Social Justice Case Study

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This essay will be focusing on an article by Beth Richie and is going to explain what social justice is and how it is related to the criminal justice system. I will use examples to illustrate social justice drawing on Beth Richie’s example of women and substance abuse and discuss some of the theories used in her article and finally concluding whether social justice can be accomplished. Social justice is generally associated with the concept of equality and equal opportunities for everyone within a society, however, the meaning of social justice is actually much broader than this and tends to vary between different individuals depending on their experience of it (State, 2013). In her article ‘Criminology and Social Justice: Expanding the Intellectual Commitment’ Beth Richie…show more content…
In her research Richie found that this kind of activity leaves these women ‘vulnerable to the long arm of the criminal justice system’ (Daly and Tonry, 1997) and this is reflected in the growing population of those who are incarcerated in the U.S. Richie finds that substance abuse tends to be misclassified as a crime problem when it could, in fact, be better understood as a matter of social injustice (Richie, 2011). This over-representation is also reflected by other marginalised groups, who similar to those women in Richie’s study are ‘under surveillance and control of the criminal legal system in this country’ (Mauer 1999; Spohn and Spears 2003) (Richie, 2011). The concept of social justice within criminology and criminal justice can be represented through certain groups and individuals. An example of this are individuals with a socially excluded background, so those within the lower and working class of society. The Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) lists a number of problems amongst the causes of crime such as unemployment, debt, education etc. (Social Exclusion Unit,
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