Popular Punitivism In The Criminal Justice System

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According to Duffee, “criminal justice is a term used to denote the distribution of penal sanctions and the administration of agencies involved in law enforcement, prosecution, and punishment.” In 1976, a man by the name of Guenther stated that he believed that the criminal justice system was “unfair, harsh, and biased,” and he argued that the system was a criminal processing system rather than a justice system.
Since Guenther didn’t think we had a criminal justice system, we should start by learning what one should look like. Herbert Packer tells us that there are 4 assumptions that must be met in order for us to call our system a criminal justice system. The first assumption makes sure that we understand what peoples jobs are in the system.
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The main topic that we get from this idea is popular punitivism. Popular punitivism is a process that is used all over the world to try and control crime. It is a concept that balances coercion and consent that uses movements that are with the popular opinion “to engage in vote buying and power maintenance” (Makin). The idea of this is that officials focus crimes that the public is seeing more often than usually. Looking at Cohen’s deviancy amplification process can help explain this better. The process shows that when the media begins to talk more about a certain crime then the public thinks that that particular crime rate is rising and the clear up rate is falling. After this the fear of crime increasing and there begins to be a mass panic. The officials see this panic and focus their attention on the punishment of that crime. New legislations are created that impose more severe punishments so that the officials can show the community that they see what is going on and they are trying to fix it. Citizens believe that if the officials are tough on the crime than the problem will go away. However, we know that the problem does not just go away and now that we have harsher penalties there are more people being thrown into
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