictional border between juvenile and criminal justice. Juvenile courts across the United States are increasingly similar to criminal courts in their method as well as in their general atmosphere. State and Federal laws are being changed to send a growing number of young offenders to criminal court where they can be tried as if they were adults. The two court systems appear to be moving toward complete convergence. Policymakers and practitioners need to be aware of the factors leading to this convergence and they should understand the effects it may have on offenders, victims, and the general community. This discssion reviews the origins of juvenile justice in the United States, summarizes the legislative and policy changes that are effectively dismantling the juvenile-criminal border, and examines research on the impact of such policies. The discussion concludes with a review of issues that should be prominent in any debate about the future viability of the juvenile-criminal boundary.

Court Reform on Trial

Author: Malcolm M. Feeley
Publisher: Quid Pro Books
ISBN: 9781610272032
Release Date: 2013-07-19
Genre: Law

COURT REFORM ON TRIAL is a recognized study of innovation in the process of criminal justice, and why it so often fails--despite the best intentions of judges, administrators, and reformers. The arc of innovation and disappointment is analyzed through such programs as bail reform, pretrial diversion, speedy trials, and determinate sentencing. The much-maligned system of plea bargaining shifts power to prosecutors away from judges, and formal trials recede in importance--but is that really the problem? Perhaps failure lies in unrealistic expectations, splintered systems and decisionmaking, waning political will, unempowered constituencies, and reformers' hubris. Feeley analyzes the persistent failure and proposes insightful pathways out of the cycle. First commissioned as a study in the influential Twentieth Century Fund series, the book is accessible for today's readers as part of the Classics of Law & Society series of Quid Pro Books. It adds a reflective preface by the author and a new foreword by Greg Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Court Innovation. Calling it an "intellectual touchstone" that's "brimming with energy not resignation," Berman writes that the book "has all of the hallmarks of Feeley's best work. Lucid prose. Idiosyncratic analysis. A willingness to speak truth to vested interests. And a commitment to describing the way the world actually works from a ground-level perspective--as opposed to the official versions of how systems theoretically should function." New ebook edition features active TOC, linked Notes, and proper formatting in a modern digital presentation.

American Judicial Process

Author: Pamela C. Corley
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781136286568
Release Date: 2015-09-25
Genre: Political Science

This text is a general introduction to American judicial process. The authors cover the major institutions, actors, and processes that comprise the U.S. legal system, viewed from a political science perspective. Grounding their presentation in empirical social science terms, the authors identify popular myths about the structure and processes of American law and courts and then contrast those myths with what really takes place. Three unique elements of this "myth versus reality" framework are incorporated into each of the topical chapters: 1) "Myth versus Reality" boxes that lay out the topics each chapter covers, using the myths about each topic contrasted with the corresponding realities. 2) "Pop Culture" boxes that provide students with popular examples from film, television, and music that tie-in to chapter topics and engage student interest. 3) "How Do We Know?" boxes that discuss the methods of social scientific inquiry and debunk common myths about the judiciary and legal system. Unlike other textbooks, American Judicial Process emphasizes how pop culture portrays—and often distorts—the judicial process and how social science research is brought to bear to provide an accurate picture of law and courts. In addition, a rich companion website will include PowerPoint lectures, suggested topics for papers and projects, a test bank of objective questions for use by instructors, and downloadable artwork from the book. Students will have access to annotated web links and videos, flash cards of key terms, and a glossary.

Boys Among Men

Author: David L. Myers
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 0275982548
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Law

Sheds new light on the popular but controversial move to charge, try, and sentence juvenile offenders as adults.