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NCJ Number: 63718 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL JUSTICE FOR WHOM? A CRITICAL APPRAISAL (FROM CRITICAL ISSUES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE, 1979, BY R G IACOVETTA AND DAE H CHANG - SEE NCJ-63717)
Author(s): R J MICHALOWSKI
Corporate Author: Carolina Academic Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Carolina Academic Press
Durham, NC 27701
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN A CAPITALIST SOCIETY IS TO PRESERVE THE PRIVILEGES OF THE UPPER CLASSES BY FOCUSING ON CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS OR PROPERTY AND NEGLECTING CORPORATE CRIME.
Abstract: STUDIES INDICATE THAT PUBLIC POLICIES ON ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT FREQUENTLY REFLECT THE VIEWPOINTS AND INTERESTS OF ECONOMIC ELITES. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM LEGALIZES THESE INEQUITIES BY PUNISHING PROPERTY CRIMES AND VIOLENCE WHILE LARGELY IGNORING ACTS COMMITTED BY CORPORATION OR POLITICAL ELITES ALTHOUGH THEY OFTEN THREATEN THE LIVES OF AVERAGE CITIZENS. THROUGHOUT HISTORY STATES HAVE SOUGHT TO CONTROL DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR, BUT THE MODERN POLITICAL STATE HAS TAKEN DISTINCTIVE MEASURES TO MAKE PROTECTION OF CITIZENS SUBSERVIENT TO ITS INTERESTS: ALL VIOLENCE EXCEPT THAT COMMITTED BY THE STATE IS OUTLAWED, INDIVIDUALS MUST SUBMIT DISPUTES TO STATE ORGANIZATIONS FOR SETTLEMENT, AND CRIMES ARE VIEWED AS INJURIES AGAINST THE STATE RATHER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL. THE MODERN JUSTICE SYSTEM CONSIDERS A CRIME SERIOUS ONLY WHEN AN OFFENDER, THE VICTIM, AND THE INTENT TO INJURE CAN BE IDENTIFIED. CORPORATE CRIMES, SUCH AS PRICE FIXING OR ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, DO NOT MEET THESE STANDARDS. THEIR PERPETRATORS AND VICTIMS INVOLVE GROUPS; THEIR MOTIVATION MAY BE CAREER ADVANCEMENT RATHER THAN MONETARY GAIN. FURTHERMORE, PRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCY IS THE GUIDING PRINCIPLE OF THE CAPITALIST STATE, AND THIS EXCLUDES THE POOR, UNEDUCATED, AND MINORITIES FROM THE STABLE LABOR FORCE. MOST FELONIES ARE COMMITTED FOR RELATIVELY SMALL ECONOMIC GAINS BY PERSONS WHO VIEW CRIME AS A VIABLE MEANS FOR SURVIVAL BECAUSE THE REWARDS FROM LEGITIMATE ACTIVITY ARE MINIMAL. ONLY IN A SOCIETY WHICH PROMOTES EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE CAN THE LEGAL SYSTEM PROTECT CITIZENS FROM ALL POSSIBLE INJURIES. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): Capitalism; Radical criminology; White collar crime
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