CRJ 202-1101 (Corrections)
Take-Home Short Essay Midterm Exam
1. The History of Corrections: The Discovery of the Asylum = How do the
sociocultural issues related to punishment in colonial and postcolonial society
relate to punishment practices today?
In the reading, David Rothman describes crime in America in the eighteenth
century as a critical social problem although they did not define it as such. Little energy
was devoted to devising and enacting programs which will reform offenders with no
expectations to eradicate crime, they also never attempted to isolate the deviance in the
society. The United States of America is till today is known for the distinctiveness of its
society caused as a result of the racial, ethnic, and religious diversity that is very rare in
Europe. Most European countries are not as diverse as we are in this country.
Forms of punishment in Colonial and postcolonial era were of various forms.
Rothman continued in the reading that the communities were willing to allow offenders
another chance to integrate into the society, they also followed clear and well
established guidelines and many behaviors were found to be deviant by these
guidelines. Religious offenses like idolatry, blasphemy and witchcraft were seen as
offenses especially to God. Public punishment was the most common form of
punishment Incarceration was not common, but public punishments like whipping,
getting locked up in a mounted gallows, branding were more common penalties and
people who could not bear the shame most times chose to pay fines rather than take
the unbearable punishments, Most communities choose to banish repeat offenders
rather than have them amongst them. Most of these punishment...
... middle of paper ...
...e ones regularly sent away by these harsh laws, these laws were so
powerful that judges who even tried to do something with their discretionary powers
when sentencing drug offenders were handicapped. Most administrations after Nixon
pushed for the decriminalization of marijuana because most people behind bars as a
result of marijuana related crimes and violations were mostly nonviolent offenders.
President Jimmy Carter at one point announced to the U.S congress that he totally
supports legislative moves that will amend federal laws which will eliminate all the
criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
In conclusion, because of the way the anti-Drug laws by president Nixon
incarcerated most African Americans and Minorities it was perceived by many as the
modern Jim Crow law made to punish minorities and poor people in a civilized manner.
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