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NCJ Number: 99047 Find in a Library
Title: Symbolism and Rhetoric - The Guardians of Status Quo in the Criminal Justice System
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:10  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1985)  Pages:41-46
Author(s): R Lorinskas; D Kalinich; D Banas
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study argues that criminal justice bureaucracies depend upon symbolism and rhetoric as a major component of organizational stability. Because political pressures on the criminal justice system are usually reactive rather than systematic and sustaining, pressures can be placated through symbolic and rhetorical responses rather than substantive responses. It is further argued that much of what appeared to be changes in philosophies or processes of criminal justice agencies may have merely been symbolism or window dressing. Ironically, the reliance on symbols to legitimize the workings of the criminal justice system can lead to substantive change. In those instances when important symbols have eroded, criminal justice agencies dependent upon such symbols have been made politically vulnerable, and substantive change has also taken place. (Author abstract)
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