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26Jul/16

Video: Critical Theory

26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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26Jul/16

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24Jul/16
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Video: New Directions in Critical Criminology

06Jul/16

Red Feather

Red Feather Institute for Advanced Studies in Sociology

T. R. Young was the director of the Red Feather Institute for Advanced Studies in Sociology. His website, which included many critical criminology pages and one of the first online journals, was one of the earliest criminal justice sites on the Internet – which at that time meant it was one of the only online criminal justice sites. While his site disappeared shortly after his death, critical criminologists wanted to retain this archive.

T. R.’s family graciously agreed to allow these pages to be hosted at critcrim.org. The original pages are linked below. Some images are missing, and the html may not be 100% compatible with today’s standards, but the ideas remain relevant.

About the Red Feather Institute

The Red Feather Dictionary of Critical Social Science

Welcome page: 

Bienvenue aux etudiants du monde!!
HOLA, Estudiantes del Mundo!!
Willkommen, Studierenden der Welt!!
Isansar ke vidhyarthiyon apka swagath hai !
Huanying quan shijie de xuesheng !
Benvenuto, allievi del mondo!

to the

RED FEATHER INSTITUTE
For
Advanced Studies in Sociology

06Jul/16

Critical Links

Critical Links

Pages linked here have been archived from an earlier iteration of the critcrim.org site. Many links are stale, although we will update as time allows.
05Jul/16
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Video: Social Construction

04Jul/16

Video: Critical Criminology

10Aug/15
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Criminology News

Criminology

  • New publication on race and ethnicity in America 15 Feb 2017 12:00 Phys.org Patterns and trends in racial and ethnic inequality over recent decades is the focus of a new publication published by John Iceland, professor and department head of sociology and criminology and Population Research Institute associate at Penn State. In …
  • The violence in Great Britain after the Brexit vote might hold lessons for America 11 Jan 2017 01:18 Business Insider Brexit supporters form a counter demonstration as Pro-Europe demonstrators protest during a "March for Europe" against the Brexit vote result earlier in the year, in London, Britain Thomson Reuters A divisive vote, with jobs and immigrants the …
  • An Ocean Apart, But United in Concerns About Hate Crimes 10 Jan 2017 07:55 ProPublica Anti-Brexit protesters outside the Supreme Court during a hearing to determine whether Parliament’s consent is required before the country can leave the European Union, on Dec. 6, 2016, in London, England (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) A divisive vote, …
  • The Legal and Financial Reasons Why Police Stop and Shoot People like Philando Castile 10 Jul 2016 17:23 The Huffington Post There are many reasons why police stop and shoot people like Philando Castile. And it is not so much about good cop versus bad cop or individual racism. One can point to individual, institutional, or societal racism. There is racial and urban …
  • Canadian police struggle to maintain reputation under unprecedented scrutiny 22 Aug 2015 02:46 Calgary Herald On a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., this week, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promised $250 million to fund more frontline police officers. If elected, he said, he would put the money towards the recruitment of 2,500 of them across the country. But if Mulcair …
  • Canadian police struggle... 21 Aug 2015 18:11 Leader Post On a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., this week, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promised $250 million to fund more frontline police officers. If elected, he said, he would put the money towards the recruitment of 2,500 of them across the country. But if Mulcair …
  • Canadian police struggle to maintain reputation under unprecedented scrutiny and demands for new approach 21 Aug 2015 14:17 Montreal Gazette On a campaign stop in Surrey, B.C., this week, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair promised $250 million to fund more frontline police officers. If elected, he said, he would put the money towards the recruitment of 2,500 of them across the country. But if Mulcair …
  • "Broken Windows," Broken Lives and the Ruse of "Public Order" Policing 17 Jul 2015 15:48 truthout Authors note: As we approach the one year anniversary of Eric Garner's death, New York City reached a settlement with his family, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to resolve a wrongful-death claim. The settlement is the latest in a long series of civil …

Critical Criminology

  • Sexual assault victims deserve better care 23 Jun 2017 17:48 Gulf News Imagine that you are a university student who has experienced sexual assault; now imagine being told that you’ll have to wait weeks to talk to a counsellor. Last week, End Rape on Campus (Eroc) Australia was contacted by a young woman from UNSW ( …
  • Love and coupledom in the LGBTQ community, 12 years after marriage equality 21 Jun 2017 22:07 The Globe and Mail “The heterosexual cage of coupledom.” That’s how the late lesbian author Jane Rule described matrimony in 2001, four years before same-sex marriage would be legalized across this country. Today, Canadians see marriage equality as a given, so many might be …
  • Kansas' 2016 Juvenile Justice Reform 19 Jun 2017 16:54 Pewtrusts Overview Seeking to improve its juvenile justice system, Kansas in 2016 enacted Senate Bill 367, which was based on the recommendations of a bipartisan work group appointed by leadership from all three branches of the state’s government. The law restricts …
  • Sagay, Others Blast Buhari’s Anti-Graft War 19 Jun 2017 16:13 Tide Two prominent members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja, last weekend, picked holes in government’s handling of the anti-corruption war. Speaking in Abuja at a programme organised by the National Association of …
  • Buhari’s anti-corruption panel lambasts Presidency, judiciary …says AGF, others not serious about graft war 18 Jun 2017 07:53 Punch Newspapers ..says AGF, others not serious about graft war •Lawyers sponsor judges’ children’s weddings –Sagay ENIOLA AKINKUOTU Two prominent members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja on Saturday picked holes in government’s handling …
  • Buhari’s anti-corruption panel lambasts Presidency, judiciary 18 Jun 2017 03:08 Punch Newspapers ..says AGF, others not serious about graft war •Lawyers sponsor judges’ children’s weddings –Sagay ENIOLA AKINKUOTU Two prominent members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja on Saturday picked holes in government’s handling …
  • Helping kids with incarcerated parents 17 Jun 2017 08:20 Washington Times LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - For at least a minute or two, they shared a normal mother-and-daughter embrace. They traded kisses, tentative at first, then twirled together, their long hair flying out in a wide arc. “We are the best dancers,” the daughter, 10, …
  • China police blame lone bomber for killing 8 at kindergarten gate 16 Jun 2017 10:41 The Washington Post BEIJING — Chinese police said Friday they believe that a 22-year-old school dropout planted a homemade explosive device outside a kindergarten, killing eight people, including himself, although his motive remains unclear.  The explosion took place at 4:48 …
  • Meet Georgia's Paralympians 15 Jun 2017 00:46 globalvoicesonline.org Photo of swimmer Lika Chachibaia by Maurice Wolf. The following is a version of a partner post written by Ana Lomtadze with photos by Maurice Wolf that first appeared on the website Chai-Khana.org. In Georgia people with disabilities, which in Georgian …
  • No Limited Abilities: Meet Georgia's Paralympians 15 Jun 2017 00:15 globalvoicesonline.org Photo of swimmer Lika Chachibaia by Maurice Wolf. The following is a version of a partner post written by Ana Lomtadze with photos by Maurice Wolf that first appeared on the website Chai-Khana.org. In Georgia people with disabilities, which in Georgian …

Crime Theory

  • GSU professor: Youth crime prevention programs working so far 24 Jun 2017 02:37 Savannah Morning News When a person is shot in Savannah, they are usually rushed to the hospital — but medical treatment isn’t the only thing they receive. The Youth Intervention and Violence Intervention Programs at Memorial University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s and …
  • Why are we obsessed with the Nazis? 23 Jun 2017 02:02 The Guardian Why are we still so obsessed with the Nazis? Hardly a day goes by without a television programme or a newspaper article about them. Movies featuring them continue to pour out of the studios, from Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds to Polanski’s The Pianist. …
  • Flawed gun data lead to wrong conclusions, researchers say 22 Jun 2017 21:06 CNN Wintemute knew that hospitals were good at saving people who have been shot but that there haven't been many medical advances to change the numbers quite so much. He didn't believe the trend theory, either. When the gun violence rate went up, the …
  • Read the rest of Whitehurst's piece at Education Next 22 Jun 2017 14:46 Brookings Institution Washington is at a crossroads on K–12 education policy. Policymakers can 1) continue down the path of top-down accountability; 2) devolve power to states and districts, thereby returning to the status quo of the mid-1990s; or 3) rethink the fundamentals, …
  • School Choice Erroneously Claimed to Promote Economic Development in Santa Ana California 21 Jun 2017 19:38 North Denver News EdChoice and the American Enterprise Institute each recently released a report contending that the introduction of school choice can promote economic development in economically distressed urban areas. The first report presents a case study of a charter …
  • School Choice Erroneously Proposed as Way to Promote Economic... 21 Jun 2017 00:15 SF Gate Key New NEPC Review Takeaway: Reports offer little support for the use of school choice to spur urban renewal. Boulder, CO (PRWEB) June 20, 2017 EdChoice and the American Enterprise Institute each recently released a report contending that the …
  • Understanding Contemporary White Supremacy 19 Jun 2017 06:01 Alternet Photo Credit: Zefart / Shutterstock.com Following the first installment of this series, where the historical origins of modern white supremacy were explored in depth, and a subsequent essay that examined the ways white supremacy has influenced …
  • Understanding contemporary white supremacy, part 2: How do we deal with this new form of an old phenomenon? 18 Jun 2017 16:23 Salon Following the first installment of this series, where the historical origins of modern white supremacy were explored in depth, and a subsequent essay that examined the ways white supremacy has influenced mainstream American politics, here are three of the …
  • The Story of My Father 18 Jun 2017 12:04 EpochTimes 1 My father was born into an ordinary peasant family in Chaozhong village, Zhongjiang County, Sichuan Province. It was said that my grandmother had given birth to 12 children, but only 9 survived. My father was the second eldest son in the family. With …
  • The Solution To America's Gun Violence Isn't More Guns 16 Jun 2017 00:37 The Huffington Post WASHINGTON ― For a few hours after a gunman shot a member of Congress and four other people at baseball practice in the Northern Virginia suburbs on Wednesday, lawmakers were unified against the political vitriol that seemed to drive the attack. But when …

Black Lives Matter

  • Six police officers injured during clashes with protesters in London 26 Jun 2017 06:55 The Irish Times Six police officers have been injured, including four taken to hospital, during clashes that followed a protest in London over the death of a man after a traffic stop. One male officer suffered facial injuries and a female officer sustained head injuries …
  • Forest Gate clashes: Six police officers injured in London protest over man's death after traffic stop 26 Jun 2017 06:50 Telegraph.co.uk The protest began outside Forest Gate police station on Sunday before demonstrators moved on to the Stratford area, police said. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the treatment of the 25-year-old, who died on June 21, …
  • Riot police called in for Edir Frederico Da Costa protest 26 Jun 2017 06:50 The Independent Protesters have set fires and clashed with riot police in north-east London in demonstrations following the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa. Bricks were torn from walls and thrown at police and firefighters were called to put out flames in a bin near …
  • Police officers hurt in demo over death 26 Jun 2017 06:49 BBC Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFootage from a local resident shows a fire in a Forest Gate street Six police officers have been injured and four people arrested in a protest over the death of a man following a traffic stop. …
  • Pride parades take a political tone 26 Jun 2017 06:45 Albany Times Union NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: People march down 5th Ave. in the annual New York Gay Pride Parade, one of the oldest and largest in the world on June 25, 2017 in New York City. Thouands cheered as members of LGBT community danced and marched under a bright …
  • Six police officers injured in protest over traffic stop death 26 Jun 2017 06:43 Itv.com Six officers have been injured as protesters set fires and threw bricks during clashes with police over the death of a man after a traffic stop. Campaigners demanded justice for Edir Frederico Da Costa who died on June 21. They claim the 25-year-old's …
  • The Passing of the Pelosi Era 26 Jun 2017 06:31 The Times Republican In the first round of the special election for the House seat in Georgia’s Sixth District, 30-year-old Jon Ossoff swept 48 percent. He more than doubled the vote of his closest GOP rival, Karen Handel. A Peach State pickup for the Democrats and a huge …
  • Forest Gate clashes: Six police officers injured in London protest over man's death 26 Jun 2017 06:30 Telegraph.co.uk The protest began outside Forest Gate police station on Sunday before demonstrators moved on to the Stratford area, police said. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the treatment of the 25-year-old, who died on June 21, …
  • Police officers injured in London protest over man's death 26 Jun 2017 06:24 BBC Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionFootage from a local resident shows a fire in a Forest Gate street Six police officers have been injured and four people arrested in a protest over the death of a man following a traffic stop. …
  • Monday briefing: PM makes Europeans same but different 26 Jun 2017 06:02 The Guardian Top story: May’s offer to EU citizens Good morning to you. Graham Russell here with what’s happening at the start of the week. Theresa May today publishes her 15-page proposal on how to treat Europeans living in the UK, giving them the same employment, …

Gender and Crime

  • Our Cultural Obsession With 'Pretty Dead Girls' Began Long Before 'Twin Peaks' 30 May 2017 17:41 Politics Daily The pilot episode of “Twin Peaks,” which aired in April 1990, begins with an image at once horrific and strangely compelling, disturbing yet deep-down familiar, the image of Laura Palmer’s washed-up dead body, sealed in a plastic bag. Her face is lifeless …
  • A Viral Sex Crime Saga 18 Mar 2017 19:56 The Daily Beast Andrea Noel's first-person account of her assault, the storm on social media, the hunt for the perv, and what it's meant to Mexican machismo and impunity. TIJUANA, Mexico—Just over a year ago, on International Women’s Day, as it happened, I was …
  • #OscarsSoWhite Again? Is Hollywood’s response to sexual assault coloured? 21 Jan 2017 19:14 Indian Express Published:January 22, 2017 12:18 am Affleck (left) is a firm favourite for this year’s Oscar for best actor; Parker and The Birth of a Nation. At the Sundance Film Festival last year, Nate Parker’s directorial debut The Birth of a Nation, about an 1831 …
  • The Best And Worst Sex Stories From The Last Year 13 Jan 2017 00:13 Politics Daily Alexandra Katehakis and Center for Healthy Sex (CHS) have released their Annual Best/Worst Sex List for 2016. It was a difficult and challenging year, especially seen through the lens of sexual health. It was a year in which politics came close to …
  • who’s waging war on men, again? the anti-feminist caricature of men 10 Jan 2017 05:41 altmuslim As a solitary feminist in a right-wing milieu, I seem to spend a lot of time dismantling straw-feminist stereotypes. You know what they are: feminists are trying to destroy the family. Feminists are trying to wipe out the differences between men and women …
  • Women empowerment in Pakistan is only possible if we understand consent 16 Nov 2016 12:44 Nation Recently in Pakistan, a debate occurred on social media regarding a famous picture of a sailorman kissing a woman during an end of World War II celebrations in New York.  To say a little about this photograph’s background, the lady in the picture is Greta …
  • Aftermath: Sixteen Writers on Trump's America 14 Nov 2016 12:58 Trending on EIN Newsdesk Jump to a section:   A Democratic Opposition By George Packer Four decades ago, Watergate revealed the potential of the modern Presidency for abuse of power on a vast scale. It also showed that a strong democracy can overcome even the worst illness …
  • The Roots of Trump and the Tea Party: The Hidden Injuries of Class, Race and Culture 02 Nov 2016 06:46 Alternet Photo Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.com Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right By Arlie Russell Hochschild New Press Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis By J.D. Vance HarperCollins The Populist …
  • Chimamanda gives parents a series of suggestions and commandments on how to raise a feminist 15 Oct 2016 14:01 Nigerian Eye Days after Chimamanda Adichie revealed in a publication that her feminism varies from Beyoncé’s, she has written a ‘Feminist Manifesto’ on how to Raise a Child. On her official Facebook page, Chimamanda gives a series of fifteen suggestions and …
  • Chimamanda Adichie: “Dear Ijeawele, or a femininst manifesto in fifteen suggestions” 13 Oct 2016 21:48 Y Naija by Chimamanda Adichie Dear Ijeawele, What joy. And what lovely names: Chizalum Adaora. She is so beautiful. Only a day old and she already looks curious about the world. Your note made me cry. You know how I get foolishly emotional sometimes. Please know …

Prison Privatization

Prison Abolition

  • Trans-led coalition protests at Chicago Pride Parade 26 Jun 2017 02:16 Windy City Times Trans individuals made their presence known at this year's Chicago Gay Pride Parade. A post by Black, mixed-class, queer femme rad fag indicated that a trans-led coalition of locally based organizations—headed by the Trans Liberation Collective and …
  • Defending sanctuary and fighting for abolition: It’s our time to be bold 25 Jun 2017 11:02 San Francisco Bay View by Critical Resistance We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and …
  • Naomi Klein Pushes Us to Dream Big to Get Beyond Trump’s Shock Politics 22 Jun 2017 21:58 Alternet Photo Credit: @mjb/Flickr CC Naomi Klein understands that President Donald J. Trump is a problem, but he is not the problem. In her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Klein reminds us to pay …
  • GUEST COLUMN From the Inside Out 22 Jun 2017 10:33 Windy City Times In prison, everything gets around by word of mouth, and that's how I first heard about Black and Pink. When I was in segregation a few years ago, one of my LGBTQ friends had a few copies of the Black and Pink newspaper. At the time, I didn't know …
  • Author and activist Naomi Klein reveals how to get beyond Trump’s shock politics 21 Jun 2017 14:57 Raw Story Naomi Klein understands that President Donald J. Trump is a problem, but he is not the problem. In her new book, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, Klein reminds us to pay attention not only to the style in …
  • Lessons learned from establishing an antipsychiatry scholarship 20 Jun 2017 04:58 Rabble Part two of a two-part series. Read part one. I named the new scholarship "The Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry" and I constructed it as a matching scholarship wherein I would be matching up to $50,000 of contributions by others, and …
  • Alternative to jails needed 17 Jun 2017 08:03 Herald Stereotype is a form of unconscious bias. The famous nineteenth century German philosopher Hegel reminds us that with stereotype one aspect of a person’s personality is magnified beyond justifiable limits to the exclusion of all other aspects of that …
  • Daring to Dream in the Age of Trump 13 Jun 2017 14:48 The Nation Most Popular We have to question not only Trump but the stories and systems that ineluctably produced him. It’s not enough to superficially challenge him as an individual, foul and alarmingly ignorant though he may be. We have to confront the deep-seated …
  • Abolition of Policing 29 May 2017 18:09 Indybay Dear Friends, Sin Barras will be hosting Critical Resistance of Oakland for a 2 hour workshop titled “Abolition of Policing.” Recent years have laid bare the violence of the police — but what empowers the system of policing and how can communities create …
  • On Leaving Prison: A Reflection on Entering and Exiting Communities 23 May 2017 15:05 truthout Formerly incarcerated people suffer from losing their community twice -- first while entering prison and again while leaving it. (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout) This story is the sixth piece in the Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of  …

Corporate Crime

  • most appealing destinations 26 Jun 2017 05:32 Brookings Institution The single-story brick building at 1209 North Orange St. in downtown Wilmington, Del., looks bland and innocuous. But the building, home to the Corporation Trust Company, has an intriguing claim to fame. In the last few years, it has served as the …
  • Govt considers new measures to tackle white collar crime 26 Jun 2017 05:29 Breaking News from Ireland New laws to grant immunity to whistleblowers could form part of package to fight white collar crime. The measures could also include a new Garda unit to investigate corporate crimes and changes to the way evidence is brought to court. Taoiseach Leo …
  • Gun violence is America's shame 26 Jun 2017 03:03 Chicago Tribune The annual congressional baseball game dates back to 1909 and is now one of the only public displays of bipartisanship left in Washington, D.C. The game, which pits Republicans against Democrats, mirrors similar events that dominate American culture every …
  • Should taxpayers continue to help Pro League? Shabazz, Hospedales, Harrison, Eve and Fakoory speak 26 Jun 2017 02:55 Wired 868 New day, old problems. The Trinidad and Tobago Pro League kicked off as scheduled on 9 June 2017; but the problems are still there: little money, small crowds and general public disinterest. Or maybe things are worse than usual. Digicel have not renewed …
  • The New York Times used a full page to print all of Trump's... 26 Jun 2017 02:48 Seatlle Post-Intelligencer Scott Olson/Getty Images The New York Times used a full page in this week's paper to print out every lie President Donald Trump has publicly told since taking office just over five months ago. The list contains Trump's contradictions on a slew …
  • NY Times used full page to print all of Trump's lies in office 26 Jun 2017 02:18 SF Gate Scott Olson/Getty Images The New York Times used a full page in this week's paper to print out every lie President Donald Trump has publicly told since taking office just over five months ago. The list contains Trump's contradictions on a slew …
  • Enough Of Hate Speeches 26 Jun 2017 00:38 Tide In recent times, hate and divisive speeches have been promoted to a game between some youths in Northern Nigeria and their counterparts in the South-East. This unhealthy development has, in no mean measure, heightened tension in the country, as well as …
  • China agrees to stop conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks targeting Canadian private sector 25 Jun 2017 23:18 The Globe and Mail China has signed an agreement saying it will stop conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks aimed at stealing Canadian private-sector trade secrets and proprietary technology. This industrial espionage accord was worked out this past Friday during …
  • Morning mail: Greens turn fury on Lee Rhiannon 25 Jun 2017 21:35 The Guardian Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 26 June. Top stories The Greens face dramatic internal turmoil, with the NSW senator Lee Rhiannon at risk of censure or expulsion from the party room after all …
  • Varadkar asks for package to fight white collar crime 25 Jun 2017 21:14 Irish Times New laws to grant immunity to whistleblowers, a new Garda unit to investigate corporate crimes and changes to the way evidence is brought to court could all form part of a package of measures to combat white collar crime. The suggestions are made in a …

White Collar Crime

  • Govt considers new measures to tackle white collar crime 26 Jun 2017 05:29 Breaking News from Ireland New laws to grant immunity to whistleblowers could form part of package to fight white collar crime. The measures could also include a new Garda unit to investigate corporate crimes and changes to the way evidence is brought to court. Taoiseach Leo …
  • Seen & Heard 26 Jun 2017 05:10 Irish Times The Sunday Business Post reports that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has floated the possibility of giving immunity to white collar crime informants who agree to become a “supergrass”. The paper says he wants proposals to be brought to cabinet in September. The …
  • Varadkar asks for package to fight white collar crime 25 Jun 2017 21:14 Irish Times New laws to grant immunity to whistleblowers, a new Garda unit to investigate corporate crimes and changes to the way evidence is brought to court could all form part of a package of measures to combat white collar crime. The suggestions are made in a …
  • Inside French Prisons, A Struggle To Combat Radicalization 25 Jun 2017 11:19 NPR An officer stands at the Fresnes Prison in France in September 2016. Fresnes was the first French prison to separate radicalized inmates from the general prison population. Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Patrick …
  • NAB plans training academy for its IOs, prosecutors 25 Jun 2017 06:12 The Express Tribune Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, Chairman NAB chairing a meeting to review training of trainers, refresher and capacity building courses of NAB investigation officers/prosecutors for the year 2016 at NAB Headquarter. PHOTO: APP National Accountability Bureau ( …
  • Crime against the elderly – its cause, cost and our response 24 Jun 2017 04:11 Kaieteur News Jun 24, 2017 Letters 0 Dear Editor, Life is not easy for the elderly in Guyana. The mini bus is reluctant to accept them as passengers; they meekly bear the primitive conditions offered as they wait their turn at post offices to claim their pension. In …
  • Documentary: Did Pedophiles Kill JonBenet Ramsey? 23 Jun 2017 23:39 Opposing Views JonBenet Ramsey may have been murdered by a Colorado "child porn ring," a new documentary set to be released explores.  The new film, "Casting JonBenet," centers on Boulder-based actors and actresses, where the Ramsey family lived at …
  • Barclays And The SFO: The Importance Of Independence 23 Jun 2017 10:44 Huffington Post The Serious Fraud Office investigation into Barclays has rumbled on for some years, and it has now finally been announced that charges have been brought against both the bank and senior executives for how they handled capital raising after the financial …
  • Google calls for new laws to speed up offshore data requests 23 Jun 2017 03:20 Irish Independent Mr Cosgrave confirmed that the financial technology conference Moneyconf will relocate from Madrid to Dublin, back to the venue that caused so much friction between Mr Cosgrave and proprietors of Dublin's biggest conference venue. However, with …
  • 'Selling tickets is much easier' - Paddy Cosgrave denies intention to enter Irish politics...   22 Jun 2017 10:33 Irish Independent However, he denied that he wants to enter Irish politics. The entrepreneur, who also announced that his financial technology conference MoneyConf would be hosted in the RDS next year, said that Ireland sits "at the bottom of the table" in …

State Crime

  • Getting to know new state laws 26 Jun 2017 06:46 The Journal Gazette INDIANAPOLIS – With every July come a host of new state laws. This year's batch is led by a gas and diesel tax increase to fund needed road maintenance and improvement. But legislators also focused on protecting Hoosiers in other ways – from domestic …
  • Lagos state hospital rejects MFM pastor stabbed by Badoo cult group 26 Jun 2017 06:15 Information Nigeria The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, has rejected a minister of the Moutain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, Pastor Olawale (Solomon) Anthony, whose skull was fractured by some assailants suspected to be members of the Badoo cult, It was   …
  • Alleged drug kingpin arrested after two years on the run 26 Jun 2017 05:49 ABC.net.au Updated June 26, 2017 15:22:24 One of New South Wales' most wanted men has been arrested in the Hunter Valley after two years on the run. In 2015, alleged Sydney drug kingpin Darren Rispen was added to NSW Police's "most wanted" list …
  • Govt considers new measures to tackle white collar crime 26 Jun 2017 05:29 Breaking News from Ireland New laws to grant immunity to whistleblowers could form part of package to fight white collar crime. The measures could also include a new Garda unit to investigate corporate crimes and changes to the way evidence is brought to court. Taoiseach Leo …
  • Police commander among at least ten killed in Mexican state 26 Jun 2017 05:28 The New Indian Express XALPA: Gunmen burst into a restaurant and killed the federal police commander for Veracruz and a second officer in another bloody day for the troubled Mexican state. The police officers were among at least 10 people slain in Veracruz state on Saturday, …
  • Darren Rispen, one of NSW's 'most wanted' men, arrested after two years on the run 26 Jun 2017 04:45 ABC.net.au Posted June 26, 2017 14:01:01 One of New South Wales' most wanted men has been arrested in the Hunter Valley after two years on the run. In 2015, Darren Rispen was added to NSW Police's "most wanted" list after he failed to attend court …
  • State Of The Music: Should Nigerian music be judged for morality, or should it just be art? 26 Jun 2017 04:15 Pulse Music is art before anything else. And it is based on this understanding that it gets a pass at every level of its manifestation. Art is the creative expression of human voices and the human spirit. It is comes from our moments, our thoughts, our …
  • Police arrest fugitive in Hunter 26 Jun 2017 03:49 Newcastle Herald AVA BENNY-MORRISON and BRODIE OWEN 26 Jun 2017, 1:03 p.m. Arrest of one of state's 'most wanted' figures in Nelson Bay. Darren Rispen. POLICE have arrested one of the state’s most wanted figures in the Hunter. State Crime Command detectives …
  • The crime and punishment open line 26 Jun 2017 02:25 Arkansas Times Here's the Sunday open line with some crime and punishment news: * CRIME: Little Rock police said two people were shot about 7:40 p.m. on Montclair Drive in Central Little Rock. One victim told police the shooting was the work of the "Monroe Gang …
  • Wave of Attacks Kills 14 in Mexican State of Veracruz 26 Jun 2017 00:26 Latin American Herald Tribune VERACRUZ, Mexico – Fourteen people, including two federal policemen and a family of six, were killed in a wave of attacks on Saturday in different parts of the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz. In less than 24 hours, groups of hitmen carried out attacks …

Environmental Crime

  • Environmental pollution is a serious crime 01 Jun 2017 15:10 Newcastle Herald Justice Tim Moore, the death of cows and why environmental crimes matter. THERE were no alarms or warnings at Dyno Nobel’s Warkworth explosives manufacturing site in January and February, 2015 when toxic waste flowed into a neighbouring farm dam where up …
  • America's Toxic Prisons: The Environmental Injustices of Mass Incarceration 01 Jun 2017 14:48 truthout Keith Cole is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit challenging conditions at Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas. Prisoners there are exposed to unbearable heat and for years were left drinking arsenic-contaminated water. (Photo: Michael Stravato …
  • "Superman Is Not Coming": Erin Brockovich on the Future of Water 27 Apr 2017 16:39 truthout Erin Brockovich speaks at the 2016 Arizona Ultimate Women's Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, October 9, 2016. (Photo: Gage Skidmore) Come take a ride on America's toxic water slide: First stop: Flint, Michigan, where two …
  • EPA’s Scott Pruitt: The Great Disruptor 02 Mar 2017 00:06 Alternet Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC On January 17, 2017, a congressional hearing to confirm Scott Pruitt, …
  • Did the EPA Prosecute and Jail a Mississippi Lab Owner Because of Her Activism? 03 Dec 2016 16:20 truthout Tennie White, convicted of "faking laboratory testing results and lying to federal investigators" in 2013, stands in front of her Jackson, Mississippi home. (Photo: Nicole Craine for The Intercept) On a muggy Thursday morning in June, I drove …
  • Unsafe at Any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, From DDT to BPA 21 May 2016 14:49 truthout A BPA free sign at a Babies "R" Us in Commack, New York, March 10, 2009. At long last chemical manufacturers have begun removing the endocrine-disrupting plastic bisphenol-A (BPA) from products they sell. (Photo: Maxine Hicks / The New York …
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04Aug/15
wikipedia

Wiki – Critical Criminology

Critical criminology is a theoretical perspective in criminology which focuses on challenging traditional understandings and uncovering false beliefs about crime and criminal justice, often but not exclusively by taking a conflict perspective, such as Marxism, feminism, political economy theory or critical theory. Critical criminology frequently takes a perspective of examining the genesis of crime and nature of 'justice' within a structure of class and status inequalities. Law and punishment of crime are viewed as connected to a system of social inequality and as the means of producing and perpetuating this inequality.[1]

Critical criminology sees crime as a product of oppression of workers – in particular, those in greatest poverty – and less-advantaged groups within society, such as women and ethnic minorities, are seen to be the most likely to suffer oppressive social relations based upon class division, sexism and racism.[2] More simply, critical criminology may be defined as any criminological topic area that takes into account the contextual factors of crime or critiques topics covered in mainstream criminology.

Socially contingent definitions of crime

It can also rest upon the fundamental assertion that definitions of what constitute crimes are socially and historically contingent, that is, what constitutes a crime varies in different social situations and different periods of history.

For example, homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom up to 1967 when it was legalized for men over 21. If the act itself remained the same, how could its 'criminal qualities' change such that it became legal? What this question points out to us is that acts do not, in themselves, possess 'criminal qualities', that is, there is nothing inherent that makes any act a crime other than that it has been designated a crime in the law that has jurisdiction in that time and place.

Whilst there are many variations on the critical theme in criminology, the term critical criminology has become a cynosure for perspectives that take to be fundamental the understanding that certain acts are crimes because certain people have the power to make them so. The reliance on what has been seen as the oppositional paradigm, administrational criminology, which tends to focus on the criminological categories that governments wish to highlight (mugging and other street crime, violence, burglary, and, as many critical criminologists would contend, predominantly the crimes of the poor) can be questioned.

The gap between what these two paradigms suggest is of legitimate criminological interest, is shown admirably by Stephen Box in his book Power, crime, and Mystification where he asserts that one is seven times more likely (or was in 1983) to be killed as a result of negligence by one's employer, than one was to be murdered in the conventional sense (when all demographic weighting had been taken into account).

Yet, to this day, no one has ever been prosecuted for corporate manslaughter in the UK. The effect of this, critical criminologists tend to claim, is that conventional criminologies fail to 'lay bare the structural inequalities which underpin the processes through which laws are created and enforced' (Taylor Walton and Young 1973) and that 'deviancy and criminality' are 'shaped by society's larger structure of power and institutions' (ibid). Further failing to note that power represents the capacity 'to enforce one's moral claims' permitting the powerful to 'conventionalize their moral defaults' legitimizing the processes of 'normalized repression' (Gouldner 1971). Thus, fundamentally, critical criminologists are critical of state definitions of crime, choosing instead to focus upon notions of social harm or human rights.

Conflict theories

According to criminologists working in the conflict tradition, crime is the result of conflict within societies that is brought about through the inevitable processes of capitalism. Dispute exists between those who espouse a 'pluralist' view of society and those who do not. Pluralists, following from writers like Mills (1956, 1969 for example) are of the belief that power is exercised in societies by groups of interested individuals (businesses, faith groups, government organizations for example)– vying for influence and power to further their own interests. These criminologists like Vold (Vold and Bernard 1979 [1958]) have been called 'conservative conflict theorists' (Williams and McShane 1988). They hold that crime may emerge from economic differences, differences of culture, or from struggles concerning status, ideology, morality, religion, race or ethnicity. These writers are of the belief that such groups, by claiming allegiance to mainstream culture, gain control of key resources permitting them to criminalize those who do not conform to their moral codes and cultural values. (Selin 1938; Vold 1979 [1958]; Quinney 1970 inter alia). These theorists, therefore, see crime as having roots in symbolic or instrumental conflict occurring at multiple sites within a fragmented society.

Others are of the belief that such 'interests', particularly symbolic dimensions such as status are epiphenomenological by-products of more fundamental economic conflict (Taylor, Walton & Young 1973; Quinney 1974, for example). For these theorists, societal conflict from which crime emerges is founded on the fundamental economic inequalities that are inherent in the processes of capitalism (see, for example, Wikipedia article on Rusche and Kirchheimer's Punishment and Social Structure, a book that provides a seminal exposition of Marxian analysis applied to the problem of crime and punishment). Drawing on the work of Marx (1990 [1868]); Engels, (1984 [1845]); and Bonger (1969 [1916]) among others, such critical theorists suggest that the conditions in which crime emerges are caused by the appropriation of the benefits others' labor through the generation of what is known as surplus value, concentrating in the hands of the few owners of the means of production, disproportionate wealth and power.

There are two main strands of critical criminological theory following from Marx, divided by differing conceptions of the role of the state in maintenance of capitalist inequalities. On the one hand instrumental Marxists hold that the state is manipulated by the ruling classes to act in their interests. On the other, structuralist Marxists believe that the state plays a more dominant, semi-autonomous role in subjugating those in the (relatively) powerless classes (Sheley 1985; Lynch & Groves 1986). Instrumental Marxists such as Quinney (1975), Chambliss (1975), or Krisberg (1975) are of the belief that capitalist societies are monolithic edifices of inequality, utterly dominated by powerful economic interests. Power and wealth are divided inequitably between the owners of the means of production and those who have only their labor to sell. The wealthy use the state's coercive powers to criminalize those who threaten to undermine that economic order and their position in it. Structural Marxist theory (Spitzer 1975; Greenberg 1993 [1981]; Chambliss & Seidman 1982) on the other hand holds that capitalist societies exhibit a dual power structure in which the state is more autonomous. Through its mediating effect it ameliorates the worst aspects of capitalist inequalities, however, it works to preserve the overall capitalist system of wealth appropriation, criminalizing those who threaten the operation of the system as a whole. As such this means that the state can criminalize not only those powerless who protest the system's injustices, but also those excessive capitalists whose conduct threatens to expose the veneer of the legitimacy of capitalist endeavor.

Whereas Marxists have conventionally believed in the replacement of capitalism with socialism in a process that will eventually lead to communism, anarchists are of the view that any hierarchical system is inevitably flawed. Such theorists (Pepinsky 1978; Tift & Sulivan 1980; Ferrell 1994 inter alia) espouse an agenda of defiance of existing hierarchies, encouraging the establishment of systems of decentralised, negotiated community justice in which all members of the local community participate. Recent anarchist theorists like Ferrell attempt to locate crime as resistance both to its social construction through symbolic systems of normative censure and to its more structural constructions as threat to the state and to capitalist production.

In a move diametrically opposed to that of anarchist theorists, Left Realists wish to distance themselves from any conception of the criminal as heroic social warrior. Instead they are keen to privilege the experience of the victim and the real effects of criminal behaviour. In texts such as Young 1979 & 1986, Young and Matthews 1991, Lea and Young 1984 or Lowman & MacLean 1992, the victim, the state, the public, and the offender are all considered as a nexus of parameters within which talk about the nature of specific criminal acts may be located. Whilst left realists tend to accept that crime is a socially and historically contingent category that is defined by those with the power to do so, they are at pains to emphasise the real harms that crime does to victims who are frequently no less disadvantaged than the offenders.

All of the above conflict perspectives see individuals as being inequitably constrained by powerful and largely immutable structures, although they to varying degrees accord to humans a degree of agency. Ultimately, however, the relatively powerless are seen as being repressed by societal structures of governance or economics. Even left realists who have been criticised for being 'conservative' (not least by Cohen 1990), see the victim and the offender as being subject to systems of injustice and deprivation from which victimising behaviour emerges.

It is important to keep in mind that conflict theory while derived from Marxism, is distinct from it. Marxism is an ideology, accordingly it is not empirically tested. Conversely, conflict theory is empirically falsifiable and thus, distinct from Marxism (Cao, 2003).

Convict Criminology

Convict Criminology emerged in the United States during the late 1990s (Ross and Richards, 2003). It offers an alternative epistemology on crime, criminality and punishment. Scholarship is conducted by PhD-trained former prisoners, prison workers and others who share a belief that in order to be a fully rounded discipline, mainstream criminology needs to be informed by input from those with personal experience of life in correctional institutions. Contributions from academics who are aware of the day-to-day realities of incarceration, the hidden politics that infuse prison administration, and the details and the nuances of prison language and culture, have the potential significantly to enrich scholarly understanding of the corrections system. In addition, Convict Criminologists have been active in various aspects of correctional reform advocacy, particularly where prisoner education is concerned.

Criticism

Conflict Criminologies have come under sustained attack from several quarters, not least from those – left realists – who claim to be within the ranks. Early criminologies, pejoratively referred to as 'left idealist' by Jock Young 1979, were never really popular in the United States, where critical criminology departments at some universities were closed for political reasons (Rock 1997). These early criminologies were called into question by the introduction of mass self-report victim surveys (Hough & Mayhew 1983) that showed that victimisation was intra-class rather than inter-class. Thus notions that crimes like robbery were somehow primitive forms of wealth redistribution were shown to be false. Further attacks emanated from feminists who maintained that the victimisation of women was no mean business and that left idealists' concentration on the crimes of the working classes that could be seen as politically motivated ignored crimes such as rape, domestic violence, or child abuse (Smart 1977). Furthermore, it was claimed, left idealists neglected the comparative aspect of the study of crime, in that they ignored the significant quantities of crime in socialist societies, and ignored the low crime levels in capitalist societies like Switzerland and Japan (Incardi 1980).

Feminist theories

Feminism in criminology is more than the mere insertion of women into masculine perspectives of crime and criminal justice, for this would suggest that conventional criminology was positively gendered in favour of the masculine. Feminists contend that previous perspectives are un-gendered and as such ignore the gendered experiences of women. Feminist theorists are engaged in a project to bring a gendered dimension to criminological theory. They are also engaged in a project to bring to criminological theory insights to be gained from an understanding of taking a particular standpoint, that is, the use of knowledge gained through methods designed to reveal the experience of the real lives of women.

The primary claim of feminists is that social science in general and criminology in particular represents a male perspective upon the world in that it focuses largely upon the crimes of men against men. Moreover, arguably the most significant criminological fact of all, namely that women commit significantly less crime than men, is hardly engaged with either descriptively or explanatory in the literature. In other words, it is assumed that explanatory models developed to explain male crime are taken to be generalizable to women in the face of the extraordinary evidence to the contrary. The conclusion that must be drawn is that not only can those theories not be generalized to women, but that that failure might suggest they may not explain adequately male crime either (Edwards 1989, Messerschmidt 1993, Caulfield and Wonders 1994)

A second aspect of feminist critique centers upon the notion that even where women have become criminologists, they have adopted 'malestream' modes of research and understanding, that is they have joined and been assimilated into the modes of working of the masculine paradigm, rendering it simultaneously gender blind and biased (Menzies & Chunn 1991). However, as Menzies and Chunn argue, it is not adequate merely to 'insert' women into 'malestream' criminology, it is necessary to develop a criminology from the standpoint of women. At first glance this may appear to be gender biased against the needs and views of men. However, this claim is based on a position developed by Nancy Hartsock known as standpoint feminism.[3] Based on the work of Marx, Hartsock suggests that the view of the world from womanhood is a 'truer' vision than that from the viewpoint of man. According to Marx (Marx 1964, Lucacs 1971) privilege blinds people to the realities of the world meaning that the powerless have a clearer view of the world – the poor see the wealth of the rich and their own poverty, whilst the rich are inured, shielded from, or in denial about the sufferings of the poor. Hartsock (1983 & 1999) argues that women are in precisely the same position as Marx's poor. From their position of powerlessness they are more capable of revealing the truth about the world than any 'malestream' paradigm ever can. Thus there are two key strands in feminist criminological thought; that criminology can be made gender aware and thus gender neutral; or that that criminology must be gender positive and adopt standpoint feminism.

Cutting across these two distinctions, feminists can be placed largely into four main groupings: liberal, radical, Marxist, and socialist (Jaggar 1983). Liberal feminists are concerned with discrimination on the grounds of gender and its prevalence in society and seek to end such discrimination. Such ends are sought through engagement with existing structures such as governments and legal frameworks, rather than by challenging modes of gender construction or hegemonic patriarchy (Hoffman Bustamante 1973, Adler 1975, Simon 1975, Edwards 1990). Thus liberal feminists are more or less content to work within the system to change it from within using its existing structures.

Critical feminists – radical feminists, Marxists, and socialists – are keen to stress the need to dispense with masculine systems and structures. Radical feminists see the roots of female oppression in patriarchy, perceiving its perpetrators as primarily aggressive in both private and public spheres, violently dominating women by control of their sexuality through pornography, rape (Brownmiller 1975), and other forms of sexual violence, thus imposing upon them masculine definitions of womanhood and women's roles, particularly in the family. Marxist feminists, (Rafter & Natalizia 1981, MacKinnon 1982 & 1983) however, hold that such patriarchal structures are emergent from the class producing inequalities inherent in capitalist means of production. The production of surplus value requires that the man who works in the capitalist's factory, pit, or office, requires a secondary, unpaid worker – the woman – to keep him fit for his labours, by providing the benefits of a home – food, keeping house, raising his children, and other comforts of family. Thus, merely in order to be fit to sell his labour, the proletarian man needs to 'keep' a support worker with the already meagre proceeds of his labour. Hence women are left with virtually no economic resources and are thus seen to exist within an economic trap that is an inevitable outcome of capitalist production. Socialist feminists attempt to steer a path between the radical and the Marxist views, identifying capitalist patriarchy as the source of women's oppression (Danner 1991). Such theorists (Eisenstein 1979, Hartmann 1979 & 1981, Messerschmidt 1986, Currie 1989) accept that a patriarchal society constrains women's roles and their view of themselves but that this patriarchy is the result not of male aggression but of the mode of capitalist production. Thus neither capitalist production nor patriarchy is privileged in the production of women's oppression, powerlessness, and economic marginalization. Socialist feminists believe that gender based oppression can only be overcome by creating a non-patriarchal, non-capitalist society, and that attempting merely to modify the status quo from within perpetuates the very system that generates inequalities.

Of significant importance in understanding the positions of most of the feminists above is that gender is taken to be a social construct. That is, the differences between men and women are not by and large biological (essentialism) but are insociated from an early age and are defined by existing patriarchal categories of womanhood. In the face of this pacifying or passive image of women, feminist criminologists wish to generate a discursive and real (extended) space within which expressions of women's own views of their identity and womanhood may emerge.

There are many forms of criticism leveled at feminist criminology, some 'facile' (Gelsthorpe 1997) such as those of Bottomley & Pease (1986), or Walker (1987) who suggest that feminist thinking is irrelevant to criminology. A major strand of criticism is leveled at what it is argued is its ethnocentrism (Rice 1990, Mama 1989, Ahluwalia 1991), that is, that in its silence on the experience of black women it is as biased as male criminology in its ignorance of the experience of women. Criminology, claim these writers, is sexist and racist and that both errors need to be corrected. A significant number of criticisms are leveled at feminist criminology by Pat Carlen in an important paper from 1992 (Carlen 1992). Among Carlen's criticisms is that of an apparent inability of feminist criminology to reconcile theoretical insight with political reality, exhibiting a 'theoreticist, libertarian, separatist and gender-centric tendenc[y]'. She suggests that this libertarianism reflects itself in a belief that crime reduction policies can be achieved without some form of 'social engineering'. Further criticizing feminism's libertarian streak, Carlen suggests that feminists injunction to allow women to speak for themselves reveals a separatist tendency, arguing that what feminists call for is merely good social science and should be extended to let all classes of humans speak for themselves. This separatism, claims Carlen, further manifests itself in a refusal to accept developments in mainstream criminology branding them 'malestream' or in other pejorative terms. Perhaps the most damning criticism of feminism and of certain stripes of radical feminism in particular is that, in some aspects of western societies, it has itself become the dominant interest group with powers to criminalize masculinity (see Nathanson & Young 2001).

Postmodern theories

In criminology, the postmodernist school applies postmodernism to the study of crime and criminals, and understands "criminality" as a product of the power to limit the behaviour of those individuals excluded from power, but who try to overcome social inequality and behave in ways which the power structure prohibits. It focuses on the identity of the human subject, multiculturalism, feminism, and human relationships to deal with the concepts of "difference" and "otherness" without essentialism or reductionism, but its contributions are not always appreciated (Carrington: 1998). Postmodernists shift attention from Marxist concerns of economic and social oppression to linguistic production, arguing that criminal law is a language to create dominance relationships. For example, the language of courts (the so-called "legalese") expresses and institutionalises the domination of the individual, whether accused or accuser, criminal or victim, by social institutions. According to postmodernist criminology, the discourse of criminal law is dominant, exclusive and rejecting, less diverse, and culturally not pluralistic, exaggerating narrowly defined rules for the exclusion of others.

References

  1. ^ Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Critical Criminology. Athabasca University and ICAAP. Retrieved on: 2011=10-30.
  2. ^ Hopkins Burke, R. (2001) An Introduction to Criminological Theory, Cullompton: Willan pg.173
  3. ^ Stanford
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_criminology
04Aug/15
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29Jun/13

Environmental Damage Remains Widespread while Criminology Sleeps

Environment Damage Remains Widespread While Criminology Sleeps

This post addresses the neglect of green crime, victimization and justice within criminology. Other disciplines have long addressed the forms of harm destruction of the environment produces. In general, criminology overlooks these issues. Of importance to that discussion is addressing the ecological destruction capitalism produces, and which it must produce, to fulfill its accumulative goals.

Michael J. Lynch
Department of Criminology
Associate Faculty, The Patel School of Global Sustainability
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Criminologists have failed to adequately address the scope of green crimes and the diverse forms of victimization green crimes present in contemporary society. To be sure, green crimes are not simply a modern problem, and scientists have long commented on the environmental problems that face society. The field of environmental toxicology, which can be traced to the influential work of Rachel Carson in the early 1960s formed the basis for the modern era of concern with ecological damage. Medical studies in occupational and public health which can be traced to the 1830s, and well known studies of the effect of poor environmental conditions on the health of the working class (by Charles Turner Thackrah (1831), Edwin Chadwick (1842), Rudolf Virchow (1848) and even Frederick Engels’s (1845) analysis of the conditions of the English working class; for general discussion see, Herbert K. Abrahams, “A Short History of Occupational Health,” 2001, Journal of Public Health Policy, 22,1) mark the earliest acknowledgements that environmental pollution of workplaces, neighborhoods and homes caused physical damage. Yet, in the interdisciplinary field of criminology, the scholarly work on such issues remains untouched, and the issues of green crime and justice largely ignored.

While the average academic criminologist spends a great deal of time and effort attempting to explain why the marginalized mass of the population is the most prone to commit street crime (as if being marginalized was insufficient for this purpose), and in pursuing those explanations invents dozens of individual level explanations for those crimes that explain very little individual level variation in crime; and while the “more radical” among them seek out the cultural meaning of crime and the subjective, individual aspects of the construction of crime as an expressive act – there are real dangers building themselves to staggering new heights all around us. These are the green or environmental crimes of our times, which worsen daily as they build on their own past, destructive history, accumulating daily, filling graveyards and hospitals and doctors’ offices with its victims and lists of extinct and endangered species with some of its nonhuman species. Yet, these green crimes, which harm the living system of earth, its subsystems, and all of the various species that inhabit the living earth – the green crimes which endlessly victimize the living earth and all its species through the global march of the destructive powers of the capitalist world system of production and consumption — go unnamed by the average criminologist, neglected as if they did not exist at all, and as if they caused no harm and were unworthy subject matter. But it is these latter crimes, the green crimes of capitalist industry and the political economy of capitalism, which hide in the open as the criminologist stares around the world for some subject matter of interest to examine, that the criminologist overlooks, and which the discipline of criminology cannot fathom as an offense, that promote the greatest destructive force of our time.

This is a serious charge against criminology, and some would challenge this assumption, asking for support of these contentions. That evidence, too, lies all around us in various government reports and in the writing of a variety of scientists from numerous disciplines – but rarely criminology. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, estimates that 50,000 deaths are caused each year in the US due to poor air quality alone, and that the cost of addressing illnesses that result from exposure to air pollution costs $150 billion annually. The World Health Organization estimates that 40% of deaths world-wide are pollution related. Extending that estimate to the US, we can estimate that that there were approximately 1,000,000 deaths last year due to pollution – a figure that is more than 65 times the number of homicides that occur in the US. And while the harms from green crimes far outweigh those from street crimes such as homicide, homicide is an outcome that occupies much of the time criminologists spend on the study of crime. Thus, if we limit our analysis to just the human consequences of pollution and take a rational look at the harms around us, criminologists could make a much more important contribution to society by addressing the causes and control of pollution than they can ever make even if they were somehow to discover the causes of homicide and entirely eliminate homicides.

Criminologists have long been trained to ignore the forms of victimization caused by the powerful, which includes among those behaviors the forms of ecological damage generated by capitalist industries. Indeed, criminologists not only ignore the crimes of the powerful, they offer extensive critiques of theoretical positions that draw attention to the sources of the crimes of the powerful. Of particular relevance is the critique of radical or political economic explanations of crime, and rejection of the hypothesis that the organizational structure of capitalism plays a significant role in the development those green crimes. Having rejected that obvious association, one that is found, for example, in portions of the ecological literature, especially in economics, the criminologist cannot imagine for a moment that green crimes are a serious problem, or that the modern organization of the global capitalist world system plays a role in perpetuating green crimes. This thought is beyond the limited scope of the micro-level orientation of the typical criminologist.

Because they have rejected the theoretical relevance of political economic analysis and fail to perceive the role political economy plays in ecological destruction, the criminologist is unable to perceive the (green) crime problems that stare them in the face. The criminologist cannot appreciate the fact that the destructive force of capitalism consumes the world, and in doing so undermines the health of the ecosystem and the ability of the various life forms on earth to survive. In contrast, as radical ecologists point out (e.g., Foster, 2000; Burkett, 2006), capitalism must consume and destroy nature in order to produce commodities and to generate profit, which is, after all, the life force of capitalism (for discussion see, Dunn, 2003). Capitalism must, in order that it may live and expand and transform nature into wealth, devour nature. The criminologist, because they are unaware of this literature, fails to appreciate that capitalism consumes nature to the advantage of the few – the economically privileged — and that the consumption of nature produces unequal advantages and disadvantages for the rich and poor.

The vast majority of criminologists, unaware of this argument, fail to perceive the world as it is, and instead sit idly by in the face of ecological destruction, persistently drawing society’s attention to the impoverished offender who is, like the green crimes that threaten the existence of all the species on earth, created by capitalism’s gigantic machinery of production and consumption. In their neglect of these green crimes and their political economic origins, the average criminologist fails to appreciate what the physical scientists of the world are telling us about the state of the world’s ecological system – that it is in deep trouble (Lovelock, 2007, 2000), ailing, and on its last legs as the industrial sectors sucks the life out of the earth to manufacture goods to meet the demands for goods capitalism itself stimulates (Kovel, 2007). The average criminologist takes no notice of these things going on all around them, and cannot comprehend that there is an essential contradiction between nature in its healthy state and the expansion of capitalism, for capitalism must, by its very design, destroy nature to enlarge itself, to gorge itself on nature’s resources.

If there is any doubt that this is the case – that the modern capitalist world system creates excessive consumption — one can refer to scientific measures of this relationship between capitalism and nature. These measures include, for example, the ecological footprint of nations (see the website of the Global Footprint Network, www.footprintnetwork.org). Today, the world ecological footprint is 1.5, meaning that in a year, humans consume the volume of ecological resources nature produces through the labor it applies in 1.5 years. Anyone who understands the very basic principles of mathematics understand that this means that humans are consuming their way to extinction. Assuming that the ecological footprint effect is a simple cumulative function and that there is no feedback between excessive consumptions effects in one year on the ability of nature to reproduce itself at other points in time, and if the ecological footprint were to remain the same – and it is growing, not shrinking – then in a decade, humans will consume 15 or more years of nature’s labor; in a half century, three-quarters of a century of nature’s work, and so forth. That this measure, however, underestimates the effect on certain segments of nature should also be established. For example, nature cannot growth back a forest quickly, and it may take a century for a mature forest to begin to re-establish itself once destroyed (e.g., estimates vary by type of forest, ecosystem composition, and presence of human activities; see, Mueller et al., 2010, who estimate recovery periods of 80-260s years; others find full recovery effects of between 700 [White and Oates, 1999] to 300 years [Knight, 1975]. Riswan, Kentworthy and Kartawinata [1985] estimated recovery between 150-500 years).
We must also keep in mind that footprint effects are not evenly distributed. Moreover, we must keep in mind that the world-wide level of consumption is driven by the more advanced capitalist nations. In the US, for example, the ecological biocapacity is 4 hectares (9.9 acres) per person, meaning that there are 4 hectares of land available for consumption purposes per person. US consumption, however, is 7 hectares (17.3 acres) per person, meaning that the average American consumes 3 hectares (7.4 acres) of resources beyond the per-person ecological resources available in the US. Those resources are provided by other nations and that unequal exchange between US consumers and nature in foreign lands is facilitated by the capitalist world system. That is to say, overconsumption in one part of the capitalist world system (in one nation) is paid for by transferring ecological needs and withdrawals to nations that consume less, shifting consumption effects across nations (Stretesky and Lynch, 2009).

We can see this tendency toward ecological destruction and overconsumption in other measures as well. Global footprints indicate how much we consume, but not how much we destroy the environment by adding waste products (i.e., pollution) to nature. One indicator of these waste products is our carbon footprint or the quantity of carbon waste humans add to the environment. This waste is an indicator of the consumption of fossil fuel and chemical energy humans use, and can also be employed to understand related problems such as the production of entropy caused by humans (e.g., www.globalcarbonproject.org; http://co2now.org/Current-CO2/CO2-Now/global-carbon-emissions.html; www.epa.gov/climatechange/ ghgemissions/global.html). These data, like footprint data, indicate that we are consuming our way to extinction and taking the living earth along with us.

Despite the pretense that world governments are addressing this issue, environmentally, things are getting worse, not better. Even while nations endeavor to reduce their carbon footprints, the world level of carbon dioxide grows, and now is just short of the 400 ppm atmospheric carbon dioxide level (399.89). Many scientists suggest that the 400 ppm carbon dioxide level marks a tipping point in climate change, and that the negative impacts of the greenhouse effect will accelerate.
Pollution problems grow everywhere. Recent estimates suggest that pollution in China has grown so severe that it causes 1.2 million premature deaths annually (a figure well in excess – 89 times — of the number of homicide in China, which stand at about 13,400 annually). While those pollution related deaths are a small percentage of the Chinese population, the number of pollution related deaths are likely underestimated for a variety of reasons, such as classification of a death as pollution related. In addition, the effects of recent increases in pollution levels in China will not have an impact for up to another twenty years (representing an estimate of the time it may take for pollution exposure to cause death through disease processes), making the recovery from pollution a long term process in China, and indicating that the long term impact of the growth of pollution in China will be felt for decades. Other areas of the world where pollution is extensive, including several other Asian nations as well as the US, indicates that political leaders have not adequately dealt with the problem of pollution. Singapore, for instance, is currently wrapped in a thick smog blanket that is projected to last several weeks, where air pollution levels have reached a 16 year high. Some of that pollution is due to historically high levels of forest bur ns. To illustrate the extent of the problem, the air pollution index for Singapore reached 371 in June, 2013, whereas the previous high, 226, was set in 1997. In short, these observations indicate that the ecological and health consequences f ecological destruction are becoming more severe as humans continuously devour nature and change the very essence of the ecosystem that keeps them alive.

In the US, facilities that report to the US EPA estimated producing nearly 22.8 billion pounds of hazardous waste in 2011. While industries report releasing “only” 18% (4.1 billion pounds) of that waste directly into the environment and transferring the rest to hazardous waste handlers for disposal, research indicates that those reports likely under-estimate the volume of emissions by as much as 40% (de Marchi and Hamilton, 2006). Ignoring the possibility of under-reporting, we can estimate from those reports that US industries produced more than 220 billion pounds of waste in the past decade, and emitted more than 40 billion pounds of hazardous waste directly into the environment. Those hazardous emissions are accumulating to dangerous levels, increasing the probability that ecological damage of this type accelerates the likelihood of pollution related deaths and illnesses. Those emission estimates do not include emissions from “accidental chemical releases” or ACRs. In 2011, there were more than 30,000 reported ACRs in the US that released an uncounted volume of waste. Those incidents resulted in 1,270 deaths, and cost more than $15.8 million in damages by themselves.

In some places, new forms of environmental harms are emerging. In California, the “medical marijuana” industry has recently been discovered to be generating extensive ecological damage cause by marijuana farming. In addition to transforming forests into medical marijuana farms, marijuana growers are using rodenticides to protect their crops from wood rats. In recent months, the deaths of seven Pacific Fishers, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act, have been linked to the use of those poisons. Only two populations of Pacific Fishers are believed to exist in the state of California — a state where the Pacific Fisher once was widespread. Marijuana farms in California have been established on hilltops, using methods similar to mountaintop removal mining. The hilltops are bulldozed clear of forest, shrubs and rock, creating impediments to streams, and impacting waterways used by salmon (Coho, Chinook and Steelhead) when the overburden is pushed down the hillsides. The bulldozed earth has also created erosion and landslide problems. Water dams and other water diversion methods used to irrigate the marihuana farms are also contributing to serious environmental problems. In other parts of California, the use of pesticides and new farming methods have caused a dramatic decline in what used to be one of the state’s most numerous bird species – the tri-colored black-bird. Data from the Audubon Society’s annual bird count in California indicates a 35% decline in tri-colored black-birds since 2008. The environmental problems for California don’t stop here, as recent studies suggest that California is losing its Central Valley underground aquifer, which feeds significant agricultural production. Shrinking underground aquifers, however, have become a common problem across the US.

Recent studies on the prevalence of autism among US children found that autism rates are higher in heavily polluted areas, providing an indication of a suspected link between autism and certain environmental pollutants (e.g., http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/ newsarticle.aspx?articleid=1558422) . Across the world, studies indicate that the intensified use of pesticides is increasing the loss of species biodiversity, especially in Australia and in European nations (Beketov et al., 2013). In Turkey, an economic boom is leading to a loss of marine species diversity. Also in Australia, lead emissions from the mining industry are causing an increase in lead poisoning cases among children (McKay et al., 2013). In Virginia, the Hellbender Salamander is dying off, apparently from exposure to pollution. In Florida’s Indian River, 111 manatees, 46 dolphins and more than 300 pelicans have shown up dead in recent months, the possible victims of pollution exposure.

These are serious environmental problems, problems criminology seems largely incapable of recognizing as green crimes, forms of green victimization and as issues relevant to discussions of green injustice. The structure of criminology as a discipline has made it an antiquated discipline incapable of conceptualizing green crime and victimizations as serious issues, or to perceive the need for green theories of justice in the contemporary era. Criminology, which remains anchored to its ancient past, now stands as a discipline that has perverted the concept of crime and disfigured the meaning of justice. Within criminology, concepts such as “crime” and “justice” have relevance only within the limited space law provides for such idea. Criminology’s adoption of the legal definition of crime and justice has, for example, made these concepts into reflections of legalized jargon absent of any definitional clarity outside of the scope of law and its ability to institutionalize definitions of crime that it can precisely codify – that is, theoretically. The law does not speak to the general concept of crime, nor does it appreciate nor understand the concept of green crime and justice, or that as an institution, that law itself is merely a mechanism for reinforcing preexisting and unequal economic arrangements and the destructive tendencies of economic forms from which green crimes emerge.

In the era of ecological demise in which we are now embedded there is a need to reconstruct criminology so that it becomes relevant to addressing green crime and justice and the forms of ecological destruction the world capitalist system imposes. A criminology capable of less than this has become irrelevant to the widespread forms of green victimization and injustice that plagues the living system of earth (Gaia, as scientists call it) and the living species that depend on Gaia’s ability to reproduce the conditions for life for itself and other living species.

References

Beketov, Mikhail A., Ben J. Kefford, Ralf B. Schäfer, and Matthias Liess. (2013). “Pesticides reduce regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences June 17.

Burkett, Paul. (2006). Marxism and Ecological Economics: Toward a Red and Green Political Economy. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

Chadwick, Edwin. (1842). Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population of Great Britain. London: W. Clowes & Sons.

De Marchi, S. and Hamilton, J. (2006), ‘Assessing the Accuracy of Self-reported Data: An Evaluation of the Toxics Release Inventory’, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 32(1): 57–76.

Dunning, John H. (2003 ). The Moral Imperative of Global Capitalism: An Overview. Pp. 11-40 in J. H. Dunning (ed), Making Globalization Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Engels, Fredrick. (1845[1973]). The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1844. Moscow:Progress Publishers.

Foster, John Bellamy. (2000). Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature. NY: New York University Press.

Kovel, J. (2007), The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? New York: Zed Books.

Knight, D.H. (1975). A phytosociological analysis of species-rich tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Ecological Monographs 45: 259–284.

Lovelock, J. (2007), The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis & the Fate of Humanity. New York: Basic Books.

Lovelock, J. (2000), Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. New York: Oxford Paperbacks.

Mackay, A. K., M. P. Taylor, N. C. Munksgaard, Karen A. Hudson-Edwards, and L. Burn-Nunes. (2013). “Identification of environmental lead sources and pathways in a mining and smelting town: Mount Isa, Australia.” Environmental Pollution http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2013.05.007

Mueller, Andreas D., Gerald A. Islebe, Flavio S. Anselmetti, Daniel Ariztegui, Mark Brenner, David A.Hodell, Irka Hajdas, Yvonne
Hamann, Gerald H. Haug, and Douglas J. Kennett. (2010). “Recovery of the forest ecosystem in the tropical lowlands of northern Guatemala after disintegration of Classic Maya polities.” Geology 38, 6: 523-526.

Riswan, S., J.B. Kentworthy and K. Kartawinata. (1985) The estimation of temporal processes in tropical rain forest: A study of primary mixed dipterocarp forest in Indonesia. Journal of Tropical Ecology1: 171–182.

Thackrah, Charles Turner. (1831). The Effects of the Principle Arts, Trades and Professions, and the Civic States and Habits of Living on Health and Longevity. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green.

White, L.J.T. and J.F. Oates. (1999). New data on the history of the plateau forest of Okomu, southern Nigeria: An insight into how human disturbance has shaped the African rain forest. Global Ecology and Biogeography 8: 355–361.

24Jan/12

Herman and Julia Schwendinger Publish New Book — BIG BROTHER IS LOOKING AT YOU, KID! IS HOMELAND FASCISM POSSIBLE.

Herman and Julia Schwendinger have published a new book, BIG BROTHER IS LOOKING AT YOU, KID! IS HOMELAND FASCISM POSSIBLE which thay are making available free of charge.

The book is a political treatise but it may be interesting academically
because of its analytic constructs. It employs their “Janus model” of
governance and a category entitled “customary repression,” referring to the
normalized century-old repression of left-wing ideas and policies. It
chronicles the qualitative changes in customary repression from the 1970s
and employs “parallels” (with the rise of fascism in Germany, Italy, Chile,
etc.) to realistically evaluate neofascist developments in the USA. It
points out that “bullshit” is the modus operandi of archconservatives
reviving McCarthyism in American universities. It describes, among other
things, the astonishing expansion of surveillance technology, the “Miami
model” of police brutality, the rise of Occupy Wall Street, and Obama’s
complicity in war crimes.

Big Bro can be downloaded (at no cost) from:
http://homelandfascism101.com/FreeEbook.htm

19May/11

New Incinerator Rule Implementation Postponed By EPA: Obama’s New Conservative Environmental Approach.

New Incinerator Rule Implementation Postponed By EPA: Obama’s New Conservative Environmental Approach

Michael J. Lynch
Department of Criminolgoy and
School of Global Sustainability
University of South Florida

The G.W. Bush Administration is widely regarded as having established the worst environmental record of any Administration since the founding of the EPA during Nixon’s presidency. The election of Obama brought great hopes for a redirection in environmental policies in the US. In some ways, the Obama Administration has delivered on those hopes revising, for example, the outdated and fairly stagnant fuel economy standards.

Since the midterm election cycle in which Republicans gained a large number of seats in the US House of Representatives, however, environmental guidance from the White House has weakened. On May 16th, for example, the EPA postponed instituting a rule that would have strengthened air pollution standards incineration at major industrial facilities. This postponement follows a series of deferred rulings involving coal ash management, mountain top removal mining and a proposed reconsideration of stricter regulations imposed on cement manufacturing facilities. In addition, just last week, the Obama Administration announced plans to expand oil exploration and natural gas drilling on previously excluded lands.

Background

Action on industrial on site incineration regulations had been delayed throughout the Bush Administration. On February 21, 2011, the EPA issued its final ruling on this issue. That ruling was induced by court review by the District Court of Washington D.C.. The February ruling sought to reduce emissions of air pollutants at on-site incinerators referred to as existing and new Boilers, Commercial and Industrial Solid Waste Incinerators (CISWI), and Sewage Sludge Incinerators (SSI). These provisions relate to sections 112 and 129 of the Clean Air Act.

As the EPA notice of final ruling notes (EPA FINAL RULING) the final rule is designed to reduce harmful air pollution emissions by industrial facilities including fine particle, ozone, mercury, hazardous air pollutants (HAPS), and dioxin. The EPA estimates that the health benefits to the American public amount to between $22-$54 billion annual (beginning in 2014).

The final rules apply to a variety of incinerators. As noted in the final rule statement by EPA, the rules affect 13,800 boilers at large facilities, 187,000 small source boilers, 88 commercial and municipal incinerators, and 200 sludge incinerators. In total, the rule is estimated to affect 201,088 incinerators.

In describing the benefits of the rule, the EPA noted that decreasing pollution from these sources will: (1) directly benefits communities near these facilities; (2) reduce the occurrence of health effects associated with these pollutants including heart disease, developmental disabilities, cancer and premature death; (3) specifically, the rule is estimate to prevent 2,600 premature deaths annually, 4,100 heart attacks, and 42,000 asthma attacks annually; and (4) produce $10-$24 in health benefits for every dollar spent on meeting the standard.

As evident in the rule making notice, the health care outcomes associated with reducing these forms of pollution are significant. In financial terms alone, the savings are significant. The EPA estimates that meeting the rule will require an investment of $1.9 billion. Spread out across the more than 200,000 affected facilities, the cost average appears insignificant — $10,000 per facility. To be sure, there are variations in costs across small and large polluters, but the per facility cost is hardly large.

As noted, EPA estimates that health costs savings are between $10-$24 dollars for each dollar spent on achieving compliance with the rule. The EPA states that annual savings from compliance are between $22-54 billion. Since achieving compliance costs are minimal and health care costs are long term, the economic benefit of this rule making change is highly understated.

Empirical Evidence: The Effect of Environmental Rules on the Economy and Jobs

The Obama Administration’s new environmental policies seem to be driven by criticisms from conservatives and business leaders that enhanced environmental regulations will slow business growth and lead to further job loses. Given the shape of the economy, the Administration has chosen to sacrifice improving the health of Americans through enhanced environmental regulation to political rhetoric on the effects of environmental regulations on job markets and the economy.

Empirical studies of the effect of environmental regulations have not focused much attention on job market conditions, but rather have examined the broader claim that environmental regulations impact the location and expansion of industry. In a 1996 study in the Journal of Public Economics, (“Environmental Regulations and Manufacturers’ Location Choices”), Arik Levinson found that variation in environmental regulations did not affect industrial location. In an article in the Journal of Regional Sciences (“Effects of Environmental Regulations on State-Level Manufacturing Capital Formation,” 2006), the authors found that environmental regulations had small effects on net capital formation, and that these results varied by region and state. These results are confirmed by an earlier (1988) study by Bartik in Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Planning. Specifically, Bartik examined the effect of state environmental regulations on the location of Fortune 500 corporations, and found no relationship.

In an article directly addressing the employment-environmental regulation effect debate, Berman and Bui’s 2001 analysis of air pollution regulation on employment in the Los Angeles area (Journal of Public Economics) found only small effects for air pollution regulations on employment. Moreover, these effects were found to be related to the capital intensive nature of affected industries where employment has already been reduced through mechanization. In addition, the authors discovered that the affects of new air pollution regulations had a large impact on air pollution and air quality. One can conclude from this study that these two effects – the large effect on air quality and the small effect on employment — need to be considered side by side and weight appropriately against one another since a larger portion of the population is impacted and protected by increased pollution regulations than is negatively affected.

In a more recent study, the first to examine the environmental regulation-employment effect outside the US, Cole and Elliot found no effect of environmental regulations on employment in the UK (“Do Environmental Regulations Cost Jobs? An Industry Level Analysis of the UK,” 2007, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy). This study’s findings, while not from the US, indicate that protecting the environment and employment are not necessarily competing interests.

While the analysis referred to above report non-significant or small effects, there are studies, largely from privately funded research groups but which also include some academic work, which find that enhanced environmental regulations do impact job loss. As more recent research suggests, however, the results of many of those studies are limited by their use of cross-sectional rather than panel data. Panel data, by their very nature, control for some of the effects that occur over time, though their ability to do so may also depend on the length of the series.

One of the issues that has not been addressed in prior studies is cotemporaneous employment gains in industries that provide equipment and technology related to pollution control. For example, it is likely that the small losses in employment attributed to environmental regulation in some studies may be entirely offset by employment gains in pollution control industries that provide technology required by extended, enhanced or new environmental regulations. This issue has not been directly addressed in empirical studies on pollution regulation in the US, though this argument is recognized in more general terms in the environmental literature.

One study in Europe published as a working paper by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW Discussion Paper No. 01-08; “The Employment Impact of Cleaner Production on the Firm Level Empirical Evidence from a Survey in Five European Countries,” 2001, by Rennings and Zwick) examined the issue of job lose and creation related to environmental regulations. The data employed in that study were collected from 1500 European firms. The researchers found that environmental regulations that produce service innovations in response to environmental regulations create jobs in small firms. In contrast they found that regulations requiring technological innovation had no net effect on employment. The researchers also noted that cleaner technology regulation enhanced employment compared to end-of-pipe regulations.

Ironically, the researchers also discovered that firms that experienced cost reductions as a result of adapting to new environmental regulation by employing environmental innovation saw a decline in employment. One can concluded form these results that environmental regulations may reduce employment due to the positive effects of environmental regulations for firms. In other words, while job loses may occur, they result from labor saving environmentally related innovations that saved firms money and consequently increase profitability.

Conclusion: Obama, Public Health, Environmental Protection and Jobs

In contrast to the position of industry on the association between expenditures on meeting environmental rules that protect public health and jobs, and considering the large health impact of CISWI and SSI rules on public health and their economic benefits, an alternative interpretation can be offered. First, dead people don’t need jobs. In their efforts to undermine rule making that preserves public health, those who have an economic interest in weakening these standards are valuing a small investment over the lives of the American public – and noted in the EPA report, 4,200 lives each and every year these rules are not met. Moreover, given that the new rules are not as stringent as they might be to protect public health, the estimate of 4,200 saved lives could be higher if the proposed rules were stronger and protected the public better.

Second, the interests that favor undermining the proposed rule clearly over-estimate the effect of pollution laws that protect public health on the economy and on job loss. If, as estimated here, the average investment across the more than 200,000 facilities affected by this rule is a mere $10,000, this should not lead to significant job loses. Moreover, those loses would need to be balanced against the 4,200 lives saved annually and the economic health related benefits to the average American which are 10-24 times higher than the investment cost and last, in effect, forever as opposed to the one time expenditures required by facilities to meet these new standards.

The economic problems in the US economy have been a long time in the making and are not the result of environmental regulations that protect the general public. Moreover, what is not considered by opponents of these rules are the costs savings for them in terms of declining health care premiums that would result from cleaning up the environment.

There is little reason to oppose environmental safety rules except as these are related to business profit. It is a crass society and a crass presidential administration that prefers profits to people’s lives and the health of the American public.

15Oct/10

Criminal Justice Education Moves Online

Is that an Elephant in the Living Room?

Kenneth W. Mentor
University of North Carolina Wilmington

The popularity of criminal justice as a major, combined with the potential to reach justice professionals with distance technology, has resulted in the creation of many online degree programs. However, scholarly organizations in criminal justice barely acknowledge online learning. ACJS Certification Standards do not allow certification for most non-traditional programs. The failure to respond to rapid changes may be preventing our discipline from achieving goals related to criminal justice education.

The popularity of criminal justice education, combined with the potential for reaching many justice professional with distance technology, makes criminal justice an attractive candidate for online course and degree delivery. In fact, the discipline of criminal justice has been seen as fertile ground for new students and growth in certain segments of the market for criminal justice education has been very impressive.

Allen and Seaman (2008) report that over 3.9 million higher education students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2007 term, a 12.9% increase over the previous year. In contrast, there was just a 1.2% growth of the overall higher education student population. Over 20% of all U.S. higher education students were taking at least one online course in the fall of 2007, accounting for nearly 22% of total enrollment (Allen and Seaman, 2008). While the rate of growth varies from year-to-year, there is no indication that growth rates are leveling. Economic conditions, coupled with a growing emphasis on sustainability, are likely to accelerate the expansion of online learning, even if traditional enrollments decline.

While non-profit institutions are discovering this market, they are relatively late to the game. For-profit institutions currently comprise a significant percentage of the online learning market and are expected to continue to capture a large share of the market. The growth of some of these proprietary institutions has been remarkable. For example, Kaplan University has grown from 34 online students in 2001 to more than 48,000 online and on-ground students in 2008 (Kaplan, 2009). Kaplan first began offering criminal justice degrees in 2003. Since then, enrollment in the School of Criminal Justice has grown to over 7,000 students and more than 14 criminal justice degree or certificate programs (DiMarino, 2008).

Although we will see an increased emphasis on traditional students as the learning benefits of online learning are more widely acknowledged, those currently interested in online education are attracted by convenience, availability, and scheduling flexibility. This is especially true for criminal justice professionals closely connected to the communities in which they work. Online learning allows these professionals to return to college, or complete non-degree training experiences, without leaving their jobs and communities.

Given this rapid growth, accompanied by many online options in our discipline, it would seem logical to find criminal justice and criminology educators at the forefront of the distance learning movement. However, scholarly organizations in criminal justice and criminology barely acknowledge the rapid advancement of online learning. The ACJS Certification Standards for Academic Programs focus on campus-based programs and do not appear to acknowledge the possibility of certification for non-traditional programs that are not connected to, and administered by, faculty teaching in a traditional campus-based program (ACJS, 2005). While the “Teaching Tips” column in The Criminologist has been an exception, with several articles of interest to online educators, the ASC has been similarly silent on the issue of online education.

Rapid change in online learning has increased the importance of effective accreditation review, in many cases leading committed faculty to treat accreditation as an important opportunity rather than a necessary evil. Educators are becoming increasingly familiar with the expectations of regional accrediting bodies, acknowledging that accreditation standards represent important measures that can inform our efforts to focus on the development of effective learning outcomes.

As we begin to rely more heavily on distance learning models we can expect an increased emphasis on accreditation. Entirely new institutions are being formed to provide educational opportunities. Rather than force a hierarchy that places “traditional” models in a superior position, it is important to acknowledge the potential benefits of these rapid changes. Many discussions of online education rely on broad generalizations about quality, student motivations, and the entrepreneurial focus now being seen in higher education. We also see inaccurate assumptions regarding the quality of traditional models. Many changes will be necessary as we continue our efforts to build high quality learning environments.

Dedicated educators can certainly work to assure quality online educational experiences without the support of discipline-specific scholarly organizations. We can start by questioning the effectiveness of online learning environments. Quality varies widely, creating a void that could be filled with discipline specific guidelines. Educators may also want to examine the process through which courses and programs are created. For example, are criminal justice faculty involved with developing online courses, or has the process been turned over to course developers with very little discipline-specific knowledge?

Another issue is whether faculty members with terminal degrees are teaching courses and exercising responsibility for overall program quality. We also see an emphasis on very different instructor qualifications as proprietary institutions give hiring preference to instructors with “real world” experience. Arguably, the courses we teach, and students we serve, are changing as a result of events that many in our disciplines have yet to acknowledge.

We are also experiencing a variety of new learning models, including accelerated options, certificates, and other innovations. New subsections of our discipline are being created as online criminal justice degree programs, presently dominated by proprietary institutions, respond quickly to market demands. Entrepreneurial institutions have responded to these demands by developing courses, degrees, concentrations, and certificates in areas such as forensics, cyber-crime, homeland security, business continuity, and emergency management. In short, the teaching of criminology and criminal justice are changing as a result of marketing decisions.

How can online learning be better? We are just beginning to explore this terrain. While many changes will be needed, often relying on new learning tools, there is no doubt that learning is being permanently transformed. If we are truly experiencing a paradigm shift, this shift is constrained by our reluctance to acknowledge this change. The higher education paradigm, honed and perfected over time, has served us well. Unfortunately, this model may now be preventing us from moving toward higher quality learning environments.

The world of higher education is clearly changing. New technology has created many new learning opportunities and we are just beginning to experience the benefits. This is occurring during a time in which we are also seeing new demands from students. While we can question the absence of the scholarly organization to which many of us belong, these changes have lead to many new opportunities for educators.

References

DiMarino, F. (2008). Viewpoint interview with Frank DiMarino, The Washington Post. Available at: http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/zforum/05/kaplan_viewpoint2.htm

Kaplan (2009). Kaplan Higher Education Fact Sheet. Kaplan University. Available at: http://talent.kaplan.edu/Assets/PDF/kaplanhistory.pdf

 

 

 

 

15Apr/10

The November Coalition

The November Coalition

Kenneth Mentor
University of North Carolina Wilmington

In 1970, 16.3% of the Federal Prison population was serving time because of drug offenses. This represented a total of 3,384 individuals. By 2000, Prisoners sentenced for drug offenses represented a total of 57%. On September 30, 2000, the date of the latest available data in the Federal Justice Statistics Program, Federal prisons held 73,389 sentenced drug offenders. State prisons also hold a large number of drug offenders. In 2000, drug law violators comprised 21% of all adults serving time in State prisons. This represents 251,100 out of 1,206,400 State prison inmates. In 2001, 1 in every 146 U.S. residents was incarcerated in State or Federal prison or a local jail. As a result, the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. As we know, the corrections population is not limited to those in prison. There were 5.9 million adults in the ‘correctional population’ by the end of 1998. This means that 2.9% of the U.S. adult population — 1 in every 34 — was incarcerated, on probation or on parole. The vast majority of those incarcerated for nonviolent offenses is behind bars, or otherwise involved with the corrections system, for a drug related offense.

If incarceration rates do not change, 1 of every 20 Americans (5%) can be expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime. For African-American men, the number is greater than 1 in 4 (28.5%). The primary reason for the remarkable increase in the incarceration rate is the adoption of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. Since the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing the Federal Bureau of Prisons budget has increased by 1,954%. Its budget has jumped from $220 million in 1986 to $4.3 billion in 2001. The November Coalition formed in response to the massive incarceration of offenders. In addition to the systemic problem of over-incarceration the November Coalition also points out the disproportionately devastating impact of mandatory sentencing on individuals and families.

According to their web site, the November Coalition includes “a growing body of citizens whose lives have been gravely affected by our government’s present drug policy. We are prisoners, parents of those incarcerated, wives, sisters, brothers, children, aunts, uncles and cousins. Some of us are loving friends and concerned citizens, each of us alarmed that drug war casualties are rising in absolutely horrific proportions.” The November Coalition is a non-profit, grassroots organization with the goal of “educating the public about the destructive increase in prison population in the United States due to our current drug laws. We alert our fellow citizens, particularly those who are complacent or naive, about the present and impending dangers of an overly powerful federal authority acting far beyond its constitutional constraints. The drug war is an assault and steady erosion of our civil rights and freedoms by federal and state governments.”

Formed in 1997 by survivors and victims of the drug war, the November Coalition uses real life examples to illustrate how a drug arrest can become a “frightening introduction to conspiracy statutes, government’s liberal use of informants, guideline-sentencing laws, and the nightmare usually leaves defendant and family confused and full of despair.” Long-term imprisonment has dramatic effects on personality and personal relationships. Prisoners suffer from severe restrictions on their human and constitutional rights, and all of these difficulties exact a toll on both the prisoner and those who love them.

Stories told by the Coalition provide support for the belief that tax dollars are endlessly poured into an ever expanding prison industrial complex that exists, in part to incarcerate the poor. The Coaltion argues that the discriminatory impact of drug policies should have been predicated, and if not, the discriminatory impacts are certainly clear to today’s policymakers. In effect, the policies create a situation in which the most vulnerable are least able to defend against injustice. In effect, our policies do not represent a realistic a war on drugs. They represent a war on people. The Coalition points out the similarities between alcohol prohibition of the 1920’s and drug prohibition today. Drug users have been dehumanized through demonizing propaganda, in particular “the crack epidemic,” that dominated national media during the late 1980’s.

The November Coalition seeks to rehumanize the victims of the drug war by telling their stories. By reading these stories it is clear that many drug war victims are regular people, good citizens and neighbors, whose lives have been derailed by a misguided war on drugs. The Coalition publishes “The Razor Wire” to report on drug policy reform efforts, legislative updates, and news about drug law vigils and meetings. This publication also includes letters from prisoners and others who have been victimized by the war on drugs. The organization also uses its extensive website, including “The Wall,” an online collection of prisoner photos and stories, to document the impact of the war on drugs.

The November Coalition provides an example of the internet’s potential for grassroots challenges to policy. The organization was started by a handful of people with a strong desire to educate people about a policy that they believed was having a devastating impact on individuals and society. As the November Coalition has demonstrated, the internet can be an extremely effective tool for information sharing. The organization has also demonstrated the internet’s potential as a tool for organizing those who share an opposition to a policy that has shaped our justice system, filled our prisons, and shaped the societies of America and many other countries.

References and Suggested Reading

Bonczar, T. and Glaze, L. (1999). “Probation and Parole in the United States.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington DC: US Department of Justice.

Harrison, Paige M. and Beck, A.J. (2002). “Prisoners in 2001,” Bureau of Justice Statistics. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice.

Irwin, J., Schiraldi, V. and Ziedenberg, J. (1999). America’s One Million Nonviolent Prisoners. Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute.

Websites

November Coalition – http://www.november.org

Common Sense for Drug Policy – http://www.csdp.org/

Criminal Justice Policy Foundation – http://www.cjpf.org/

Drug Policy Alliance – http://www.drugpolicy.org/

Media Awareness Project – http://www.mapinc.org/

National Drug Strategy Network – http://www.ndsn.org/

Students for Sensible Drug Policy – http://www.ssdp.org/

15Apr/10

Literacy in Corrections

Literacy in Corrections

Kenneth Mentor and Molly Wilkinson

Millions of individuals are housed in correctional facilities. Literacy skills are important to these individuals and can aid in the successful functioning of the institutions. Many prison jobs require literacy skills and inmates are often required to fill out forms to make requests. Reading and writing provide productive options for passing time while in prison. Letters to family and friends are a vital link to the outside world. Literacy skills are also important for those who will leave prison and attempt to reintegrate into the community. Jobs, continued education, and many social opportunities depend on the ability to read and write – regardless of whether an individual is in prison.

Research consistently demonstrates that quality education is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention. Educational skills help deter people from committing criminal acts. As a result, educational programs decrease the likelihood that people will return to crime, and prison. In the United States, a “get tough on crime” mentality has resulted in a push to incarcerate, punish, and limit the activities of prisoners. Over the last 10 years political pressure has led to the elimination of funding for many corrections education programs. Many programs that have been demonstrated as extraordinarily effective have been completely eliminated.

Literacy programs continue in many correctional facilities in spite of program cuts. These programs meet with little political resistance, in part because they can be run at a relatively low cost. In addition, state and federal guidelines that encourage the development of literacy skills typically apply to all citizens, including prisoners. Prison literacy programs also benefit from volunteer efforts of organizations and individuals.

Need for Literacy Programs

The total number of prisoners in federal or state facilities was almost 1.4 million in 2000. Nearly 600,000 inmates were released in 2000, either unconditionally or under conditions of parole. Many of those released will be rearrested and will return to incarceration. Costs of this cycle of incarceration and reincarceration are very high. Corrections education has the potential to greatly reduce these costs. One study indicates that those who benefited from correctional education recidivated 29% less often that those who did not have educational opportunities while in the correctional institution (Steurer, Smith, and Tracy, 2001). When we consider the high cost of imprisonment, the increasing prison population, and the increasing number of individuals released from prison at the end of their sentences, literacy programs provide a cost effective opportunity to reduce crime and the costs of crime.

Illiteracy is perhaps the greatest common denominator in correctional facilities. Data collected from the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) show that literacy levels among inmates is considerably lower than for the general population. For example, of the 5 levels measured by the NALS, 70% of inmates scored at the lowest two levels of literacy (below 4th grade). Other research suggests that 75% of inmates are illiterate (at the 12th grade level) and 19% are completely illiterate. Forty percent are functionally illiterate. In real world terms, this means that the individual would be unable to write a letter explaining a billing error. In comparison, the national illiteracy rate for adult Americans stands at 4%, with 21% functionally illiterate.

A related concern is that prisoners have a higher proportion of learning disabilities than the general population. Estimates of learning disability are as high as 75-90% for juvenile offenders. Low literacy levels and high rates of learning disabilities have contributed to high dropout rates. Nationwide, over 70% of all people entering state correctional facilities have not completed high school, with 46% having had some high school education and 16.4% having had no high school education at all. Since there is a strong link between low levels of education and high rates of criminal activity, it is logical to assume that high dropout rates will lead to higher crime rates.

Prison Literacy Programs

The correctional facility provides a controlled education setting for prisoners, many of whom are motivated students. However, the prison literacy educator faces many challenges. Students in these programs evidence a wide range of potential and have had varying educational experiences. The educator’s challenge is compounded by the uniqueness of prison culture and the need for security. Prisons adhere to strict routines, which may not be ideal in an educational setting. Inmates are often moved from one facility to another. This movement interrupts, or ends, the individual’s educational programming. These structural issues are accompanied by social factors that can further limit learning opportunities. Peer pressure may discourage attendance or achievement. Prison administrators have varying degrees of support for education – especially if they see education as a threat to the primary functions of security and control.

In spite of the challenges, examples in the literature demonstrate that programs based on current thinking about literacy and sound adult education practices can be effective in prison settings. Successful prison literacy programs are learner centered, recognizing different learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and multiple literacies (Newman et al. 1993). Successful programs typically use learner strengths to help them shape their own learning. Historically, literacy education has been offered to the general population by two volunteer agencies: Literacy Volunteers of America (LVA) and Laubach Literacy International. Both have a presence in correctional facilities through trained volunteers and staff. However, because educational programming depends on the philosophy and policies of the correctional facility, there is little data to suggest uniformity in delivery of literacy services to inmates.

Testing and curricula are two common elements in many prison literacy programs. Several standardized reading tests are available to literacy instructors. Besides the Test of Adults in Basic Education (TABE), two other tests are commonly used. One, the Grey Oral Reading Test, measures the fluency and comprehension of the learner. For example, it determines the learner’s ability to recognize common written words such as “car,” “be,” “house,” “do” by sight or in context. A second commonly used test for literacy skills is the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). This test is divided into five levels ranging from assessing the learner’s ability to fill out a deposit slip (Level I), determining the difference in price between two items (Level II) to demonstrating proficiency in interpreting complex written passages (Level V). These tests can be used to assess needs, track progress, and demonstrate success to the learner and to administrators who may be called on to support the program.

Several literacy curricula are available to prison educators. The National Institute for Literacy developed standards for literacy as a component of lifelong learning. This program focuses on skill acquisition in three areas: worker, family member, and citizen. The standards are broken down into four general areas with several sub-areas. For example, “communication” is broken into the following sub-areas: 1) reading with understanding; 2) conveying ideas in writing; 3) speaking so others can understand; 4) listening actively; and 5) observing critically. The curriculum utilizes activities that are relevant to the learner’s life to develop skills in reading. Laubach Literacy offers curricula that can be used in classroom settings or in one-on-one instruction. “Reading Is Fundamental” and “Project Read” are examples of federally funded literacy programs that offer text-based curriculum.

Although there are similarities in each of these programs, data does not suggest a standardized delivery method for literacy programs in correctional facilities. The programs generally include reading, writing, calculating, listening, speaking, and problem-solving as core parts of a literacy curriculum. In general, successful programs are learner centered, participatory, sensitive to the prison culture, and linked to post-release services.

Conclusion

Since the 70s, the correctional philosophy has shifted from a rehabilitative to a punitive approach. As a result, today’s correctional facilities are viewed primarily as a means of separating criminals from the public. Although prisons have become increasingly punitive, correctional facilities remain responsible for addressing literacy problems among the corrections population. The logic behind providing literacy services in prison is that all of society benefits by allowing access to educational resources that are available to everyone else. As such, literacy programs should not be seen as “special treatment” for prisoners. The federal government encourages literacy skill improvement in all entities, including prisons, that receive federal aid and at least 26 states have enacted mandatory educational requirements for certain populations. These policies demonstrate the importance placed on efforts to improve literacy skills.

Although there are challenges, literacy programs can provide relatively inexpensive educational program within correctional institutions. When we consider the high cost of imprisonment, coupled with a growing prison population, literacy programs provide a cost effective opportunity to improve the job related skills of incarcerated individuals. A large percentage of these individuals will be released from prison and will be expected to successfully, and lawfully, reintegrate in our communities. Literacy education provides a large payoff to the community in terms of crime reduction and employment opportunities for ex-offenders. Investments in these programs have been confirmed as wise, and cost effective, public policy.

References and Suggested Reading

American Corrections Association (2002). http://www.aca.org

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002). “Key crime and justice facts at a glance.” http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance.htm

Haigler, K. O.; Harlow, C.; O’Connor, P.; and Campbell, A. (1994). Literacy Behind Prison Walls. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Kerka, S. (1995). “Prison Literacy Programs.” Eric Digest no. 159. Columbus, OH:

Kollhoff, M. (2002). “Reflections of a Kansas Corrections Educator.” The Journal of Correctional Education, 53(2), June 2002, 44-45.

Laubach Literacy Oranization (2002). http://www.laubach.org

Leone, P.E. and Meisel, S. (1997). “Improving educational services for students in detention and confinement facilities.” Childrens’ Legal Rights Journal, 17(1), 2-12.

LoBuglio, S. (2001). “Time to reframe politics and practices in correctional education.” In J. Comings, B. garner and C. Smith (Eds.), Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Vol.2. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center (1996). “Correctional education: A worthwhile investment.” Linkages: Linking Literacy and Learning Disabilities. Washington, DC: The National Institute for Literacy, 3(2), Fall 1996.

National Institute for Literacy (1999). “Equipped for the future standards.” http://www.nifl.gov/lincs/collections/eff/eff.html

Newman, A. P.; Lewis, W.; and Beverstock, C. (1993). Prison Literacy. Philadelphia, PA: National Center on Adult Literacy.

Paul, M. (1991). When Words are Behind Bars. Kitchener, Ontario: Core Literacy.

Project READ. (1978). “To make a difference.” In M.S. Brunner (Ed.1993), Reduce recidivism and increased employment opportunity through research-based reading instruction (pp. 20-27). Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Quinn, M.M. Rutherford, R.B., Leone, P.E. (2001). “Students with disabilities in correctional facilities.” ERIC Digest no. E621.

Rutherford, R.B., Nelson, C.M., and Wolford, B.I. (1985). “Special education in the most restrictive environment: Correctional Special Education.” Journal of Special Education, 19, 59-71.

Steurer, S., Smith, L., Tracy, A. (2001). “Three State Recidivism Study”. Prepared for the Office of Correctional Education, US Department of Education. Lanham, MD: Correctional Education Association.

Tolbert, M. (2002). “State Correctional Education Programs.” Washington, D.C.: National Institute for Literacy. http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/policy/st_correction_02.pdf

15Apr/10

GED and Corrections

The GED and Corrections

Kenneth W. Mentor
University of North Carolina Wilmington

The General Educational Development (GED) Exam assesses skills and general knowledge that are acquired through a four-year high school education. The exam changes periodically, most recently in January 2002, in an effort to keep up with knowledge and skills needed in our society. The exam covers math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. All of the test items are multiple choice except for a section in the writing exam that requires GED candidates to write an essay. The complete exam takes just under eight hours to complete and is typically broken down into several sections that can be taken over time.

Research that assesses the value of the GED examines employment and the likelihood of continuing with formal education after earning the GED. Scholars have also examined whether the GED is equivalent to a high school diploma. Past research indicates that employees with a GED are not the labor market equivalents of regular high school graduates. Those who leave school with very low skills benefit from obtaining a GED. However, this advantage is lessened for those who have obtained other employment-related skills. The message gained from much of the research is that it is best to remain in school. While the GED has value, it should not be seen as a replacement for four years of high school.

The GED and Corrections

There has been little research examining the impact of obtaining a GED in corrections settings. The majority of studies indicate that earning GED while in prison reduces the likelihood of returning to prison. However, some researchers have criticized the methodology used in studies that focus on recidivism since it may be argued that those who choose, or are chosen, for corrections education programs benefit most from the experience since they have already indicated a willingness to “stay out of trouble.” Arguably, these are the people who will benefit most from any efforts to increase their chances of success. It may be difficult to blame corrections education programs that focus on those most likely to benefit from the program.

Another problem regarding an effort to demonstrate the value of a prison GED, in comparison to a high school diploma or GED earned in a traditional setting, is related to the complexity of factors that surround an individual in the labor market. It is possible that the impact of earning a GED in prison is not great enough to overcome the negative effect incarceration can have on employment opportunities. Employers may be reluctant to hire someone who has served time in prison. In fact, a felony conviction can disqualify an individual for employment in some professions. Given the barriers placed before individuals who seek employment after prison, it may be difficult to demonstrate the impact of a single educational experience.

Although the employment related impacts of the GED earned corrections settings are difficult to assess, research has consistently demonstrated that corrections education can significantly reduce recidivism. A 1987 Bureau of Prisons report found that the more education an inmate received, the lower the rate of recidivism. Inmates who earned college degrees were the least likely to reenter prison. For inmates who had some high school, the rate of recidivism was 54.6 percent. For college graduates the rate dropped to 5.4 percent. Similarly, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice study found that while the state’s overall rate of recidivism was 60 percent, for holders of college associate degrees it was 13.7 percent. The recidivism rate for those with Bachelor’s degrees was 5.6 percent. The rate for those with Master’s degrees was 0 percent. The Changing Minds study, which focused on the benefits of college courses in a women’s prison, calculated that reductions in reincarceration would save approximately $900,000 per 100 student prisoners over a two-year period. If we project these savings to the 600,000 prison releases in a single year, the saving are enormous.

In addition to gains related to recidivism, prison-based education programs provide benefits related to the functioning of prisons. These programs provide incentives to inmates in a setting in which rewards are relatively limited. These classes also provide socialization opportunities with similarly motivated students and educators who serve as positive role models. Educational endeavors also keep students busy and provide intellectual stimulation in an environment that can be difficult to manage when prisoners break rules in search of an activity that breaks the monotony of prison life. Many prisons provide incentives for inmates who participate in corrections education. Opportunities to earn privileges within the facility, increased visitation, and the accumulation or loss of “good time” that can lead to earlier parole, are used to motivate the student while providing incentives for appropriate behavior within the facility.

Prison educators face many challenges. Inmates who choose to enroll in corrections-based courses are not necessarily any different from students who enroll in GED courses in other settings. The range of abilities can include very gifted students, students who face challenges, and students who have various motives for enrolling in the course. However, the educational setting is very different. Challenges faced by corrections educators are compounded by the uniqueness of prison culture and the need for security. Prisons adhere to strict routines that may not be ideal in an educational setting. In addition, inmates are often moved from one facility to another. This movement interrupts, or ends, the individual’s educational programming. These structural issues are accompanied by social factors that can further limit learning opportunities. The student may be very motivated to earn an education but he or she remains in an environment in which conflicting demands may limit the opportunity to act on that motivation. For example, other prisoners may not support the individual’s educational efforts.

Prison administrators may also have varying degrees of support for education – especially if they see education as a threat to the primary functions of security and control. GED courses may be seen as a burden to prison administrators who believe their primary goal is confinement. However, in many cases administrators are required to provide educational opportunities. At least 26 states have mandatory corrections education laws that mandate education for a certain amount of time or until a set level of achievement is reached. Enrollment in correctional education is also required in many states if the inmate is under a certain age, as specified by that state’s compulsory education law. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has also implemented a policy that requires inmates who do not have a high school diploma or a GED to participate in literacy programs for a minimum of 240 hours, or until they obtain their GED.

States typically provide corrections education funding based, in part, on success as measured by the rate of GED completion. In addition to state funding, the federal government provides support to state correctional education through the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), which became law in 1998. However, funding often fails to keep pace with needs. Legislation over the past 20 years, a time in which the prison population has grown at unprecedented levels, has resulted in significant cuts in corrections education funding. This has resulted in the elimination of many programs. Ironically, the “get tough on crime” mentality resulted in the elimination of many programs that were effective in reducing crime.

Conclusion

Studies consistently indicate that an individual who benefits from education while in prison is less likely to return to prison than someone who has not had the benefits of education while in prison. There is some question as to why corrections-based education leads to lower recidivism. This is a complex process, and difficult to measure, but it appears that the ability to find and hold a job consistently functions to reduce the chance that an individual will commit crime. Individuals who increase their education also increase their opportunities. Individuals who take classes while in prison improve their chances of attaining and keeping employment after release. As a result, they are less likely to commit additional crimes that would lead to their return to prison.

The benefits of earning a GED while in prison are difficult to demonstrate. Individuals may find it difficult to obtain employment after serving time in prison. Potential employers may benefit from education regarding the realities of employing someone who has completed his or her punishment and is attempting to return to a productive life outside prison walls. It may also be time to question the belief that tougher prisons, with limited efforts to educate or otherwise rehabilitate offenders, reduce crime. The “get tough on crime” mentality has resulted in the elimination of many corrections education programs. Individuals in prison are typically burdened with many educational deficiencies. In many cases the lack of skills limited options, resulting in criminal acts. Upon release from prison, with limited education and job experience that is well below the level gained by those outside prison, it is no surprise that many individuals will head down the path that originally led them to prison.

 

FURTHER READING

Batiuk, M, Moke, P.and Rountree, P. (1997). “Crime and Rehabilitation: Correctional Education as an Agent of Change – A Research Note,” Justice Quarterly, 14(1).

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2002). “Key crime and justice facts at a glance.” http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance.htm

Fine, M., et.al. (2001) Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison. The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. http://www.gc.cuny.edu/folio/index.htm.

Gerber, J. and Fritsch, E. (1993). Prison Education and Offender Behavior: A Review of the Scientific Literature. Huntsville, TX: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.

Greenwood, P.W., Model, K.E., Rydell, C.P. and Chiesa, J. (1996). Diverting children from a life of crime: Measuring costs and benefits. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.

Haigler, K. O.; Harlow, C.; O’Connor, P.; and Campbell, A. (1994). Literacy Behind Prison Walls. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Harer, M. (1995). “Prison Education Program Participation and Recidivism: A Test of the Normalization Hypothesis,” Washington, DC: Federal Bureau of Prisons.

LoBuglio, S. (2001). “Time to reframe politics and practices in correctional education.” In J. Comings, B. garner and C. Smith (Eds.), Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Vol.2. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Murnane, R. J., Willett, J. B., & Boudett, K. P. (1999). Do male dropouts benefit from obtaining a GED, postsecondary education, and training? Evaluation Review, 23, 475-504.

Steurer, S., Smith, L., Tracy, A. (2001). “Three State Recidivism Study”. Prepared for the Office of Correctional Education, US Department of Education. Lanham, MD: Correctional Education Association.

Tolbert, M. (2002). “State Correctional Education Programs.” Washington, D.C.: National Institute for Literacy. http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/policy/st_correction_02.pdf

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Correctional Education (1994). “The Impact of Correctional Education on Recidivism 1988-1994,” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

15Apr/10

ESL in Corrections

ESL in Corrections

Molly Wilkinson and Kenneth Mentor

English as a Second Language (ESL) is the term used to describe English language instruction for nonnative English speakers. Another term used to describe the non-proficient English speaker is Limited English Proficiency (LEP). All prisoners in the U.S. should be able to demonstrate proficiency in English.  If not, they must enroll in ESL or LEP instruction.  In addition to providing language skills needed in the institution, corrections-based ESL and LEP instruction seeks to provide the learner with the basic language skills necessary to perform adequately in general education classes.

Of the 1.4 million inmates in federal or state prisons, 8% are non-US citizens. The number of inmates with limited English speaking ability is much higher. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 31.7% of inmates held in federal facilities are classified as Hispanic, 1.6% as Native American, and 1.8% as Asian. These numbers vary greatly by state. For example, 53% of New Mexico inmates are Hispanic. New York has the second highest percentage of Hispanic inmates with over 32%. Five other states have Hispanic prison populations of over 25%. Although Spanish is the most common non-English language in prison, the ethnic background of inmates is changing in ways that reflect recent trends in immigration. As a result, we can expect an even wider range of languages in state and federal prisons. Due of a growing number of illegal immigrants, in some cases entire facilities are being filled with non-English speakers. In this case the language needs are so complex that ESL instruction is being supplemented, or replaced, with electronic translation technologies.

Assessing and Teaching

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (1992) reports that on a scale of one (low) to five (high), over half of nonnative speakers consistently scored below Level 3. Level 2 was the average level for Hispanics born in the United States, while level 1 was the average for immigrants from Hispanic countries. Level 3 was the average for Asian-Pacific Islander born in the United States, compared to Level 2 for immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Several standardized and commercial tests are used to determine the proficiency level of a potential ESL student. Among these are Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), Adult Basic Learning Exam (ABLE), Basic English Skills Test (BEST), CASAS ESL Appraisal, and the Henderson-Moriarty ESL Placement (HELP).  Some of these tests measure the proficiency of the learner in his or her native language to provide a comparison with the learner’s aptitude in English. Other tests measure oral abilities such as listening and speaking (the first two levels of English acquisition), while others measure writing and reading as well (the upper levels of English acquisition).  The results of most tests need to be interpreted in order properly to classify the learner by level. Training on interpretation is required for best results, yet, due to expenses, such training is often not provided to the instructor. As a result, in many cases the learner is not properly classified before enrolling in ESL classes.

Several curricula are available to the nonnative speaker.  Some of these, provided by general education material providers, include student workbooks, learning tapes, and instructor manuals. Two other curricula commonly used and available for correctional facilities are “Crossroads Café” and “I Can Read.” These programs include videos that the student can use without support from an instructor or tutor. The videos show the learner the written target word, pronounce the word, and connect the word to phrases or objects.

Challenges

Regardless of the curricula chosen, language mastery depends in part on the ability of the learner to interact with others to practice new vocabulary and speech patterns. This is not an easy task for the incarcerated student. Procedural policies of many facilities do not provide for adequate interaction, slowing down the acquisition process. Funding issues in correctional facilities create another problem. Corrections education programs typically have limited educational funds for materials. Administrators are forced to prioritize their expenditures. As a result, materials purchased for use in correctional education programs are concentrated on English-proficient students. This leaves the limited English proficient inmate without adequate resources to improve his or her language skills.

On average, it takes 5-7 years for a nonnative speaker of English to become accomplished at most communication tasks. The minimum requirement for a person literate in their native language is 750-1000 hours of skills development to satisfy basic needs and to have limited social interaction in English. Due to the nature of correctional facilities, many inmates are transferred or released before that time period has elapsed. As a result, it may be difficult for prisoners to complete their ESL education in a correctional facility. However, even if basic language skills are not fully developed, one of the goals of the ESL educator is to help the individual acquire language skills necessary for survival in the prison society. This can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time.

CURRENT PROGRAMS AND ISSUES IN ESL TRAINING

Many different ESL programs are utilized in correctional facilities. Several states provide ESL training as part of their adult basic education programming. Since correctional educational literacy programs vary from facility to facility, it is difficult to discover what services are provided to inmates. Each state, and in some cases each facility, feel different pressures to develop and administer ESL and LEP programs. Varying levels of integration with other corrections education programs can also lead to problems with information sharing that could lead to increased standardization of delivery.

Since funding for ESL programs does not typically fall into state mandated education budgets, ESL specific programs must compete with state funds allocated to general education within the corrections departments. As a result, many facilities rely on outside volunteers or contractors to provide ESL instruction. Community volunteers and school agencies, such as community colleges, offer the majority of ESL programs to the general population. In addition, Laubach International and Literacy Volunteers of America have historically offered special training for low-language proficiency learners and currently offer materials and guidelines for instruction in corrections-based ESL services.

Most ESL students are grouped with English-proficient students in general classrooms. Many of these students drop out of correctional education for the same reasons they do so in general public facilities’ education. Common reasons include problems related to grasping the language vocabulary, understanding the sub-culture expressed through language, and learning the conversational patterns used in normal speaking. Since speech patterns vary among ethnic groups, and these vary from Standard English speech patterns, students are likely to make several mistakes speaking English as a Second language. In addition to the inherent difficulty of learning a new language, pedagogical approaches on the part of educators may diminish their effectiveness as teachers to non-English speakers. Many of these problems can be addressed through the development of ESL specific programs or by encouraging educators to work to participate in opportunities for ESL training.

Conclusion

Data indicate that corrections education is an effective tool in the effort to reduce recidivism. Less evidence is available regarding a link between ESL programs and crime reduction. We know that correctional institutions function better when prisoners are encouraged to live together and follow the rules. As with other forms of corrections education, ESL and LEP programs provide opportunities for prisoners to learn to “do their time” in a productive way.

Many benefits of ESL instruction are difficult to assess. For example, it is hard to measure large scale improvement in the ability to effectively function within correctional facilities. Corrections education is consistently shown to be very effective in efforts to reduce recidivism and improve employability after prison. Although the relationship of ESL instruction and crime control has not been clearly demonstrated, there is no reason to believe that ESL instruction does not have the same potential. In many cases the incarcerated individual will not be able to fully participate in corrections education without first learning to speak English. As such, the benefits of education are denied to those with limited English skills.

The corrections industry, like the justice system as a whole, relies on established procedures, policies, and laws. The incarcerated individual, and the institutions in which individuals are incarcerated, each benefit from efforts to assure that policies and procedures are effectively communicated. These policies and practices are often intended to protect the rights of those who interact with the system. Those who do not speak the dominant language of this system are at a distinct disadvantage. Although general impacts are difficult to assess, ESL instruction has the potential to reduce this disadvantage and minimize the loss of rights that may occur when an individual is unable to actively participate in processes that have serious implications.

See also: prison education, GED, Adult continuing education, foreign nationals

FURTHER READING 

Bureau of Justice Statistics (2003). “Key crime and justice facts at a glance.” U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance.htm

Burt, M. and Keenan, F. (1995). “Adult ESL Learner Assessment: purposes and tools.” National Center for ESL Literacy Education. ERIC Digest No. EDO-LE-95-08.

Fillmore, L.W. and Snow, C.E. (2000). “What teachers need to know about language.” U.S. Department of Education: Educational Research and Improvement. ERIC Digest No. ED-99-CO-0008

Haigler, K. O.; Harlow, C.; O’Connor, P.; and Campbell, A. (1994). Literacy Behind Prison Walls. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Heilman, K. and Lawson, K.M. (2000). “Facilitating communication with limited- and non-english-speaking offenders.” Corrections Today, Dec. 2000.

Office of Science and Technology of the National Institute of Justice (2000). “Do You Speak English?” Corrections Today, Dec. 2000.

Richiusa, G. (1997). “Language barriers: Teaching ESL in the Corrections System.” American Language Review, Nov/Dec 1997, 1, (5).