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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 171306 Find in a Library
Title: Victimless Crime? Prostitution, Drugs, Homosexuality, Abortion
Author(s): R F Meier; G Geis
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 224
Sponsoring Agency: Roxbury Publishing Co.
Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044
Publication Number: ISBN 0-935732-46-2
Sale Source: Roxbury Publishing Co.
P.O. Box 491044
Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book provides an in-depth discussion of behaviors in the areas of prostitution and drugs ("victimless crimes") and homosexuality and abortion ("victims without crimes") and then reviews the conflicting opinions about the proper role of criminal law for dealing with them.
Abstract: The focus of the book is on four behaviors -- prostitution, drug use, homosexuality, and abortion -- about which American moral codes have historically dictated the imposition of penalties by the state. These behaviors were selected for analysis because they have traditionally been regarded as core issues in debates about "victimless crimes" and most readily come to citizens' minds when they consider such topics. Second, there is a long course of scholarship and debate on these behaviors that offers some historical insight into how they have been regarded at various times. Third, each behavior illustrates a different dimension of the relationship between law and effective social control. This examination of "victimless crimes" begins with the observation that the concept of harm is fundamental to an understanding of why certain behaviors are defined as criminal by the law. If there are differences of opinion about laws, they often revolve around the concept of harm, i.e., how much harm is there from the behavior, who suffers from it, and the kinds of risks against which we can reasonably expect legal protection. Some of the issues considered are the nature of immorality and whether all immorality perceived by the majority in a culture should be illegal; the importance of privacy; alternative controls; harm to others; and whether crimes without complaining witnesses are enforceable. The authors conclude that various groups and individuals will continue to advocate the use of the law to solve their problems, to further their personal or collective interests, and to attempt to reduce the incidence of what they perceive as undesirable behavior. In this process, it can be expected that at various times the law will be used inappropriately, imperfectly, and with considerable disagreement and debate about which behaviors should be criminalized. Chapter references and subject and author indexes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Abortion; Criminalization; Drug abuse; Homosexuality; Prostitution; Victimless crimes
Note: From the Roxbury Series in Crime, Justice, and Law.
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