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NCJ Number: 68038 Find in a Library
Title: DECRIMINALIZATION AND CRIMINALIZATION PROCESSES (FROM CAPITULO CRIMINOLOGICO 5, P 23, 25-34, 1977)
Author(s): F CANESTRI
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: Spanish
Country: Venezuela
Annotation: THE CURRENT CRISIS OF PENAL JUSTICE IN LATIN AMERICA AND VENEZUELA IS VIEWED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN JURIDICAL AND HUMAN SOCIAL REALITIES, WITH DECRIMINALIZATION SUGGESTED AS PART OF THE SOLUTION.
Abstract: CRIMINALIZATION IS A RESULT OF THE PLETHORA OF GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS OCCURRING IN MANY COUNTRIES, INFRACTIONS ARE CRIMINALIZED AND SUBJECTED TO PENAL SANCTIONS. THE ADDITION OF NEWLY CRIMINALIZED OFFENSES TO THE EXISTING CRIMINAL CODES HAS FURTHER AGGRAVATED THE EXISTING CRISIS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. JUDICIAL AND PENAL SYSTEMS IN GENERAL ARE AFFLICTED WITH A BASIC INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THEIR BUILTIN DISABILITIES (E.G., OBSOLETE PENOLOGICAL AND CRIMINOLOGICAL PHILOSOPHIES) AND THEIR STATED OBJECTIVES (E.G., CRIME PREVENTION AND ALLEVIATION OF THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF STIGMATIZATION). THE FAILURE OF PENAL SYSTEMS INVOLVES ENORMOUS COSTS TO INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY. PERMANENT DAMAGES TO OFFENDERS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAUSED BY STIGMATIZATION AND LOSS OF SOCIAL ADAPTABILITY IN INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO LONG INCARCERATION PERIODS (PRISONIZATION) ARE SOME OF THESE. THE SOLUTION WOULD BE TO DECRIMINALIZE CERTAIN TYPES OF BEHAVIOR. CRIMINAL LAW IS ADMITTEDLY LAGGING BEHIND PUBLIC ATTITUDES ALL OVER THE WORLD IN REGARD TO ACTS OF LEWDNESS, TRAFFIC OFFENSES, DRUG USE, AND ABORTION. THE EXISTENCE OF A GAP BETWEEN CRIMINAL LAW AND SOCIAL REALITIES IS ACKNOWLEDGED BY CRIMINOLOGISTS EVERYWHERE. AMONG THE CAUSES OF DE-FACTO DECRIMINALIZATION ARE WEAK OR NONEXISTENT SOCIAL REACTION TO CERTAIN STILL-CRIMINALIZED TYPES OF BEHAVIOR; REPRESSION EROSION, ORIGINATING IN CRIMINAL COURTS WHERE JUDGES PENALIZE CERTAIN OFFENSES WITH SUSPENDED SENTENCES, OR OTHER VERY LIGHT PENALTIES; AND FREQUENT LESSENING OF SENTENCES FOR CERTAIN CRIMES (SUCH DISPOSITIONS CARRY A MESSAGE OF DE-FACTO DEPENALIZATION TO ALL PARTIES INVOLVED). DECRIMINALIZATION SHOULD, HOWEVER, BE APPROACHED FROM A CRIMINOLOGICAL, SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE, WITH INTERACTION AMONG CRIMINOLOGY, PENAL LAW, JUDICIAL PRACTICE, CRIMINALISTICS, CORRECTIONAL SCIENCE, AND FORENSIC MEDICINE. IN LATIN AMERICA IN GENERAL, AND IN VENEZUELA IN PARTICULAR, THE GLOBAL APPROACH SHOULD BE TAKEN IN INVESTIGATING THE PHENOMENON OF CRIME CONSIDERING ALL THE VARIABLES REQUIRED (INDIVIDUAL, JURIDICAL, AND SOCIAL REALITY). CRIMINOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN LATIN AMERICA SHOULD BE GUIDED BY LOCAL CONDITIONS, WHICH ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES. DECRIMINALIZATION IN LATIN AMERICA SHOULD BE ADAPTED TO LOCAL NEEDS, NOT SLAVISHLY PATTERNED AFTER IMPORTED MODELS. --IN SPANISH (LGR)
Index Term(s): Criminology; Decriminalization; Latin America; Law reform; Venezuela
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68038

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