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NCJ Number: 59351 Find in a Library
Title: RICH GET RICHER AND THE POOR GET PRISON - IDEOLOGY, CLASS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Author(s): J H REIMAN
Corporate Author: John Wiley and Sons
Managing Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 214
Sponsoring Agency: John Wiley and Sons
New York, NY 10158
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
Sale Source: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IN AN ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND THE FAILURE OF THE AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN ITS WAR AGAINST CRIME, THIS STUDY FOCUSES ON THE DIMENSIONS, CAUSES, AND MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF AN IDEOLOGICAL FAILURE.
Abstract: THE CURRENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS SHAPED BY ECONOMIC BIAS--CRIMES UNIQUE TO THE WEALTHY ARE EITHER IGNORED OR TREATED LIGHTLY, WHILE THE SO-CALLED COMMON CRIMES OF THE POOR LEAD TO ARREST, CHARGES, CONVICTION, AND IMPRISONMENT. THE THREE PROPOSITIONS THAT SUPPORT THIS STATEMENT ARE THAT (1) SOCIETY FAILS TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM CRIMES THEY FEAR (HOMICIDE, BURGLARY, ASSAULT) BY REFUSING TO ALLEVIATE THE POVERTY THAT BREEDS THEM; (2) THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM FAILS TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THE MOST SERIOUS DANGERS BY FAILING TO DEFINE AS CRIMES THE DANGEROUS ACTS OF THOSE WHO ARE WELL OFF (WHITE COLLAR CRIME, POLLUTION, OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS) AND TO PROSECUTE ACCORDINGLY; AND (3) BY VIRTUE OF THESE AND OTHER FAILURES, THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SUCCEEDS IN CREATING THE IMAGE THAT CRIME IS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY THE WORK OF THE POOR, AN IMAGE THAT SERVES THE INTERESTS OF THE POWERFUL. BY FOCUSING ON INDIVIDUAL CRIMINALS WHO ARE POOR, THE SYSTEM DIVERTS ATTENTION FROM THE INJUSTICES OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONS. THE FAILURE TO REDUCE CRIME REINFORCES THIS SITUATION BY CONCENTRATING FEAR AND HOSTILITY ON THE POOR. AT THE BASE OF UNEQUAL JUSTICE IS THE UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND INCOME. A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM CANNOT HOLD INDIVIDUALS GUILTY OF THE INJUSTICE OF BREAKING THE LAW IF THE LAW ITSELF SUPPORTS AND DEFENDS AN UNJUST SOCIAL ORDER. TO COUNTERACT THIS FAILURE, STEPS MUST BE TAKEN TOWARD DOMESTIC DISARMAMENT; CRIMINALIZATION OF WHITE-COLLAR CRIMES; CREATION OF A CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM THAT PROMOTES HUMAN DIGNITY AND GIVES EX-OFFENDERS A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO GO STRAIGHT; A MORE REASONABLE EXERCISE OF POWER BY POLICE OFFICERS, PROSECUTORS, AND JUDGES; AND EQUAL ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY LEGAL EXPERTISE FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS ACCUSED OF CRIME. EXTENSIVE FOOTNOTES ACCOMPANY EACH CHAPTER AND AN INDEX IS PROVIDED.
Index Term(s): Class discrimination; Crime Causes; Criminal justice system reform; Economic analysis; Indigents; Radical criminology; Social classes; Social control theory; Socioculture; White collar crime
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