SOC 105 Capella University Wrongful Convictions Discussion

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SOC 105

Capella University



Compose an essay of 750-1,000 words addressing the following regarding wrongful convictions.

  1. Define and explain what a wrongful conviction is, and how wrongful convictions have affected the criminal justice system.
  2. Explain how the various players within the Justice system could use ethical behavior/practices to ensure that wrongful convictions do not occur.
  3. Describe various codes and mechanisms to enforce ethical behavior in Law Enforcement to ensure that wrongful convictions are overturned.

Be sure to cite three to five relevant scholarly sources in support of your content. Use only sources found at the GCU Library, government websites or those provided in Topic Materials.

Materials attached and a website provided:

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Return to Grand Canyon University Library Perspective: Fairness in Law Enforcement. Authors: Waldschmidt, Ryan Source: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Apr2018, p1-6. 6p. Document Type: Article Subject Terms: *LAW enforcement officials *JUSTICE & ethics *LEGISLATION drafting *LAW enforcement -- Law & legislation *PUBLIC safety -- Law & legislation Abstract: The article offers information on how law enforcement officials can bring the fairness in justice system of the country. Topics discussed include issues relating to the injustices; major components of the judicial system —the legislature, law enforcement, and the courts; and the efforts for ensuring the public safety. Full Text Word 1061 : Count: ISSN: 0014-5688 Accession Number: 129223270 Perspective: Fairness in Law Enforcement Listen American Accent Dateline: April 17, 2018 The first sentence of the Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Sheriff's Office mission statement includes the word fair, meaning "marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism."[ 1] Fairness involves treating people equally or in a way that proves right or reasonable. These concepts remain with us through life and seem especially pertinent to law enforcement. Every day, officers find life unfair, and many other people do as well. It is wrong that children are molested, women are beaten, and people die in car crashes. As part of the justice system, officers help bring a sense of fairness back to what often seems unjust. Youth and Adults Individuals grasp the concept of fairness at a young age. Children learn to play fairly and treat everyone impartially when making choices that affect others. Adults often tell youngsters who complain of perceived injustices that life is not fair. Sometimes, parents experience this daily as children gradually learn this valuable lesson. Young people confront actions they often analyze alongside other incidents. They soon develop the mental capacity to determine what seems right or wrong. Analysis of situations continues into the teenage years, when life seems even less fair. While growing up, many adolescents often hear or say, "It is not fair, Sara got a new car!" or "It is unfair that Nick gets to stay out past midnight and I don't!" Life remains unjust, and sometimes youngsters repeatedly point out such circumstances. Continually hearing adults say that life is unfair becomes tiresome. At this point in their existence, people are in a position to either make things right or accept that sometimes : life is not fair. They can move on instead of dwelling on what they cannot control. Some Individuals get stuck on the idea of unfairness, while others stop using excuses and make the best of a situation. Judicial System Fairness often relates to the topic of justice, which involves the need to determine right from wrong. To carry out their responsibilities, three of the major components of the judicial system-the legislature, law enforcement, and the courts-must determine fairness. Legislature The legislature exists to enact, amend, and repeal laws. Fairness begins here because legislators determine which laws to sanction to keep the public safe. One of the most significant factors involves deciding what seems fair. Not long ago, women's voting was against the law, slavery and segregation were legal, and alcohol was illegal. Today, these laws are reversed. Voters determined they were unfair, and the legislature reacted and reformed them. This ongoing process enables changes across the nation. Law Enforcement Fairness must constitute one of the key pillars of law enforcement. Without the public's perception of impartiality, police officers face increased struggles. Some people argue that citizens who consider their law enforcement agency fair more likely will cooperate, call on police, and support the department. Recently, some individuals have protested the actions of their local law enforcement organization. Most of these demonstrations resulted from the perception of someone experiencing unfair treatment by officers. Police may have acted appropriately, but the public perceived the results as unjust. Law enforcement agencies gain more cooperation from suspects who feel officers have dealt with them fairly than from those who believe they have received unfair treatment. This demonstrates why treating people justly proves important. Not only will police officers obtain better support today but, by representing law enforcement as fair, they will : garner assistance in the future. It could mean the difference between an individual complying or becoming physically combative with police. Courts The courts decide whether laws were applied properly. Determining fairness remains a big part of that decision. Laws are designed to be fair, and the courts must ensure they are followed. Additionally, courts impose sentences on people determined to be guilty of violating the law. The judge decides on a fair sentence based on the crime committed. In many judicial systems, sentencing tables have become more commonplace. One person should not receive a harsher punishment than another individual who committed the same crime under similar circumstances. To avoid this, many state legislatures passed laws giving judges less discretion and more specific direction for sentencing on certain crimes. This increases fairness of the imposition of a sentence. Leaders Agencies need to deal fairly with the public they serve, and it proves just as important for leaders to exhibit fairness with their employees. Impartial employment and allocation practices comprise significant components of this concept. "Individuals learn the concept of fairness at a young age." Employment Leaders should address whether their agency's hiring and promotion processes demonstrate fairness. What about the pay structure and benefits, such as vacation and overtime? Agency heads must determine if these policies are unbiased, and employees should perceive these decisions as just. Unfair labor practices-or even the perception of them-can lead to bigger issues, such as low morale and productivity. Eventually, the public could see the agency as unjust. Allocation Impartiality in allocation of resources proves important. Agency leaders sometimes may : cater to divisions or special teams they belonged to earlier in their careers. A SWAT team could receive more funding than other special teams because the chief was a SWAT member. A jail might obtain more money because the sheriff served as a prison administrator. Sometimes, leaders receive reminders to remember where they came from; however, they must balance that idea with avoiding the impression of favoritism and unfairness. Conclusion If law enforcement leaders remain fair and consistent in hiring and promoting employees and allocating resources, personnel will view the agency favorably and support its goals and policies. In turn, if officers and civilian employees serve the public with fairness, their jobs will become easier because citizens will honor the organization's objectives and strategies. Fairness in enacting, amending, applying, and repealing laws; public relations; employee hiring and promoting; and resource allocation prove essential for successful law enforcement operations. Impartiality must be an integral component of law enforcement agencies for them to succeed as productive organizations. "Law enforcement agencies gain greater cooperation from suspects who feel officers have treated them fairly. . ." Endnotes 1 Merriam-Webster Dictionary, s.v. "fair," accessed October 26, 2017, PHOTO (COLOR): Captain Waldschmidt serves with the Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Sheriff's Office. PHOTO (COLOR) ~~~~~~~~ : By Ryan Waldschmidt Copyright of FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is the property of Superintendent of Documents and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. EBSCO Connect Privacy Policy A/B Testing Terms of Use Copyright powered by EBSCOhost : © 2021 EBSCO Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Cookie Policy Page Link | Advanced Search Search ☰ Save Search History Citation Print Share ☰ Ethics and Criminal Justice Professions from The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice This article examines the different conceptualizations of ethical versus unethical behavior, how history has defined ethics over time, and why social scientists and practitioners alike should continue to understand the pros and cons of ethical and unethical behaviors. It takes a first-hand look at the different types of ethical and unethical behaviors practiced by adjudicators and enforcers of the law. Lastly, it takes an in-depth approach that analyzes the future implications of how the three main components of the criminal justice system dictate the definition of ethics for policy makers of the future. corrections court ethics law enforcement The foundation of ethics is in the ancient Greek idea of character (Peak 2007). Ethical issues have been discussed and debated for centuries. Questions such as, what is good and evil, right and wrong, ethical and unethical have perplexed even the greatest thinkers. You can say that ethics is the study of right and wrong, good and evil, but who determines what is right and wrong? (Braswell, McCarthy, and McCarthy 2008). This becomes evident when one examines controversial issues such as the death penalty, abortion, use of deadly force, and gun control. How individuals view a particular controversy largely depends on their values, character, or ethics. Both sides on controversies such as these believe they are morally right. These issues demonstrate that to understand behavior, the most basic values must be examined and understood (Peak 2007). Morality is what people believe about right and wrong, good and bad, and therefore determines the decisions we make. But ethics is the attempt to evaluate those moral beliefs in terms of what “should be” (Williams and Arrigo 2008). So how do we determine what “should be”? As we mature, we discover that things are not always what they seem and therefore the determination of what is moral and ethical is not always clear. What we learned as children is challenged by our adult experiences and realities. The criminal justice system decides the legal boundaries for public behavior. But are all laws ethical? In turn, is all ethical behavior legal? It appears that the study of ethics presents more questions than answers. It requires analytical self-reflection on the part of every professional in the criminal justice system to determine where they stand ethically on various issues. So why do we need to study criminal justice ethics? The application of ethics to criminal justice decision making is critical. Discretion is widely used by criminal justice professionals in making life or death decisions. And oftentimes, force is the essence of those criminal justice decisions. Whether or not to use force and then how much force is appropriate are crucial and life dependant issues. Ethical parameters can determine what constitutes excessive use of force. Ethics usually entails standards of fair and honest conduct; what we call conscience, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and actions that are noble and proper. There are absolute ethics and relative ethics. Absolute ethics has just two sides; good and bad, black or white. Examples of absolute ethics in law enforcement that nearly all would agree are unacceptable behaviors are extortion, bribery, excessive force, racial profiling, and perjury (Peak 2007). There are some forms of ethics that are more complex and can leave a lasting impression or a varying shade of gray. Relative ethics is considered ethical behavior by one person and may be seen as highly unethical by another. Not all ethical issues are clear-cut, however, and communities do seem willing at times to tolerate extralegal behavior if there is a greater public good, especially in dealing with problems such as gangs and the homeless (Peak 2007). : Saved Items | Log Out Related Searches Ethics Morality Police Criminal law Patriot Act Justice Criminal justice Business ethics Crime Moral absolutism A community's acceptance of relative ethics as part of criminal justice may send the incorrect message: that there are few boundaries placed on justice system employee behaviors and that, at times, “anything goes” in their fight against crime. Criminologist John Kleining explains that giving false testimony to ensure that a public menace or nuisance is “put away” or the illegal wiretapping of an organized crime figure's telephone might sometimes be viewed as “necessary” and justified,” though illegal. Another example is that many police believe they are compelled to skirt along the edges of the law—or even violate it—in order to arrest drug traffickers. The ethical problem here is that even if the action could be justified as morally proper, it remains illegal. For many persons, however, the protection of society overrides other concerns (Kleinig, 1996). The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed the scope of law enforcement in addition to the body of law. The tragedy of this event raised ethical concerns from those who implement policy and those who carry out those same policies. The USA PATRIOT Act, which stand for “uniting and strengthening America by providing appropriate tools required to intercept and obstruct terrorism,” was designed to thwart terrorist acts and it also served as a policy to protect victims of terrorism. Although the USA PATRIOT Act was created as protection against terrorism, to some, it represents an idea of hypocrisy and unethical practices for “certain groups” of citizens. Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act enhances surveillance procedures, which grants extended surveillance powers to the government for the principal purpose of combating terrorism (Curtis and McBride 2005). According to Title II, the enhanced powers given to law enforcement by Congress enable police to carry out surreptitious entry and search of a premise without seizing anything and then delaying notification of the search to the occupant for specific time period stated in a warrant (Curtis and McBride 2005). Some would argue that this is direct violation the Fourth Amendment, which identifies the parameters of a proper and justifiable search. Title VIII of the USA PATRIOT ACT was created to strengthen criminal laws of those that committed acts of terrorism (Curtis and McBride 2005). If an act of terrorism is committed then an automatic life sentence is imposed. This section of the USA PATRIOT Act has received a lot of scrutiny by Muslims in America because of the procedural unfairness of Title VIII. The law stipulates that if an act of terrorism is committed then the suspect is mandatorily sentenced to life or death. After the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act some Muslims believe that this idea of mandatory sentencing is an unjustifiable means of punishment not because the act was committed but because of Islam and the belief of opposition to Christianity. Some Muslims argue that the USA PATRIOT Act does not target terrorism but Islam itself. Interviewed in 2011, Mohammed Sharif said that “there was not any mention of the USA PATRIOT Act after the Arizona shooting or many of the school shootings the past decade. It's not considered terrorism unless the suspect has a name such as myself.” If this is certain then this raises ethical questions about the motives and agendas of policy makers. There are several approaches to criminal justice ethics: utilitarianism or consequentialism, deontology, regularianism, and virtue and responsibility: an Aristotelian approach. They all explain human behavior but each in a very different way. Utilitarianism is the theory of consequence. Simply stated, “a moral action produces something good; an immoral action produces a bad or harmful result” (Braswell et al. 2008: 13). As the concept of the greatest good for the greatest number is considered, the proportionality of pain and pleasure must be included in this question. So now we must ask whose happiness or pleasure should we consider? The utilitarian theorist's view is that actions should only be taken if they maximize the amount of pleasure while minimizing the amount of pain (Braswell et al. 2008). The second approach to criminal justice ethics is the study of duty or deontology. Humans have duties that they must perform, regardless of the consequences. So deontologists examine the intentions of those dutiful actions to determine if the actions have moral worth. Therefore, adherence to a moral principle is the determining factor with regard to morality of an action (Albanese 2012). Deontology analyzes people's motives to determine if the reason behind an action is honorable. When a police officer witnesses a law violation, they have an obligation to act. Officers often use this as an excuse when they issue traffic citations that appear to have little utility and do not produce any great benefit for the rest of society. For example, when an officer writes a traffic citation for a prohibited left turn made at two o'clock in the morning when no traffic around, the officer is fulfilling a departmental duty to enforce the law (Peak 2007). : Now we must understand that these previous two approaches to criminal justice ethics can often conflict. The duty to act may conflict with what is the greatest good for the greatest number. Examples of this conflict would be undercover policing, issues of entrapment, and electronic eavesdropping. While there is much benefit that can result from deceitful tactics of police, i.e., getting the bad guy off the streets, the method necessary to achieve this is not always dutiful. Regularianism endorses the concept that an act is morally good if it obeys a rule and morally bad if it breaks a rule. The rule itself inherently makes the act bad or good. Religious commands, criminal or civil laws, social norms, “the golden rule,” agency policy, and professional codes of conduct are all examples of these rules. In other words, if you break a rule, you have acted immorally. One of the most glaring issues with this theory is that a rule could be morally bad. An example would be the “Nuremburg defense” where Hitler's henchmen cited their defense for their war crimes as they were just following orders (Driesbach 2009). Last, the virtue theory of Aristotle addresses morality and ethics. Aristotle's view was that for a person to be morally responsible for his or her actions, they must know their choices, have intention to act, and understand the difference between right and wrong and be able to do otherwise, i.e., free will. Aristotle studied ethics by examining the nature of human character as to whether it was good (virtue) or bad (vice). Virtue or vice must occur relative to the purpose of the individual. Fulfilling that purpose was good and failure was bad (Dreisbach 2009). All of these theories are applicable in all criminal justice professions. For example, the very nature of police work constantly provides temptations to even the most morally strong officer. Ethical dilemmas range from the free cup of coffee to planting evidence. Sociologist Richard Kania argued that police officers should be allowed to freely accept gratuities because such actions would constitute an infrastructure of positive social relationships between the police and the public. In this case, duty is used to justify what under normal circumstances would be considered unethical. Conversely, if officers take gratuities for self-gratification rather than to form positive community relationships, then the action would be considered unethical by many (Kania 1988). Much of the corruption originates from the tremendous amount of discretion controlled by the officer. Discretion is not always a negative tool as it is sometimes acceptable and preferable when an officer makes a decision to take someone to a shelter or rehab instead of jail. This is where ethics enter into discretionary decision making. Police have their own subculture defined by their values. Learning on the job threatens those ethical values that recruits bring to the job. The realities of the street present a different perspective of “ends justify the means.” The “noble cause” is the moral commitment by police to make the world a safer place to live in (Caldero and Crank 2004). So the officers who are committed to the “noble cause” experience conflict in achieving those goals. Should they do whatever it takes to get the bad guy no matter what the cost? Deceptive interrogation is another example of “doing whatever it takes.” What techniques should be allowed to get that confession? The ethical question is how do you balance respect for truth with public safety (Braswell et al. 2008)? The slippery-slope model of noble cause corruption occurs as recruits are tested for their loyalty from the beginning of their careers. It might begin with something as simple as accepting a free meal but can eventually escalate to engaging in ongoing criminal behavior (Caldero and Crank 2004). The influence of the seasoned officer often conflicts with the ethics taught in academy training and the rookie is left to decide his or her moral boundaries. For decades, deception has been a common idea of practice among law enforcement in order to catch criminals, solve crimes, and obtain enough information to obtain a conviction. Deception in law enforcement is allowed by law and expected by the general public. According to social scientist Gary Marx, there are three methods police use to swindle a suspect: (1) performing the illegal action as part of a larger, socially acceptable, legal goal; (2) disguising the illegal action so that the suspect does not know it is illegal; and (3) morally weakening the suspect so that the suspect voluntarily becomes involved (Marx 1996). Historically, adjudicators have accepted deception in the process of an investigation. In Illinois v. Perkins (1990), the United States Supreme Court ruled that undercover police officers, either local, state, or federal, are not required to administer the Miranda warning to incarcerated inmates when investigating crimes. Although extremely polarizing and controversial, law enforcement continues to practice the notion of accepting lying in an effort to solve crimes. : The majority of people would agree that lying is morally and ethically wrong. But many would also argue that lying to prevent a deranged murderer from going free is absolutely acceptable. However, there are some law enforcement officials that abuse their power and neglect to tell “the truth” for deviant reasons. According to Barker and Carter, there are two types of deviant lying: lying that serves legitimate purposes and lying that conceals or promotes crimes or illegitimate ends (Barker and Carter 1996). Lying that is used to serve legitimate goals such as lying to secure a conviction or to obtain a search warrant is acceptable to the general society and criminal justice community. According to Barker, some studies have shown that within a police agency, one fourth of the officers would commit perjury to secure a search warrant or a conviction (Barker and Carter 1996). Sometimes, police officers step outside the “ethical code” to obtain the necessary information needed to solve a case. An example would be an interrogation gone too far, in which a confession is coerced (Peak 2007). The temptations of being a law enforcement officer are great in number to say the least. As part of a drug taskforce going into a drug raid there may be large sums of money that the agent is exposed to. This is a dilemma that police officers face on a consistent basis. The ethical question of what is a police officers' duty is another area of debate among officers. Duty is not viewed the same by every officer. Some situations cause an officer to question whether something is a dutiful action or an unnecessary inconvenience. Officer loyalty as an ethical concept can be viewed as a double-edged sword. Police have to decide what to do when they are faced with the wrongdoing of another officer. Interestingly, the threat of civil litigation has caused some to hesitate to conform to the “blue curtain” and therefore not cover up another officer's actions. So how do we train our police recruits to act ethically without pressure or guilt to do otherwise? Police should be taught how to analyze, identify, and resolve their own ethical dilemmas. Ethics courses that are relevant to issues they will be facing are the most beneficial. Police arrive on scenes where members of the public are possibly facing the most difficult time of their lives and the police need to be prepared to assist. Criminal justice professionals constantly are confronted with difficult decisions involving moral choice. The criminal justice legal system is no exception. The agents of the courts are faced with the decisions of whether to prosecute, participate in plea bargaining, represent the guilty, or impose sanctions. The American Bar Association along with state bar associations provide guidelines for the behavior of attorneys but they still struggle with client–attorney relationships, courtroom behavior, use of the media, and conflicts of interest. Their personal ethics often clash with what they need to do to provide a zealous defense. On many occasions lawyers find themselves in circumstances where they have certain moral obligations to behave one way but their legal and professional obligations pull them in a different direction. So the question remains how defense attorneys can ethically provide a defense for a guilty person. What they often misunderstand is that defense attorneys must protect the legal rights of the defendants, not judge their guilt or innocence (Albanese 2012). Prosecutorial misconduct has recently become a focus and area of concern. The 2006 “Duke lacrosse case” was a very high-profile case in Durham, North Carolina. Three members of the Duke University lacrosse team were charged with felonies based on a rape allegation brought by an African American woman who was hired as an exotic dancer for a party. Prosecutor Michael Nifong's actions in this case caused charges of “prejudicial” actions and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation” (Braswell et al. 2008: 166). The charges included accusations of Nifong acting to promote his own personal gain by using the office to attain reelection. Abuse of power was another allegation as he was charged with unjustified arrests and prosecutions. Nifong was also accused of deceitfulness when he hid key information regarding DNA evidence that would have exonerated the accused students. Perhaps the occasions of misconduct can be blamed on the extreme amount of prosecutorial discretion. While controversial, plea bargaining is essential to the movement of cases through the criminal justice system. If a defendant will acknowledge guilt and accept a punishment without the time and expense of a trial then the system functions more efficiently. Sometimes the plea bargain will result in a reduced sentence as a result of the guilty plea and if the case had gone to trial, there was a chance the defendant would have been given a much harsher sentence. Is this ethical? Should the sentencing decision be based on the type of adjudication? Once again do the “ends justify the means” in order to get a conviction? There are certain legal practices that defense attorneys must employ. According to Elliot Cohen there are seven moral principles that defense attorneys must follow. (1) Be loyal to your client and do not betray his or her confidence. (2) Treat clients and other professional relations in a similar fashion. (3) Treat others as ends in themselves and not as mere means to winning cases. (4) Do not deliberately engage in behavior apt to deceive the court as to truth. (5) Be willing, if necessary, to make reasonable personal sacrifices of time, money, and popularity for what you believe to be a morally good cause. (6) Do not give money to, or accept money from, clients for wrongful purposes or in wrongful amounts. (7) Avoid harming others in the course of representing your client (Cohen 1996). Why do prosecutors misbehave? In his article “Why Prosecutors Misbehave,” Bennett Gershman concluded that prosecutors see themselves as “the good guys of the legal system, but face pressures to achieve objectives beyond their capacities, producing stress and lending temptation to take short cuts around proper due process” (Braswell et al. 2008: 177). All ethical decisions affect people as is illustrated by judges' discretionary power that can permanently impact : people's lives. They must make rulings on evidence and decisions on sentencing for the convicted. Rulings on evidence can completely divert the direction of a case and change the outcome. The responsibility that is placed on the shoulders of the judiciary is daunting (Peak 2007). According to the American Judicature Society in one year 25 judges were suspended from office and more than 80 judges resigned or retired either before or after formal charges were filed against them. One hundred and twenty judges also received private censure, admonition, or reprimand (American Judicature Society 1994). The United States is one of the only countries in the world where an individual can purchase stock in the prison system. This is a concept of debate especially during an election year for judges. During an election year some judges in a predominately conservative area will hasten and increase conviction rates in order to receive votes for reelection. In turn, some judges receive monetary compensation to send convicted individuals to some of the publicly stock-traded prisons. Pennsylvania judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan took almost $3 million in bribes to place juveniles in detention centers. This is just one example of many instances of unethical judiciary practices. The Code of Judicial Conduct seeks to strike equilibrium between allowing judges to participate in social and public discourse and prohibiting conduct that would threaten a judge's independence. The importance of judicial independence is that judges' minds, according to John Adams, “should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men” (Adams 1988). Other adjudication employees have ethical responsibilities as well. They are known as “confidential employees,” these are criminal justice system functionaries who have a significant part in the legal system and they work closely with judges and other judicial officials such as prosecutors. These court employees are court bailiffs, court reporters, courtroom clerks, law clerks, and court administrators. The confidential employees maintain confidentiality of the adjudication process and system and thus have a high standard of responsibility and trust (Conlon and Milord 2007). A court secretary may overhear the deliberation of jurors in a rape case. The secretary has the responsibility not to speak about what was said during the jury deliberation. The criminal justice system has vacillated back and forth as to what sentencing should accomplish. So most recently the judges must accomplish all of society's goals. They include retribution, incapacitation, deterrence, and rehabilitation. Retribution or desert is the punishment and in accordance with ethical guidelines should be in direct proportion to the seriousness of the offense. An “eye for an eye” justice as is described in the Bible (Albanese 2012). We should only punish those who deserve to be punished. So who are the deserving? A second goal is utilizing incapacitation to prevent future crime. By placing a convicted person in prison, the system is preventing that individual from committing more offenses. They are physically prevented from harming society. The ethical dilemma regarding incapacitation involves making certain that innocent people are not serving sentences. What lengths does our system go to in order to get that person off the street? Is serving an active sentence the best option for that individual and society, and will that person commit crimes once released? Predicting who will recidivate is an ongoing dilemma for all criminal justice professionals involved in determining sentences and allowing probation and parole. The third goal of deterrence incorporates two forms. General deterrence is when the impact of punishment extends to the public and influences their behavior. For example, punishing one offender causes others to choose not to commit crimes because they are afraid of the consequences they see the offenders receive. The goal of general deterrence is to deter others from committing crimes. Specific deterrence is designed to convince the offender not to commit another crime once released from prison. The penalty must be severe enough that the pain of the punishment exceeds the pleasure of the crime. The concept of deterrence assumes a level of rational decision making where individuals will choose pleasurable options as opposed to painful ones. In other words, criminal behavior could result in prison (painful), so because of that threat, they choose a lawful existence (Braswell et al. 2008). The question becomes who will return to a life of crime once released. Rehabilitation or treatment is often the justification for sentencing. But the issue is whether or not the inmate will actually receive treatment or rehabilitation in their facility. In order to be effective, treatment must be individualized and that is very difficult when the prisons are overcrowded and so understaffed. While rehabilitation views criminal behavior as a result of social or psychological issues, the goal of the sentence includes correcting or treating these issues. Should the criminal justice system be allowed to incarcerate individuals with rehabilitation as the justification? Some individuals may argue that rehabilitation is unethical. How can someone that has been convicted for committing murder in the first degree be rehabilitated? A consistent ethical question regarding punishment occurs in determining when the state is justified in imposing : punishments and how severe those punishments should be (Braswell et al. 2008). How do you balance equity and utility? Individual interests conflict with society's needs. A utilitarian would be in favor of sentencing justified by deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation if they would provide more benefit than harm. Formalism or deontology would take the view of supporting retribution because it justifies punishment for the offender's past actions. Each view supports preventing future crime by using punishment as a means to an end (Albanese 2012). The ethics of criminal sentencing is difficult. Sentencing decisions are judgment calls made by individuals with their own ideas of what fairness, equity, and utility should be. This allows for a tremendous amount of discretion in their decision making. Even with sentencing guidelines, judges may deviate from them if they provide written justification. The most impactful sentencing decision, of course, is imposing the sentence of death. The ethical and moral implications are extraordinary and the effect of any death sentence is far reaching. Not only is the death row inmate impacted, but also the inmate's family, the victim's family, the judge imposing the sentence, the jury, and finally the public. Everyone deals with the controversy of taking a human life. Proponents argue that the death penalty will deter others from killing. The opponents feel that developed societies should not engage in the death penalty, but instead utilize life without parole. Does execution just continue the cycle of human suffering? What if an innocent person is executed (Braswell et al. 2008)? Probation and parole officers often face similar ethical dilemmas in their responsibility of rescinding the client's release. They must consider both the task of helping the offender reintegrate or assimilate into society while making sure that the community remains safe (Dreisbach 2009). Another ethical question concerns the purpose of probation and parole (Braswell 2008). Does everyone deserve a second chance? What do the undeserving deserve? What is society's responsibility to inmates? These are some of the ethical questions facing prison officials on a daily basis. In his article, “What Do the Undeserving Deserve?” J. P. Conrad suggests that inmates deserve “safety, lawfulness, industriousness, and hope.” What is society's responsibility to these individuals? In reality the prison environment is teaching criminal behavior and not providing rehabilitation. Can we try to punish offenders in ways that are appropriate while being mindful of treating them with dignity? The ethical debate continues (Braswell et al. 2008). Prison corruption continues to exist and remains somewhat secretive because of the isolated, protected environment. Corruption in the penal institutions often goes unnoticed and certainly unreported. It tends to exist on several levels including theft from inmates, trafficking of drugs, embezzlement, and misuse of authority (Williams and Arrigo 2008). One prison corruption issue of contention is guard–inmate relationships. There have been several instances where prison guards have been accused of having relationships with prison inmates. The unethical practice of prison relationships has been equally prevalent in both men's and women's facilities. It is common for a correctional officer to maintain silence in order to protect a fellow colleague, even if the act is blatantly wrong, immoral, or unethical. From an outsider's perspective with a conventional sense of morality, all parties should be punished. Perhaps instead of viewing punishment as the answer, we should consider restoration of the harm done to all involved. This concept is called “restorative justice” and is a program utilizing peacemaking principles. Peacemaking includes the concepts of self-honesty to allow for better understanding of personal and social transgressions; courage to accept responsibility; kindness to express goodwill; sense of humor to understand that the world is made of people who make mistakes. Peacemaking embodies a sense of understanding, compassion, and forgiveness. Restorative justice embraces all of these concepts by allowing the possibility of reconciliation of differences among the offender, victim, and community. It also provides an opportunity for offenders to accept responsibility for their actions and hold themselves accountable to others. It also gives victims the opportunity to have their voices heard and perhaps be restored back to their state before the crime. Lastly, restorative justice involves the community in the process of justice. However this is very difficult to achieve and all parties—offender, victim, and the community—must be willing to embrace the possibilities that restorative justice can provide (Braswell et al. 2008). Because of the difficult issues surrounding ethical dilemmas of criminal justice, it is not simple to achieve consistency and fairness in the treatment of all people who find themselves in the system. This appears to be the most critical question facing criminal justice professionals. Predetermination of what our ethics, opinions, and morals are is critical in the maturation of a conscience. We do not exist in an island. We are all interconnected with others. We must remember this as we make our discretionary decisions impacting lives. Justice is a journey not a destination (Braswell et al. 2008). SEE ALSO: Careers in Law Enforcement; Education and Training in Law; Judge, Role of; Judicial Training; Police and Civil Liability; Police Discretion; Police Misconduct; Police Operations; Police Stress; Police Training; Police Use of Force; Professionalism in Corrections; Prosecutorial Discretion; Restorative Justice; Training in Corrections. : References Adams, J. (1988) On government. Quoted In Wheeler, R. , Judicial Administration: Its Relation to Judicial Independence (1988). National Center for State Courts Alexandria VA, p. 112. Albanese, J. S. (2012) Professional Ethics in Criminal Justice Being Ethical When No One is Looking, 3rd edn. Pearson Education Upper Saddle River NJ. American Judicature Society (1994) Bureau of Justice statistics sourcebook of criminal justice statistics. Judicial Conduct Reporter 16, 2-3. Barker, T.; Carter, D. (1996) Police Deviance. Anderson Publishing Cincinnati OH. Braswell, M. C.; McCarthy, B. R.; McCarthy, B. J. (2008) Justice, Crime and Ethics, 6th edn. Matthew Bender & Company Newark NJ. Caldero, M. A.; Crank, J. P. (2004) Police Ethics: The Corruption of Noble Cause, 2nd edn. Matthew Bender & Company Newark NJ. Cohen, E. (1996) Pure legal advocates and moral agents: Two concepts of a lawyer in an adversary system. In M. C. Braswell; B. R. McCarthy; B. J. McCarthy (eds.), Justice, Crime and Ethics, 2nd edn. Anderson Publishing Cincinnati OH, pp. 131-167. Conlon, C.; Milord, L. (2007) The Ethics Fieldbook: Tools for Trainers. American Judicature Society Chicago, pp. 23-25. Conrad, J. P. (1982). What do the undeserving deserve? In R. Johnson; H. Toch (eds.), The Pains of Imprisonment. Sage Publications Beverly Hills CA. Curtis, G.; McBride, R. (2005) Proactive Security Administration. Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River NJ. Dreisbach, C. (2009) Ethics in Criminal Justice. McGraw-Hill New York. Gershman, B. L. (1991) Why prosecutors misbehave. Criminal Law 22(2), 131-143. Illinois v. Perkins, 110 S. Ct. 2394 (1990). Kania, R. (1988) Police acceptance of gratuities. Criminal Justice Ethics 7, 37-49. Kleinig, J. (1996) The Ethics of Policing. Cambridge University Press New York. Marx, G. T. (1982) Who really gets stung? Some issues raised by the new police undercover work. Crime and Delinquency 28(2), 165-193. Peak, K. (2007) Justice Administration: Police, Courts and Corrections Management. Pearson Education Upper Saddle River NJ. Pollack, J. M. (2007) Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice, 5th edn. Thomson Higher Education Belmont CA. Robinson, M. B. (2009) Justice Blind? Ideals and Realities of American Criminal Justice, 3rd edn. Pearson Education Upper Saddle River NJ. Souryal, S. S. (2003). Ethics in Criminal Justice in Search of the Truth. Anderson Publishing Co Cincinnati OH. Williams, C. R.; Arrigo, B. A. (2008). Ethics, Crime, and Criminal Justice. Pearson Education Upper Saddle River NJ. Further Readings Banks, C. (2009). Criminal Justice Ethics, 2nd edn. Sage Publications Thousand Oaks CA. Bowker, L. H. (1980). Prison Victimization. Elsevier New York. Braswell, M.; McCarthy, B. R.; McCarthy, B. J. (2012) Justice, Crime, and Ethics, 7th edn. Anderson Publishing Burlington MA. Cassidy, R. M. (2005) Prosecutorial Ethics. Thompson-West St Paul MN. Hunter, R.; Barker, T. (2011) Police-Community Relations and the Administration of Justice. Prentice-Hall Upper Saddle River NJ. Husak, D. (2008) Overcriminalization: The Limits of Criminal Law. Oxford University Press New York. Lee, H. (1960) To Kill a Mockingbird. L. B. Lippincott & Co Philadelphia PA. Peak, K. (2012) Policing America Challenges and Best Practices, 7th edn. Pearson Education Upper Saddle River NJ. : Susan S. Hodge Taurean Walker Copyright © 2014 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. APA Chicago Harvard MLA Hodge, S. S., & Walker, T. (2014). Ethics and criminal justice professions. In J. S. Albanese, Wiley series of encyclopedias in criminology and criminal justice: The encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice. Wiley. Credo Reference: url= institutionId=5865 The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice Previous Article Next Article This encyclopedia offers a state-of-the-art survey informed by the very latest theory and research. It combines this breadth of coverage with the authority and international perspective of an experienced editorial team, creating a definitive reference resource for students, scholars, and professionals in these interdisciplinary and dynamic fields. Author(s): Jay S. Albanese Edition: 1st Articles: 550 Images: 9 People: 604 Terms of use Privacy policy Contact About Credo Reference : ©2021 Copyright Credo Reference. All rights reserved. Librarian Admin Return to Grand Canyon University Library What Biology Can Teach Us About Crime and Justice. Authors: LENTS, NATHAN H. KAZEMIAN, LILA Source: Skeptic. 2017, Vol. 22 Issue 4, p12-19. 8p. Document Type: Article Subject Terms: *CRIMINAL justice system *RECIDIVISM prevention *PRISON population Reviews & Products: SUMMA Theologica (Book : Aquinas) NAICS/Industry Codes: 922190 Other Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities People: DURKHEIM, Emile, 1858-1917 Abstract: The article explores how biology can teach about crime, justice and criminal justice systems. It mentions that criminal justice systems capitalize on human beings' natural desire to be reintegrated into society which have been more successful in reducing both recidivism and the prison population. It also mentions that crime and punishment play important roles in social fabric according to sociologist Emile Durkheim and reference of the book "Summa Theologica" by Thomas Aquinas. : Full Text Word 5764 Count: ISSN: 1063-9330 Accession Number: 128055645 What Biology Can Teach Us About Crime and Justice Listen American Accent Section: ARTICLE THE LAST HALF-CENTURY HAS BROUGHT ABOUT A number of pressing social and criminal justice issues around the world. These social changes have been particularly tumultuous in the United States. From the civil rights movement to rising incarceration rates, the U.S. has undergone a number of social movements and interconnected paradigm shifts that have raised concerns about the issue of justice, and that have moved a growing number of citizens in and out of social exclusion. Any effort to advance towards a more just society requires us to ponder the extent to which the quest for justice and the ability to empathize with the "other" are biological instincts or socially learned behavior. Recent studies of animal behavior provide new insight into the biological and social roots of empathy and justice. In this piece, we explore the application of these findings to the human experience with punishment, forgiveness, and justice. Animal Behavior and Social Justice The study of animal behavior is currently experiencing a renaissance based on a flurry of groundbreaking work and a rebirth in our thinking. In the late 19th century, naturalists including Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley spoke more expressively about the minds of animals, but this was soon followed by an austere scientific stoicism, at least in the : West, that labeled as anthropomorphism any attempt to discuss an inner experience for animals. This trend lasted well into the second half of the 20th century and is only stubbornly retreating in the face of undeniable evidence that animals have complicated mental and social lives.[ 1] The field of ethology, formally the study of animal behavior in their natural setting, has been re- branded by some scholars as the study of animal minds. Among the most important pioneers in this field are the "trimates:" Jane Goodall, the late Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, the scientists who made the most significant contributions to our knowledge of the natural behaviors of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, respectively.[ 2] Their work has inspired scientists from around the globe to conduct more thorough investigations, revealing that that social animals express a rich and complicated cultural fabric that often bears a striking resemblance to our own. Penguins trade resources for sex. Dolphins and elephants pass the mirror test for selfawareness. Mice will skip food in order to rescue a trapped companion. Crows engage in a death ritual for fallen comrades. Many animal species display the clinical symptoms of grief when a close affiliate dies. Prairie dogs have developed an entire language for warning each other about threats (including humans) that includes descriptors for color, size, and shape. The closer we look, the more complexity we find, and the more we realize that the animal and human experiences are not so different.[ 3] If we accept that human society and behavior flow at least in part from biological drives and instincts shaped by our evolutionary past, there is a great deal to learn about our own behaviors by understanding their correlates in the animal world. This is the foundational principle of the field of sociobiology and its even more controversial offspring, evolutionary psychology. One problem is that instincts alone do not result in behaviors. The rich cultural milieu that shapes our behavior may cloud our understanding of the role of biological instincts. The same is true for animals. If we remove an infant animal from her natural social environment, she will develop very different behaviors than she otherwise would in her natural setting. : Although human behaviors and societies are unquestionably more complex than those of animals, parallels with regard to justice seeking behaviors are striking. In 1984, Gerald Wilkinson discovered that vampire bats that are successful in finding food will share with those that are starving, but only if the "beggars" have been generous and willing to share in the past.[ 4] In 2003, Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal discovered that when offered a lesser reward than others for the same task, capuchin monkeys will refuse the reward.[ 5] This phenomenon is referred to as intolerance to inequity, and has since been observed in chimpanzees, dogs, and many other species. Many animals, especially our fellow apes, have a highly developed sense of fairness and act to enforce equity, even when they are the beneficiaries of the better but unequal treatment. The Purpose of Punishment While fairness is important, human justice systems seek out more than just equitable treatment. At least in principle, these systems exist to establish and enforce codes of conduct that facilitate social harmony and ensure the common good. Reactions to the social problem of crime have varied greatly across different historical periods. Nonetheless, criminal justice systems have traditionally invoked four main goals of punishment: retribution, rehabilitation, deterrence, and incapac- itation. These four paradigms have taken on different relative importance from one era to another. The goal of retribution stems from the moral principle of "just deserts," and dictates that punishment must be proportional to the harm caused by the offender. This model of punishment was popularized by the Classical School during the Enlightenment era, and is believed to have inspired early American legislation, including the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.[ 6] Rehabilitation, on the other hand, follows a medical model. It presumes that offenders require some form of treatment or intervention to heal and prevent further offending. This model was influential in criminal justice from the early 20th century until the 1970s. The rehabilitative approach lost popularity after publication of Robert Martinson's seminal 1974 article, "What Works?," which concluded that intervention programs were not effective in reducing reoffending.[ 7] Because of the social upheaval of the 1970s, there was considerable public fear of crime and the "what works?" perspective morphed into : the "nothing works" doctrine. This shift led to an emphasis on the deterrence and incapacitation paradigms in the 1980s, a period when the crime control objective of punishment grew dominant. Deterrence aims to use punishment to dissuade an offender from engaging in further crime, and the population at large from choosing crime in the first place. Incapacitation, on the other hand, uses the risk factor approach to remove from society, possibly permanently, individuals deemed to pose too great a threat to the community. The shift toward deterrence and incapacitation has resulted in rising incarceration rates in the United States, and increasingly limited investment in rehabilitation initiatives. Although incarceration rates have generally been on the rise in most developed countries during the past few decades, the United States is the world leader in incarceration, with approximately 2.2 million people locked up in the nation's state and federal prisons and jails. This figure was driven by a nearly 500% increase in the incarceration rate during the past three decades.[ 8] The growth in incarceration has disproportionately affected members of minority demographic groups, particularly Black males without a high school diploma. As a result of tough-on-crime policies, such as three-strikes legislation, truth- in-sentencing policies, mandatory minimum sentences, Rockefeller drug laws, and a reduced or delayed recourse to parole, the length of imposed sentences and the average time served by prisoners in the United States have ballooned since the mid- 1970s. The U.S. is also peculiar in its extensive use of life sentences and particularly life without the possibility of parole, a punishment that has been deemed unconstitutional in many countries, including France, Germany, and Italy. This rise in incarceration rates has created unique challenges for individuals who return to the community after increasingly long absences.[ 9] These obstacles have led to the increased marginalization of adjudicated individuals, mostly young Black or Latino males. In turn, mass incarceration has devastated minority communities. The removal of a large number of able-bodied males has negatively impacted various dimensions of community life, from family structure to economic activity. How Other Animals Handle Justice : Because the study of animal behavior has illuminated other aspects of human psychology and social structures, it is logical to consider how animals approach matters of justice. Animals are known to have elaborate social behaviors and rituals, but do these qualify as a code of conduct? Marc Bekoff has spent decades studying the social behaviors of gray wolves. He found that young wolves were taught a series of rules that enabled them to integrate into the social fabric of the pack. In addition to establishing the privileges associated with the dominance hierarchy, the wolf code of conduct includes rules about food sharing and fair conditions for rough play, an important social behavior for young wolves.[ 10] When a young wolf breaks a rule, such as making a sneak attack, refusing to appropriately handicap, or biting too hard, he is punished through a process that is best described as shunning. The other wolves turn their backs to the offender, refuse to play with him, and he is denied access to food sharing and other social interchanges. He is effectively placed in a "time-out." The shunning, however, is temporary. The wolf is authorized to rejoin the group after offering an apology and making amends. Wolves express apology through the act of bowing, a social cue for submission. If there is a wounded party, the offender licks the victim or otherwise expresses affection. A lesson is learned, a relationship is repaired, and social harmony is restored. Similar rituals are found among chimpanzees and bonobos, which are the closest relatives to humans. While these two ape species have many stark differences in their social structure, both involve a dominance hierarchy with established etiquette. Similarly to wolves, rule breaking behavior is punished by temporary social shunning. Offenders must display submission in order to be readmitted into the group. The emerging themes of crime, punishment, and reconciliation are increasingly prevalent in the body of research on animal behavior. The fact that these rituals are observed across diverse species of social mammals compels us to conclude that the complex responses to rule breaking and punishment behaviors stem, at least in part, from inherited genetic programs that have been passed down and shaped over evolutionary time. Humans also share this legacy. Our approach to justice and social harmony is influenced by the same genetic predisposition that : enables us to recognize inequality, establish social rules, punish, apologize, and forgive. However, like other animals, we also have instincts toward revenge and righteous outrage. Our instincts and drives are relatively diverse, but these instincts are expressed differently in varying social contexts. For instance, our perception of how to best protect young children takes on various shapes in different cultures, even though they all spring from the same underlying desires. Our social milieu is the result of a complex culture that has developed cumulatively over thousands of years. Our various biological instincts can be activated or suppressed in different situations. Genes x environment equals behavior, a simple equation that captures an overwhelming complexity. This gene-environment interaction is not always conducive to the greater good. There is no guarantee that our societal context, let alone our public policy, will be optimal in shaping our behaviors and producing desirable outcomes. The criminal justice system in the United States is just such an example. There is a disconnect between the way that animals react to rule breaking and the human approach to crime and punishment. The contemporary American criminal justice system emphasizes the punishment component, but assigns little importance to reconciliation and reintegration. As such, many individuals who experience contacts with the criminal justice system are subject to persisting consequences long after they have served their time. The Effects of Criminal Justice Punishment Among Humans Two dominant frameworks help to better understand the potentially deleterious effects of criminal justice interventions: labeling theory and the rein- tegrative framework. Individuals form their self-identity on the basis of how they perceive others to view them. As a society, we adopt rules and label as "deviant" individuals who break these rules. Once individuals are marked by a deviant label, such as felon or offender, this label reinforces their feeling of being an "outsider," alienating them from mainstream society. The resulting loss of status weakens the desire to conform to social norms, and thus leads to further deviance. This process is referred to as "secondary deviance." [ 11] Criminal behavior persists as the stigmatized sense of self becomes consistent with the new deviant role. As the label reinforces identity, the negative identity, in turn, reinforces deviance. : While some form of punishment is warranted when responding to a behavior that is harmful to others, the degree and nature of stigmatization that follows the wrongdoing can greatly impact subsequent offending. John Braithwaite has described two types of reactions: reintegrative shaming and stigmatizing shaming.[ 12] The reintegrative model shames the act and attempts to understand it, but does not shame the actor. While the offender is expected to express remorse for his/her actions, the individual is not ostracized and is eventually reintegrated into the community. Conversely, the stigmatizing approach shames both the act and the actor. By ostracizing the offender, the stigmatizing paradigm fails to adequately reintegrate the individual because he or she is now experiences a hostile community. Perpetual Punishment: Lasting Stigmas From the Criminal Justice System In the United States, our practices and policies successfully implement the first element of justice (punishment), but grant relatively limited importance to the component of justice that should ideally follow punishment: reconciliation and rein- tegration. In the words of a 2014 report from the National Research Council, "Respect for citizenship demands that punishment by incarceration not be so severe, or have such lasting negative consequences, that the person punished is forever excluded from full participation in mainstream society."[ 8] This is not merely a moral issue, but also a practical one. Perpetual punishment may undermine the very goals of punishment itself. In our current criminal justice system, punishment persists far beyond the incarceration period. The purpose underlying this enduring punishment is unclear. While we know that finding and maintaining a job is key to successful rein- tegration into the community, former prisoners face a number of obstacles in obtaining gainful employment. In most states, the law authorizes potential employers to inquire about an applicant's criminal record. Employers are less likely to hire individuals with a criminal record than individuals from other stigmatized groups with lower levels of skill, such as welfare recipients or individuals with unexplained gaps on the resume. Many states have enacted laws that bar felons from certain professions entirely. Returning prisoners also face other forms of so- called "invisible punishment."[ 13] Many jurisdictions exclude individuals with felony convictions from access to public housing, welfare benefits, participation in public pension programs, and even food stamps. Some : states permanently revoke driver's licenses for certain drug convictions. Others bar ex- convicts from state-based financial aid to pursue college or adult education. Most U.S. states permanently exclude convicted felons from jury service.[ 8] Perhaps the clearest reminder that a criminal conviction permanently alters the status of one's membership in the community is the fact that most U.S. states revoke the right to vote in federal elections upon conviction of a felony. Of all Western nations, the United States stands alone in the scope of disen- franchisement to which it subjects its prisoners and ex-prisoners. These policies have resulted in a growing marginalization of minority males.[ 14] The loss of all these rights, privileges, and means to build a successful life has occurred along with what the National Research Council has referred to as a "civil death." [ 8] In many cases, ex-prisoners are never made to feel like full citizens again, even long after they have completed their sentence. Us Versus Them Social and moral distance between individuals and groups creates a barrier for the development of empathy. The more an individual feels cast out, the less likely he or she is to develop empathy for his fellow citizens, and the reverse is true as well. In contrast, reconciliation facilitates the extension of empathy between offenders and those that they have harmed. Through personal contact, airing of grievances, admission of guilt, and offerings of apology and reparation, humans in conflict can close the empathy gap that separated them in the first place. French sociologist Emile Durkheim argued that crime and punishment play important roles in our social fabric.[ 15] Crime serves to remind citizens of the values of society, but it only serves this purpose if it is condemned. Punishment is necessary to establish order and safety. At the same time, crime reinforces the sense of solidarity among members of the dominant group at the expense of those labeled as "outcasts." For better or worse, a strong sense of community requires borders and boundaries that people recognize, consciously or unconsciously, as the source of their solidarity. By excluding a stigmatized group, societies draw the boundaries for empathy and react with ambivalence to the punishment and suffering of those outside of their own group. Similar arguments have : been made against segregation, global isolationism, and other barriers used by societies to establish separateness and limit contact between groups. Reconciliation and Reparation If we once again consider how other mammals approach punishment, we note a disconnect between animals and many human penal philosophies. While the first reaction to an infraction in an animal social group is to punish the offender, the actions that follow serve to resolve the conflict and repair any damage to the community, or its members, brought on by the infraction. There are several examples of reconciliation in the animal world. Wolves that bite too hard while playing are encouraged to comfort the wounded party, generally through facecentered contact such as nosing and licking. Apes that have been taught ways to express themselves frequently use signs to convey that they are apologetic, and they follow these apologies with affectionate contact such as hugs and stroking. There is evidence from wild chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans that a combination of facial expressions and gestures are employed to express contrition. These signs are recognized and understood by the aggrieved, who may choose to accept the apology or not. When animals break a social rule, they are allowed to atone for that infraction in the manner specific to the species. There is emphasis on the restoration of the relationship and, to the extent possible, reparation of damages. When these conditions are met, the offender is readmitted into the social group. There is no perpetual punishment. Jared Diamond has shared his observations of the approach taken to justice by preagrarian tribes in New Guinea,[ 16] which matches well from what has been written about hunter-gathers in Africa and the Amazon basin.[ 17] Conflict resolution among traditional peoples requires the offender and the wounded to meet face-to-face, in the presence of an elder or other tribal authority. In this meeting, the conditions for reconciliation are debated and established. An apology and an admission of guilt is offered, and a retribution fee is agreed upon. The path toward reconciliation is detailed and implemented. While it may appear unseemly to set a price on the life of, for instance, a murdered child, : the transac- tional and restorative approach that is the hallmark of tribal justice is anything but barbaric. To the extent that justice aims to heal wounds and restore harmony to the social group, modern societies could learn a great deal from tribal cultures. However, it is important not to romanticize pre-agricultural life. The restorative responses to crime are the officially sanctioned procedures, but there is also a great deal of extrajudicial violence that occurs. While capital punishment is not common in tribal societies, "extrajudi- cial" revenge killing is relatively frequent. In both animals and traditional human society, the events that follow punishment aim to bring the offender back into the community. Humans, like all social animals, have a strong desire to belong. The question is, in which group do we want offenders to feel that they belong? A person will not persist in, nor follow the norms of, a group to which they do not feel that they belong. Perhaps paradoxically, apologies elicit, and forgiveness allows, the generation of empathy from the victim to the perpetrator. This empathy closes the loop of victimhood, and enables the individual who has been harmed to regain power over the hurtful experience. The benefits of forgiveness for the victim have been highlighted in scientific studies: forgiveness reduces depression and anger, and leads to improved psychological health.[ 18] While it is sometimes believed that forgiveness and justice are conflicting principles, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminds us that "forgiveness is not a subversion of justice," and it does not equate to forgetting about the injustice or harm. Forgiveness provides an opportunity for perpetrators to redeem themselves and to repair the harm caused.[ 19] Of course, not all individuals will seize this opportunity, but they do not stand a chance at redemption without forgiveness. There are countless examples of forgiveness for atrocities that have occurred across the world, from Ireland to Rwanda to South Africa. This was exemplified in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Amy Biehl, a young American Fulbright Exchange Scholar in Cape Town. After the offenders served a five-year term, Biehl's parents supported the decision of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to grant amnesty to the four men convicted of her murder, two of whom went on to work for the Foundation that the Biehls set up in their : daughter's name in Cape Town.[ 20] Similar examples can be drawn from criminal justice systems around the world, particularly those that promote the principles of restorative justice, and the reintegration of those who have offended back into the community. Restorative justice initiatives emphasize less the need to punish the offender, but rather focus on repairing the harm caused to the victim and to the community. A recent systematic review of research on the effectiveness of face-to-face restorative justice conferences found that this approach is a cost-effective method of reducing reoffending. [ 21] In contrast, we know that the focus on retribution, while possibly protecting society from some avoidable crimes, is highly ineffective at breaking the cycle of crime and punishment. In 2015, MacKenzie and Farrington published a meta-analysis of the research on the effectiveness of various strategies aimed to prevent repeat offending. [ 22] They found that interventions based solely on principles of deterrence, surveillance, control, and discipline were ineffective in reducing reoffending. The methods examined include long prison sentences, correctional boot camps, and intensive community supervision. The conclusion of their analysis is that the most popular manifestations of retributive justice are correlated with higher rates of recidivism, that is, repeat offending. In fact, some programs, such as Scared Straight, actually seemed to increase the likelihood of reoffending. In short, research has consistently shown that fear-based interventions based on coercion are ineffective in reducing subsequent reoffend- ing and may actually do considerable harm. The question remains: do such practices go against our biological instincts? Effectiveness, Justice, and Rights: Are They Compatible? Not coincidentally, criminal justice systems that capitalize on human beings' natural desire to be reintegrated into society have been more successful in reducing both recidivism and the prison population. Scandinavia is a prime example, and stands in stark contrast to the United States. For instance, Norway's incarceration rate is 74 prisoners per 100,000 population, approximately one- ninth of that of the U.S., and among the lowest in the world. In Norway, prisons are regarded as an extension of society rather than a system that is isolated from it. Correctional officials believe in the importance of making the prison : environment as compatible as possible with the outside world. The government ensures that ex-prisoners have access to housing, employment, health care, and other basic needs upon release from prison. Anders Behring Breivik, the man responsible for the mass killing of 77 people in 2011, was only sentenced to 21 years in prison because this is the maximum sentence in Norway. The barriers to implementing the Norwegian model in the U.S. are structural and systemic. The social welfare systems of Scandinavian countries ensure that individuals who are released from prison will have their basic needs (food, shelter, and health care) met. In contrast, disenfranchisement and discriminatory regulations adopted in the U.S. towards individuals with a criminal history, particularly in employment and housing, make it very difficult for this population to access even the most basic services. In addition, while inequality is generally associated with negative societal outcomes, some research has demonstrated that inequality is less conducive to violent crime in welfare states, in large part because these societies are not structured in a way to create an underclass. Not only are systems that prioritize reintegration more humane, they are also more costeffective. When individuals are better prepared for their return to the community, it enables a smoother transition back to society, better reintegration after release (which in turn reduces the likelihood of crime), lower costs associated with (reincarceration, and has positive effects on affected families and communities. Reconciling Conflicting Instincts We are faced with another challenge: how do we reconcile tensions between pro- and anti-social instincts? If we believe that there is an instinctual drive for forgiveness, is the same true for revenge? How do we reconcile prosocial (empathic) with antisocial (egoistic) instincts to produce outcomes that minimize harm to the individual and the community? Insights into these questions can be found in the writings of moral philosophers. In his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas argued that desires may be regarded as natural if they "are directed towards the preservation of nature" (i.e., food and sex), or self preservation. Anger is not a sin, Aquinas argues, but is consistent with man's nature. As for vengeance, Aquinas writes that "it is more natural for man to desire vengeance for : injuries done to him, than to be lacking in that desire." On the other hand, he also maintained that "a man who takes pleasure in the punishment of others is said to be of unsound mind.. .because he seems on this account to be devoid of the humane feeling which gives rise to clemency." He further explained that revenge is sought not necessarily to cause harm to the other, but rather to rectify the harm done. These ideas highlight the conflict between empathy and the desire for punishment in human nature. Moral sense theorists have argued that as social beings, moral sense is a natural, instinctual part of us. Adam Smith and David Hume discussed the mechanisms that lead to the development of sympathy (i.e., empathy). Smith argued that morality, and thus the quest for justice, is an inherent part of us, dictated by nature. While criminal justice legislation seeks to promote justice, it cannot be as effective as the moral rules set forth by nature. Steven Pinker further points to the evidence of early signs of morality in childhood and highlights that although no "morality gene" has been identified, some evidence has suggested that there is a genetic basis to the moral sense and that "it may be rooted in the design of the normal human brain."[ 23] In the words of Archbishop Tutu, "people are not born hating each other and wishing to cause harm. It is a learned condition. Children do not dream of growing up to be rapists or murderers, and yet every rapist and every murder was once a child." If it is true that our natural instincts for empathy are indeed stronger than our natural desire for retribution, it would take specific conditioning to counter the natural instincts and develop one's desire to be punitive towards others. Desmond Tutu reminds us that "Forgiveness is truly the grace by which we enable another person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew. To not forgive leads to bitterness and hatred."[ 16] Towards More Effective Justice Practices In our quest to build a legal system that truly advances justice, we are seeing a convergence of several intellectual traditions.[ 24] Whether we approach the question from a religious moral framework, a critical sociological analysis, or the perspective of evolutionary biology, the emerging consensus is the same: humans have social needs and instincts that direct us toward constructing community. When crime harms that : community, a response that aims to repair and restore relationships can heal the wound, while a purely punitive response simply inflicts additional wounds on the victim, on the offender, and on the community. There is much to celebrate in this convergence across different paradigms. Religious notions of forgiveness and reconciliation mirror behaviors observed in animals, namely the principle that punishment alone is insufficient. The most humane approach, which encourages those who have caused harm to maintain value and purpose for their community, is also the most effective and affordable in terms of financial costs. In light of the remarkably low crime rates and more important, low reoffend- ing rates among the formerly incarcerated in Scandinavian countries, how can we label their approach as being "soft on crime"? In sharp contrast, the American system's "tough on crime" approach is met with notably higher rates of repeat offending. The American example is tough on criminals, but not on crime. In fact, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that our punitive practices do more to promote crime than to prevent it. Nearly two decades ago, Michael Tonry wrote about America's exceptional penchant for harsh crime policies, and its inconsistency with our moral values: In our private lives, we know these things, and our folk wisdom celebrates it -- do not strike in anger; sit down and count to 10; do not take your frustrations out on your child, your spouse, or your employee; and write the angry letter, but put it aside until tomorrow and see if you still want to send it. Whether those private insights will soon shape our public policies remains to be seen.[ 25] Though it may appear inconsistent with common sense to react to crime by affirming the dignity and value of individuals who have offended, and ensuring their successful reintegration back into the community, there is abundant evidence to suggest that this is precisely what promotes the abandonment of criminal activity. Humans are social mammals with a strong desire to belong to a community. When a human being perceives himself as a valued member of a community, he will invest in the health and safety of that community, rather than perceive his own needs as being separate from those of the larger community. It should therefore come as no surprise that systems of justice that disregard the : biological predispositions employed by social mammals to manage misconduct are destined to fail in their goals of reintegrating offenders and reducing crime. In a memorandum issued May of 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on federal prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most readily provable offense," qualifying this policy as "moral and just." Such policies, which call solely for increased punishment and disregard the reconciliation component, create an imbalance that is not only inconsistent with principles of morality and justice, but is also conducive to more crime. Conversely, justice systems that work in concert with our natural drives and instincts, and capitalize on biological desires for belonging and respect, are more likely to be effective.[ 26] For individuals to behave as valuable and respectful members of society, they must be treated as such. After all, this is what we desire for ourselves, despite the socially constructed fences that we have created to divide us. REFERENCES 1. These three recent books each offer a summary of a flurry of recent research into the cognitive and emotional experience of other animals: De Waal, F., 2016. Are we Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?. WW Norton & Company; Safina, C., 2015. Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. Macmil- lan; Bekoff, M., 2007. The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy -- and Why They Matter. New World Library. 2. https://thehumanevolution- mates-the-founding-mothersof- primatology/ 3. These examples, along with many others, explained in details in: Lents, N.H., 2016. Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals. Columbia University Press. 4. Wilkinson, G.S., 1984. "Reciprocal Food Sharing in the Vampire Bat." Nature, 308 (5955), pp. 181-184. 5. Brosnan, S.F. and De Waal, F.B., 2003. "Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay." Nature, 425 (6955), pp.297-299. : 6. Beccaria, C., 1764. 1986. On Crimes and Punishments. 7. Martinson, R., 1974. "What Works?-Questions and Answers About Prison Reform." The public interest, (35), p.22. 8. Travis, J., National Research Council, 2014. The Growth of Incarceration In the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. National Academies Press. 9. Travis, J., 2005. But They All Come Back: Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. The Urban Insitute. 10. Bekoff, M. and Pierce, J., 2009. Wild justice: The Moral Lives of Animals. University of Chicago Press. 11. Lemert, E.M., 1972. Human Deviance, Social Problems, and Social Control (2nd ed). Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 12. Braithwaite, J., 1989. Crime, Shame and Reintegration. Cambridge University Press. 13. Travis, J., 2002. "Invisible Punishment: An Instrument of Social Exclusion." Appears in: M. Mauer & M. Chesney-Lind (Eds.). Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment (1-36). New York: The New Press. 14. Manza, J. and Uggen, C., 2008. Locked out: Felon Disenfran- chisement and American Democracy. Oxford University Press. 15. Durkheim, E., 2013. Professional Ethics and Civic Morals. Routledge. 16. Diamond, J., 2013. The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?. Penguin. 17. Boehm, C., 2012. Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame. Basic Books. : 18. Enright, R.D. and Fitzgibbons, R.P., 2000. Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. American Psychological Association. 19. Tutu, A.D. and Tutu, R.M., 2014. The Book of Forgiving: the Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World. HarperCollins. 20. Gobodo-Madikizela, P., 2002. "Remorse, Forgiveness, and Re- humanization: Stories from South Africa". Journal of humanistic psychology, 42(1), pp.7-32. 21. Strang, H., Sherman, L.W., Mayo-Wilson, E., Woods, D., and Ariel, B., 2013. "Restorative Justice Conferencing (RJC) Using Face-to-Face Meetings of Offenders and Victims." A Systematic Review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 12. 22. MacKenzie, D.L. and Farring- ton, D.P., 2015. "Preventing Future Offending of Delinquents and Offenders: What Have We Learned from Experiments and Metaanalyses?" Journal of Experimental Criminology, 11(4), pp.565-595. 23. Pinker, S., 2008. "The Moral Instinct." The New York Times Sunday Magazine. 24. Kazemian, L., 2007. "Desis- tance From Crime: Theoretical, Empirical, Methodological, and Policy Considerations." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 23(1), pp.5-27. 25. Tonry, M. (1999). Why Are U.S. Incarceration Rates So High? Crime and Delinquency, 45(4), 419-437. 26. Michael Shermer, editor of this magazine, has made this same argument in chapter 11 of his recent book: Shermer, M. 2015. The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. Macmillan. PHOTO (BLACK & WHITE) : ~~~~~~~~ By NATHAN H. LENTS and LILA KAZEMIAN Copyright of Skeptic is the property of Skeptics Society and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. EBSCO Connect Privacy Policy A/B Testing Terms of Use Copyright powered by EBSCOhost : © 2021 EBSCO Industries, Inc. All rights reserved. Cookie Policy
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Wrongful Conviction
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Wrongful Conviction
Many people have been convicted wrongly globally in the courts that are supposed to
offer justice due to errors or official indifferences in the courts (Johnson, 2020). The innocents
have ended up getting convicted while the guilty are left free. It could be a result of corruption or
lack of following the proper procedure during investigations of a case. Today in most jails, there
are more innocent people than before. It shows the criminal justice system's unreliability and the
lack of accountability of the prosecutors, police, and availability of mistaken eyewitnesses.
Definition of Wrongful Conviction and how wrongful convictions have affected the
criminal justice system.
Wrongful conviction means the conviction of factually innocent persons. It is the process
where the administration of justice has been miscarried or failed (Johnson, 2020). It is where an
innocent person gets punished or convicted of a crime there have not committed. It is the unjust
outcome of civil cases. Wrongful conviction affects both the victim of the wrongful conviction
and the criminal justice system. The strength of the criminal justice system comes from its ability
to provide just conviction. However, due to the increased cases of wrongfully convicted people,
people are beginning to lose on the justice system.
Wrongful conviction portrays the criminal justice system's weakness and the people...

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