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NCJ Number: 51254 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: ON THE QUESTION OF DIFFERENTIAL JUSTICE - A LOOK AT A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Author(s): F P WILLIAMS
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 236
Sponsoring Agency: UMI Dissertation Services
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 74-NI-99-0051
Sale Source: UMI Dissertation Services
300 North Zeeb Road
P.O. Box 1346
Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
United States of America
Type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: DATA ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM OF AN URBAN COUNTY IN CALIFORNIA ARE ANALYZED TO TEST 25 PROPOSITIONS DERIVED FROM THE CONFLICT THEORY OF CRIMINOLOGY.
Abstract: CONFLICT THEORY MAY BE TRACED TO THE MARXIST VIEW THAT SOCIETY IS CHARACTERIZED BY CONFLICT DUE TO A SCARCITY OF RESOURCES AND A HISTORICAL INEQUALITY IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF THOSE RESOURCES, MOST NOTABLY POWER. SINCE THE LATE 1960'S, CONFLICT HAS BEEN REPLACING CONSENSUS AS THE MAJOR THEORETICAL FORCE IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD. IN CRIMINOLOGY, THE THEORY HAS MOVED IN TWO GENERAL DIRECTIONS: EMPHASIS ON USE OF THE LAW AS COERCIVE POWER (A RELATIVELY CONSERVATIVE PERSPECTIVE); AND EMPHASIS ON USE OF THE LAW AS AN AGENCY FOR THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS, LIBERTIES, AND INTERESTS OF SOCIETAL MEMBERS, WITH A CONSEQUENT DISSOLUTION OF CAPITALIST GOVERNING MECHANISMS. SOME CRIMINOLOGISTS HAVE EMBRACED THE IMPLICATIONS OF CONFLICT THEORY AS VERITABLE TRUTHS, BUT THE THEORY'S FOUNDATIONS IN EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE REMAIN OBSCURE. WHAT EVIDENCE DOES EXIST IS BASED ON PIECEMEAL, METHODOLOGICALLY QUESTIONABLE RESEARCH. TO TEST THE THEORY, 25 PROPOSITIONS WERE DEVELOPED AND APPLIED TO DATA ON THE WORKINGS OF ONE COUNTY'S ENTIRE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM--ARREST, ARRAIGNMENT, ADJUDICATION, AND SENTENCING. THE DATA REPRESENT A SAMPLE OF 2,464 CASES PROCESSED FROM JANUARY THROUGH AUGUST 1975. THE ANALYSIS REVEALS A LACK OF SUPPORT FOR CONFLICT PROPOSITIONS IN ALL AREAS BUT SENTENCING. EVEN THIS AREA, HOWEVER, FAILS TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENTLY STRONG SUPPORT TO SUBSTANTIATE THE THEORY. AN ANALYSIS OF TOTAL SYSTEM DISPOSITIONS, UNDERTAKEN TO TEST FOR A POSSIBLE CUMULATIVE EFFECT, FAILS TO SHOW MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATIONS EITHER BY RACE OR BY OCCUPATIONAL STATUS. THE ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT THE PORTION OF CONFLICT THEORY THAT ADDRESSES THE DIFFERENTIAL PROCESSING OF LESS POWERFUL MEMBERS OF SOCIETY IS NOT A USABLE CONCEPT. HOWEVER, CONFLICT THEORY ITSELF, IN A MORE BASIC AND GENERAL FASHION AND IN REFERENCE TO THE MAKING OF LAWS, IS NOT AFFECTED BY THIS CONCLUSION. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT FUTURE THEORY-TESTING EFFORTS FOCUS ON LAWMAKING RATHER THAN ON PROCESSING. SUPPORTING DATA, STUDY INSTRUMENTS, AND A LIST OF REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--LKM)
Index Term(s): Arraignment; Arrest and apprehension; California; Criminology; Dispositions; Sentencing/Sanctions; Studies; Theory
Note: FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY - DOCTORAL DISSERTATION
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51254

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