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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75818 Find in a Library
Title: Penal Sanctions in Poland - A Test of Alternative Models
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:28  Issue:2  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:194-204
Author(s): D F Greenberg
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data on crime and imprisonment in pre- and postwar Poland is used to test two theories linking changes in imprisonment rates with either unemployment or with the Durkheimian model of a collective conscience that responds homeostatically to deviance.
Abstract: Both theories examined here were originally derived from time series analyses of imprisonment rates of relatively developed capitalist nations with political systems based on multiparty, parliamentary democracy. Since Poland was such a country during the period from 1924 to 1939, Polish crime and imprisonment rates for that period were compared with Polish rates for the period between 1955 and 1976, when capitalism had been abolished in Poland. In addition, the Polish data for both periods were compared with the U.S. data. The findings indicated that neither the theory which linked crime rates with unemployment, nor the theory based on the Durkheimian model were adequate for Poland. The prewar variations in Polish imprisonment rates rose in a manner roughly consistent with the first theory, but the postwar variations were not due to labor market conditions. Other findings inconsistent with a homeostatic model included the absence of oscillations in the prewar period; an increase in the per capita prison population by a factor of 2.5 in a single decade; and the inconsistent relationship between crime and imprisonment rates in postwar Poland. The postwar imprisonment rates in Poland oscillated in a manner similar to those in capitalist societies. However, the reasons for this oscillation were policy decisions, and not unemployment or conventional forms of crimes. For example, high levels of imprisonment in the years 1956 to 1957 and again for the period between 1968 and 1969 could be linked with political unrest in those years. Furthermore, major reductions in prison population in the postwar period occurred as a result of amnesties, most of which were issued in honor of national holidays. Therefore, future research on penal sanctions should further investigate the relationship between the kinds and levels of such sanctions and the character of the social formation in which they would be imposed. Graphs, footnotes, and about 30 references are included.
Index Term(s): Corrections statistics; Crime rate studies; Deviance; Poland; Political influences; Social cohesion; Unemployment
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