Crime, Deviance and Justice

The absolute ability to
The absolute ability to
The absolute ability to
The absolute ability to
of all law violators.
identify all law
apprehend all law
punish all law
identify the intent
Murder of a police officer – 2:3 (67%)
Murder in general – 1:2 (50%)
Aggravated Assault – 1:10 (10%)
Robbery – 1:15 (7%)
Burglary – 1:35 (3%)
Felony Larceny 1:110 (.9%)
White Collar Fraud – 1:2 million
Computer Fraud – 1:120 million
Absolute justice demands that all violators
be punished or no violators be punished. It
is inequitable to the law abridgers who are
punished to allow another law abridger to
roam free and unpunished.
It is inequitable to the law abiders of society
if known law abridgers are allowed to roam
free and unpunished.
Innocent are punished.
Guilty escape punishment.
Guilty are punished more severely than
they should be.
Guilty are punished less severely than they
should be.
There is a general socio-economic clustering of
the four classic justice delivery errors, with the
general convergence of error as follows:
A. Poor:
1. Innocent being punished; and
2. Being punished more severely than they
should be.
B. Wealthy:
1. Escaping punishment when guilty; and
2. Being punished less severely than they
should be.
Justice is the interest of the stronger
Justice should be, the equitable access and
applicability of rights, privileges and
All governments that have flourished since
the beginning of time have been nothing
more than a conspiracy of the rich to
perpetuate themselves under the guise of
Thomas More
(circa 1530)
Who is not a criminal?
Those who have not been caught.
Those who possess a high socio-economic,
political, legal efficacy coefficient.
Who are the criminals?
Those who have been caught
Those who have a low socio-economic, political,
legal efficacy coefficient.
Substantive dimension (legislative
component, executive orders, court
Procedural dimension (line level police
decision, local police, prosecutorial and
judicial department policy and practice;
local legal culture)
Unfounding – Systematically ignoring crimes
known to exist (Atlanta vs. St. Louis,
Founding – Systematically reporting crimes
that otherwise would have not been
reported (Portland).
De-founding – systematically adjusting the
severity of offenses that are known to exist
(Washington, D.C.).
 Deviance
– acts
 Deviants – people
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)
1. Deviance is a two-edged sword of
equivalent positive and negative values.
“Deviant” tends to be an allencompassing label, but no one is
deviant in all aspects of their lives.
The definition of “deviant” is
contextual. It is the quintessential
relativity. We are deviant when we are
in a group that is different from us.
Deviance and deviants depends upon
who you ask and in what setting or
context you are in. We are all “the
deviants” in someone else’s eyes.
4. While there is some consensus at the
extremes, there is little consensus beyond
those edges. Definitions depend upon
values, culture, perspectives, and
experience. Definitions of deviance are a
relative, normative phenomenon.
What is deviance and who are the deviants depends upon
who you ask, and when you ask it and in what context.
We are all the deviants in someone else’s eyes.
Multiple perceptions of deviance are held by different
people with different backgrounds and experiences, and
these perceptions are subject to continual change over
time. These varying and fluid perceptions co-exist and
compete for prominence in society, and if you have the
power, you can elevate your perception to a position of
prominence and have it serve as the society’s socio-legal
definition of deviance, and it will stay that way until you
are out of power and then someone else’s definition will
emerge supreme. The definition of deviants and deviance
is the ultimate, the quintessential examples of relativity.
5. Were all deviants (and their deviance) to be
eliminated, new definitions of deviance would emerge
and punishment would be meted out accordingly.
What was marginal deviance before would now be in
the unacceptable category. Deviance cannot be
eliminated. The extent of deviance is constant (the
constancy dictum). What changes is the definition of
the nature of deviance. As societies evolve, as the
interests of the powerful change, the definitions of
deviance change, but the extent does not.
6. Crime is bound by social class. The poor
are more criminal than the rich because the
laws are both written and enforced for the
benefit of the rich and powerful.
Deviance is also bound by social class, not
in terms of extent, but in terms of nature. In
other words, the prevalence or extent of
deviance is similar from one social class to
another, but the types of offenses committed,
the nature of deviance, differs from one social
class to another (ie., the rich steal in ways
available to them and the poor do likewise).
The rich are less criminal than the poor
simply because they have the power to
define crime so as to legitimize their illicit
Behaviors, and have the law enforced to
their liking, but they are no less deviant in
terms of the extent of their involvement in
illicit behaviors. The nature of their
involvement is different (the rich can steal
in ways the rest of us can’t), but the extent
of their involvement is the same.
7. There is a value to deviance. Remember, it is a
two-edged sword with both positive and
negative components (yin and yang). On the
positive side, deviance:
a. Serves as a catalyst for change and progress.
b. Provides the raw materials for social change.
c. Forces a re-examination and modification of
values and behaviors in the context of new
d. Redistributes opportunities for leadership.
e. It forces the opposition to better
prepare its case and thus in this
adversarial context, refines the truth.
f. Responses to deviance inculcate into
members of society, just what society
g. Draws people together in mutual
condemnation, thus promoting
community cohesion.
h. Removes bureaucratic red-tape and thus
provides quicker responses.
Without deviance, we would be a society of
clones with “hemophiliacic” minds, incapable of
dealing with the variation around us. Deviance
and diversity are mandatory to confront and
survive in the tumultuous world in which we live.
But, how much and what types? There is no
“answer.” It is the quintessential, eternally unresolvable query. It depends on who you ask and
when you ask and who is in power and who is out
of power, and even then, the answer will be
different tomorrow than it was today.
Yes, by having the legislative bodies fail to
function (substantively)
Yes, by have the police fail to function and
report (procedurally).
So yes, but, that is not the point.
No, we cannot eliminate deviance anymore than a
physician can eliminate death. It is always with us.
We can, however, change the nature of deviance - we
can reduce the severity of the nature of deviance.
A. Gun/knife example (extent constant, nature
B. Medical analogy (reduce seriousness of disease)
It is our job as criminologists to find ways to reduce
the severity of the nature of crime/deviance
(financial planner analogy – enhance individually
unique portfolios)
Crime Control Model
Due Process Model
Aggravates long-term stability
Aggravates short term contingencies
Apprehend the guilty
Protect the innocent
Assumes deviance and explains conformity
Assumes conformity and explains deviance
Authoritarian, trained police
Social service, educated police
Burden of proof on defense to demonstrate
Burden of proof on prosecutor to demonstrate
innocence at beyond reasonable doubt
guilt at reasonable doubt
Closed bureaucratic justice structures
Open, linking-pin justice structures
Corporal punishment
Non-interventionist treatment
Criminal intent of little concern
Criminal intent of an overriding concern
Discretionary power to police and prosecutorial
Discretionary power to judicial and correctional
Emphasis on efficiency
Emphasis on effectiveness
Emphasis on training
Emphasis on education
Few confession extraction guidelines
Completely voluntary confessions
Few search and seizure rules
Strict search and seizure rules
Frequent use of the death penalty
Abolition of the death penalty
Harm, frighten, scare, intimidate
Encourage, help, aid, assist
Harms innocent persons
Allows known guilty to go free
Harsh sentences
Lenient sentences
High certainty of apprehension/justice system
Low certainty of apprehension/justice system
Large, demeaning prisons
Community-based corrections
Crime Control Model
Due Process Model
Large private sector police force
Small private sector police force
Legal counsel provided on rare occasions
Legal counsel provided as a right at all stages
Maintain the status quo
Respond to social inequities
Mandatory, determinate sentencing
Indeterminate sentencing
Many law enforcement officers
Few law enforcement officers
Many penalties
Few penalties
Maximize level of offender intrusion into system Minimize level of offender intrusion into system
National, centrally organized police force
Local, autonomous, decentralized police force
No pretrial discovery for defense
Unlimited pretrial discovery for defense
Plea bargaining emphasis
Complete adjudication
Presumption of guilt
Presumption of innocence
Preventive deterrence policy
Curative rehabilitation policy
Protect society from evolutionary change
Protect society from revolutionary change
Protect society in the short run
Protect society in the long run
Punish the guilty
Protect the innocent
Punishment fits the crime
Punishment fits the criminal
Quick, informal justice
Formalized, individualized justice
Rational, economic man theory
Crime a psycho-sociological entity
Social order
Individual liberty
Supervision of offenders
Advocate of offenders
Swift, certain punishment
Treatment, but only when needed
Premise #1 - When liberty is permitted to
grow without limits, it is at the expense of
justice and order.
Premise #2 - The greatest threat to our
republic comes from those, who in attempt
to preserve order, would destroy liberty.
Justice will be realized only when the
body politic are internally willing
to obey the unenforceable.
What types of protections, freedoms and rights
should be given to what groups of people? How
extensive should they be? When does the exercise
of these protections and freedoms begin to flaunt
the law? When does governmental control become
excessive intervention? How much liberty is to be
afforded to members of society and how much
order should the state seek to maintain?
The real test of life is to be able to hold two
opposing ideas in mind at the same time,
and still retain the ability to function. One
must recognize that things are hopeless, but
be determined to make them otherwise.
It is on this premise that we must continue.