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 suggests that social justice can be seen through a variety of macro factors such as wealth, ethnicity, class, and gender (Richie, 2011).
Beth Richie argues that scholars and activists should ‘‘prioritise the intellectual work that contributes to a more just society’’ regardless of their role within Criminology (Richie, 2011) therefore she believes that social justice is an area of Criminology which needs more focus and more research to be carried out in order to further our understanding and maybe determine the true levels of inequality within a society and the criminal justice system. From this we can interpret that some criminologists may fail to look at this inequality as a factor for committing crime when in fact in most cases it has a big role to play, for example those living in poverty can feel as though they are being pushed into pursuing a life of crime as for some it is seen as the only option, research carried out by the Association of Chief Office...
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...h needs to put more focus on the factors that may cause someone to commit a crime rather than just the black and white facts. There have been many theories which are associated with social justice and some have been discussed in Richie’s article and in this essay. Changes have been made in the law with the sole purpose of achieving social justice, however, one thing that is for certain is that injustice still prevails and can be seen in many forms such as education and an unfair criminal justice system that targets people based on their race, class, gender or ethnicity etc. This example was previously stated in this essay and is an occurring problem which can be seen in the statistics of imprisonment and stops and searches, therefore research needs to focus on why these inequalities are happening and what can be done in order to gain a fairer criminal justice system.
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