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NCJ Number: 62610 Find in a Library
Title: CEREMONIAL JUSTICE-CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN A LOOSELY COUPLED SYSTEM
Journal: SOCIAL FORCES  Volume:58  Issue:2  Dated:(DECEMBER 1979)  Pages:506-527
Author(s): J HAGAN; J D HEWITT; D F ALWIN
Corporate Author: University of North Carolina Press
Marketing Manager
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
University of North Carolina Press
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288
Sale Source: Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CONCEPT OF 'LOOSE COUPLING' IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE IS DISCUSSED AT THE THEORETICAL LEVEL AND EXPLORED EMPIRICALLY THROUGH SENTENCING DATA FROM THE KING COUNTY (SEATTLE, WASH.,) SUPERIOR COURT.
Abstract: DOMINANT MODELS OF CRIME AND PUNISHMENT ASSUME A TIGHT FIT BETWEEN STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION IN THE CRIMINAL COURTS. AN ALTERNATIVE MODEL, ONE WHICH VIEWS CRIMINAL JUSTICE DECISIONMAKING AS THE PRODUCT OF A LOOSELY COUPLED ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM, FOCUSES ON THE MANNER IN WHICH THE COURTS MAINTAIN AND OFTEN INCREASE THE INSTITUTIONAL LEGITIMACY WITHOUT ACTUALLY CHANGING THEIR DAY-TO-DAY PRACTICES. BY TAKING ON NEW APPENDAGES DEMANDED BY CHANGES IN THE EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT (E.G., INVOLVING PROBATION OFFICERS IN THE SENTENCING PROCESS IN RESPONSE TO DEMANDS FOR INDIVIDUALIZED JUSTICE) AND THEN SELECTIVELY IGNORING THE ACTIVITIES OF THE NEW APPENDAGES, THE COURTS PERPETUATE MYTH AND CEREMONY IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. FOR EXAMPLE, DATA ON SENTENCING DECISIONS IN 504 ADULT FELONY CASES IN THE KING COUNTY COURT SHOW THAT, WHILE PROBATION OFFICERS ARE VERY ACTIVE IN THE SENTENCING PROCESS, THE OFFICERS' INFLUENCE ON SENTENCING DECISIONS IS SUBSTANTIALLY LESS THAN THAT OF THE PROSECUTOR, WHOSE SENTENCING RECOMMENDATIONS TEND TO BE COLORED BY THE ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS OF THE COURT. IMPLICATIONS OF THIS FINDING, PARTICULARLY ITS REFLECTION OF CRIMINAL COURTS' DOMINANT NEEDS FOR LEGITIMIZATION AND EFFICIENCY, ARE DISCUSSED. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Organization studies; Probation or parole officers; Prosecutors; Sentencing/Sanctions; Theory; Washington
Note: PAPER PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS, 1978
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62610

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