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The Socialization of the Criminal Justice System

Restorative Justice

Kathleen Daly in her work studies the distinct features of the restorative and retributive justice on the basis of ideas of various researchers and the reports presented at the conference. The author evidences the existing strong interconnection between them. Much attention is paid to the discussion and critique of the biased gender approach towards the understanding of these justices and the historical background of their formation. Kathleen Daly (2002) also provides real-life examples and the outcomes of the reports that investigated the similar matters. The discussion of the theoretical approaches, historical evidences and real-life situations proves that there is a significant gap between the real and perceived restorative justice.

One of the major strengths of the current work is that the study was performed during a long period (since 1990s) (Daly, 2002). This enables one to eliminate any fluctuations in the outcomes caused by inaccuracy and insufficiency of data that short-term researches provide. The author tries to narrow his investigations only by assessing the individual crimes and reports presented at conferences in one particular location Australia and New Zealand (Daly, 2002). This enables one to concentrate on particular area and avoid obtaining of the inaccurate outcomes. Kathleen Daly (2002) presents a broad understanding of the term of restorative and retributive approaches to justice by interpretation and analysis of its different definitions, and by explanation of its distinct features and the role of all the involved parties (victims, offenders and communities). Much attention is paid to the opposition of the restorative and retributive approaches, as well as old and new justices for more precise covering of the discussed topic. One more strength of the article is that the author tries to avoid the biased attitude to approaches to justice in order to adding ethics and relevance to her studies (i.e. association of justice and care reasoning with male/masculine and female/feminine voices) (Daly, 2002, p. 65).

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The discussed article has also several weaknesses. The first and the most evident is that the outcomes are obtained on the basis of researches presented at conferencing in New Zealand and Australia (Daly, 2002). Thus, no information from other locations is taken into the consideration. The study is performed only by using the interviews of offenders and victims who were presented at the above mentioned conferences. Consequently, the cases that were not presented at these events are not analyzed. Thus, the author did not conduct a comprehensive study of the discussed question. There is insufficient amount of evidence (i.e. ideas by different authors) that support the authors statement that advocates seem to assume that an ideal justice system should be of one type only, that it should be pure and not contaminated by or mixed with others (Daly, 2002, p. 59). Kathleen Daly (2002) notes only Meads (191718) The psychology of punitive justice (Daly, 2002, p. 59). Moreover, the author states that during her observations, she discovered that the participants of the conference discussed the multiple justice aims and listed these aims (Daly, 2002). However, no figures of the percentage of these aims are provided in the discussed article. Consequently, it is impossible to determine how many participants supported the multiple approach (i.e. support was relevant). In general, the insufficient amount of statistical information (for example, notification of the number of respondents, victims, offenders, etc. whose words or actions support some particular myth or idea) makes it impossible to assess the relevance of the authors conclusions. The additional attention should be paid to the fact that while providing the figures of other researches, the author does not specify the characteristics of the performed crimes.

The further research of restorative justice can be improved by the analysis of its effectiveness for the victims and offenders involved in the specific type of a crime. More attention should be paid to the presentation of quantitative information and its assessment. The fulfillment of these recommendations would enable one to make the research more narrow, accurate and relevant.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Centenary

Berry Feld (1991) in his work discusses the changes in the juvenile legislature and prosecution that took place during the 20th century and led to the shifts in the role of juvenile courts. These institutions started to perform not only criminal social control, but also the establishment of the social welfare. It happened due to the social, demographic and economic changes in the American society. The author argues that the combination of these two roles led to the ineffective performance of both of them.

The work under consideration has numerous strengths in the discussion of the juvenile court. The first one is the interconnection of the changes in this tribunal and social, racial-demographic, economic and political processes in the society that enables the consideration of the discussed topic together with the changes in the life of common people (Feld, 1991). The author considers the control of the juvenile offenders not only from the parental or legal sides, but also from the side of the state (the State as super-parent) (Feld, 1991, p. 190) in the discussion of the changing of the role of court. This approach explains that the state government also has the considerable influence on the legislation connected with the juvenile offenders, and it obtained the ability to respond to non-criminal behavior, such as smoking (Feld, 1991). The author proves that this process is the major root of the criminal courts rejection of the procedural safeguards and criminal laws jurisprudence (Feld, 1991). Berry Feld (1991) evidences the negative consequences of the Supreme Courts In re Gault (1967) decision by the example of the real cases (McKiever v. Pennsylvania (1971) is one of them) to support his statement that this decision formed the barriers of the regenerative treatment for children and realization of the full procedural rights for adults. The author links the current legislating processes with the transition of the juvenile offenders to the mental health institutions. This evidences that he performed the multi-dimensional analysis of the discussed topic. Moreover, Berry Feld (1991) provides the information about the mandatory minimum-offense-based criteria used in various states. This proves that the current legislating system is oriented to the rationalization of sentencing decisions and symbolic demonstration of legislators toughness (Feld, 1991).

Unfortunately, the discussed work also contains several weaknesses, which have the significant influence on the perception of the provided ideas. First of all, there is no clear evidence that the US laws and culture has the doubtful consideration of the youth: as innocent, vulnerable, fragile, and dependent children whom their parents and the state should protect and nurture and as vigorous, autonomous and responsible almost adult-like people from whose criminal behavior the public needs protection (Feld, 1991, p. 188). This is reflected in an inadequate reference to the particular laws. For example, the author notes that child-centered reforms, such as the juvenile court, child labor, social welfare, and compulsory school attendance laws (Feld, 1991, p. 190); however, no numbers and names of laws are given for checking the relevance of this information. There is scarcity of evidence (such as the statistical information, trends, etc.) that juvenile courts made less emphasis on punishment of young offenders and greater emphasis on their treatment and supervision. Berry Feld (1991) makes a significant emphasis on the offences performed by the African Americans and white Americans and the related processes in discussion of almost all aspects of the juvenile offences. However, little information concerning the minority groups is provided. This fact proves the biased attitude of the author. The article does not contain strong opposing ideas and their contestation with accurate figures and relevant evidences. Thus, the coverage of the topic is unilateral. The author notes that the current legislature increases the social antipathy to other peoples children by emphasizing that they are law violators (Feld, 1991, p. 208). By this statement (and by similar statements that are vastly presented in this article) the author appeals to the emotions of the readers by imparting emotional overtone to the fact that the young offenders are someones children and failing to fully admit that these individuals committed crimes by their own choice.

It is recommended that further researchers make a greater emphasis on the assessment of the particular laws and cases with the greater number of statistical data in the further research. More attention should be paid to the representatives of the juvenile offenders of other minority groups to avoid the biased attitude. The author should pay attention to the assessment of various points of views to make the discussion more significant and relevant.

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Toward Theories about Criminal Justice

Jack P. Gibbs (1988) discusses the aims of the criminal justice system, its efficacy and consequences. The author appeals to numerous theories and examples during his discussions. This work evidences that the workers of the criminal justice system should consider the relevant matters from different sides by using different theories. This will grant the general understanding of the analyzed matters and avoid the wrong perceptions caused by the unilateral assessment.

In the beginning of the article, the author clearly states the discussed questions and provides the straightforward answers to them in the form of description and discussion of various theories supported by corresponding examples. This structure enables one to avoid ambiguity and nebulosity. The stated questions are discussed with reference to the historical and social processes for better understanding of the processes in the American criminal justice system, which serves as the background of its formation. The proposition of various theories and doctrines as the background for the answers to the set questions enables readers to have broad understanding of the issue and make their decision as to which of them is the most suitable for the current criminal justice system. Another strength of the article is that a variety of the discussed theories enables their application in the different situations and events. The provided answers are focused on the social, cultural, historical, and even economic aspects and show that the criminal justice system has the influence on all of them at the current moment.

The author rarely supports his statements by the ideas of other researchers. Jack P. Gibbs often perceived his own believes as prima facie evidence with the little support of other researchers and without the necessity to provide and discuss any ideas opposing to his own. Thus, they can be considered as questionable. The provided theories are discussed but not compared with each other. Some of the made statements are not sufficiently clarified. For example, the author notes that yet in many jurisdictions rehabilitation is limited to probation, parole, and a few vocational-educational programs in carceral contexts (Gibbs, 1988, p. 23). However, there is no clarification in what particular jurisdictions and by what regulations it is realized. Notwithstanding the fact that the author proposes various theories to answer the set questions, none of them seems to be unquestionably right and suitable. The major weakness of the current work is that the author chooses rather complicated topics for such a short discussion. He himself also notes that any interpretation of efficacy of criminal law refers to extremely diverse phenomena (Gibbs, 1988, p. 25). I think that such matters as the aim of the criminal justice system, its efficacy and consequences require deeper historical, social, economic, political and even psychological considerations with the reference to the local and state processes. Thus, this article provides the superficial explanation of the discussed matters.

It is recommended that the author makes a deeper investigation of the chosen topics with the reference to the concrete social, legislative and economic processes, which happened over the longer period of time. This will add importance and relevance to future studies.

Comparative Criminal Justice

David Nelken (2009) in his article suggests that the American criminal justice system should be considered differently from the criminal justice system and rates of incarceration of other countries, such as Italy, the Neatherlands, and Denmark. This suggestion is based on a great variety of factors: social, economic, political, and cultural. The author provides the description and discussion of Cavadlino and Dignans analysis of differences in rates of incarceration in the preparation of the current work. The depiction of the dependence of the prsion rates on the distinct characteristics of different criminal justice systems, punititvenes and social tolearcne enables one to avoid relativisn and ethnocentrism.

There are several strength features that make this article more relevant. The first one is that the author provides the examples of the addressing of criminal justice issues in different countries (e.g. the Neatherlands, Italy and Denmark) to show various approaches and their consequences that are applied in the real-life situations. At the same time, the discussion is rather narrow, i.e. it is focused on these countries only. This provides more precise analysis of the criminal justice stystems and the processes that influence the tolerance, punititiveness, and rate of imprisonment. David Nelken (2009) in his work consideres and discusses ideas of different reserachers who connected the perceptions of penal punishment and incarceration with distinct cultural characteristics, kinds of political economy, political processes, and social trends. He presents the figures as the evidence of these theories and compares them with each other for deeper understanding of the discussed topic. David Nelken (2009) recognizes that the discussed matters, such as tolerance, clearly varies from place to place (p. 306), explaining that they depend on a great variety of factors distinct for some particular location, nationality and ethnicity, which cannot be covered in one article.

This article has several weaknesses. The first one is that the author consideres the overall punititiveness, i.e. no attention to the different peoples attitude to various types of crimes was given. The discussion of this method requires analysis of the social perception of various types of crimes, such as personal crimes, property crimes, etc. Moreover, there is no division of punititiveness of the crimes performed by adults and children. No information concerning the legislature and peoples attitudes to capital punishment is provided. The prison rates and the formation of the perception of the necessity of the incarceration depend on a great variety of factors, which influence can be reflected over the long-period of time. Thus, the analysis of the discussed topic on the basis of the figures for a relatively short time period (mostly for 2002 and 2008) does not provide complete understanding of it. The major weakness of the reserch is that David Nelken (2009) does not provide the comparison of the quantitative research performed by Cavadlino and Dignan with any similar quantitative research. The outcomes presented by these authors are argued by using the qualitative researches.

In the further studies of the discussed topic, it is recommended that the authors consider and analyse a greater number of quanitative researches that cover the events that happened over a longer period of time. This would enable one to provide the comparison of outcomes and better assessment of the impact of various factors.

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