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NCJ Number: 50781 Find in a Library
Title: REFLECTIONS ON THE RENAISSANCE OF DANGEROUSNESS
Journal: HOWARD JOURNAL OF PENOLOGY AND CRIME PREVENTION  Volume:16  Issue:2  Dated:(1977)  Pages:70-96
Author(s): A E BOTTOMS
Corporate Author: Barry Rose Publishers
United Kingdom

Howard League for Penal Reform
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Barry Rose Publishers
Chichester, Sussex, England
Howard League for Penal Reform
London, N19 3NL, England
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: THIS CRITIQUE OF THE CONCEPT OF DANGEROUSNESS EXAMINES SPECIFIC PROPOSALS OF THE BUTLER COMMITTEE AND THE SCOTTISH COUNCIL ON CRIME IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
Abstract: ACCORDING TO THE BUTLER COMMITTEE DANGEROUSNESS IS A PROPENSITY TO CAUSE SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY OR LASTING PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM. THE TERMS 'SERIOUS' AND 'LASTING,' HOWEVER, ARE NOT DEFINED. THE SCOTTISH COUNCIL ON CRIME DOES NOT RESTRICT THE USE OF DANGEROUSNESS TO THE MENTALLY ABNORMAL BUT EMPLOYS IT FOR ALL POTENTIALLY REPEAT VIOLENT OFFENDERS. FOR THE COUNCIL DANGEROUSNESS INVOLVES THE PROBABILITY THAT AN OFFENDER WILL INFLICT SERIOUS AND IRREMEDIAL PERSONAL INJURY IN THE FUTURE. THE TWO PROPOSALS ON DANGEROUSNESS ADVOCATE PREVENTIVE CONFINEMENT OF DANGEROUS OFFENDERS. THEY ARE EVALUATED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF PENAL SYSTEMS IN RELATION TO THE FOLLOWING THREE MAIN TRADITIONS OF THOUGHT: TRADITIONALIST, CLASSICIST, AND POSITIVIST. THE TRADITIONALIST SCHOOL IS BASED ON PRINCIPLES OF RETRIBUTION AND GENERAL DETERRENCE LINKED USUALLY TO A CERTAIN MODE OF RELIGIOUS THOUGHT. IT RELIES HEAVILY ON THE ELIMINATION OF DANGEROUSNESS BY EXECUTION OR TRANSPORTATION, AND VIEWS THE PROTECTION OF SOCIETY AND THE PUNISHMENT OF OFFENDERS AS FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED. THE CLASSICIST SCHOOL VIEWS THE INDIVIDUAL AS A FREE RATIONAL AGENT AND THE STATE AS EXISTING THROUGH A SOCIAL CONTRACT AMONG RATIONAL CITIZENS FOR THEIR MUTUAL PRESERVATION. POSITIVISTS ARE COMMITTED TO THE APPLICATION OF NATURAL SCIENCE METHODS TO THE STUDY OF INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY AND ARE CONCERNED WITH ELIMINATING ANTISOCIAL CONDUCT. THERE ARE TWO MAJOR LINES OF CRITICISM WHICH MAY BE MADE OF PROPOSALS SUCH AS THOSE OF THE BUTLER COMMITTEE AND THE SCOTTISH COUNCIL. THE FIRST IS EMPIRICAL AND CENTERS AROUND THE ISSUE OF 'FALSE POSITIVES,' CONCERNING CASES WHERE A PSYCHIATRIST MAY PREDICT WRONGLY THAT A PERSON WILL BEHAVE VIOLENTLY. THE SECOND LINE OF CRITICISM QUESTIONS THE CONCEPTUAL ASSUMPTIONS OF THE POSITIVISTS WHICH LIE BEHIND THE PROPOSALS; THE PROPOSALS IGNORE THE MEANING CONTENT OF HUMAN ACTIONS AND TREAT HUMAN ACTION IN THE SAME WAY AS IT WOULD TREAT ANIMAL BEHAVIOR. THESE PROPOSALS ALSO IGNORE THE ROLE OF THE STATE IN THE SPHERE OF CRIMINAL ACTION AND ACCEPT WITHOUT QUESTION THE ROLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC EXPERT. EXAMPLES OF DANGEROUS ACTIONS THAT ARE NOT COVERED BY THE PROPOSALS ARE INCLUDED. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Preventive detention; Psychiatry; Scotland; Theory; United Kingdom (UK); Violent offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50781

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