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26Jul/16

Video: Critical Theory

26Jul/16

Video: Race and Crime

26Jul/16

Video: State Crime

26Jul/16

Video: Green Criminology

26Jul/16

Video: Cultural Criminology

26Jul/16

Video: Peacemaking

26Jul/16

Video: Restorative Justice

26Jul/16

Video: Feminist Criminology

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Pages linked here have been archived from an earlier iteration of the critcrim.org site.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

  • What Former NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s Column Omitted About Racist Broken Windows Policing 03 Jun 2019 23:16 Black Star News Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton still trying to defend bigoted "Broken Windows" policing... On Sunday, former New York City Commissioner Bill Bratton wrote an op-ed expressing frustration that the racially-applied “Broken Windows” policing …
  • Cave heroes win Australians of the Year 25 Jan 2019 18:44 News.com.au Every year, Australia celebrates those who work towards improving our country. Across fields ranging from science to community welfare, those nominated for Australian of the Year have inspired a nation through their achievements. Craig Challen and Richard …
  • Rochester 10 26 Dec 2018 06:45 City Newspaper Who makes Rochester Rochester? The people who are most often in the public eye are the elected officials, corporate leaders, university presidents and researchers, and entertainment figures. But thousands of Rochesterians make equally important …
  • Frances Kellor and the Birth of Multiculturalism 19 Oct 2018 00:55 Q-Notes Online by Victoria A. Brownworth, LGBT History Project Few topics in American politics under President Trump elicit more controversy than immigration. The same was true in early 20th century America when waves of immigrants flooded Ellis Island, causing fears …
  • Same city, different opportunities: Study maps life outcomes for children from Chicago neighborhoods 16 Oct 2018 14:11 Chicago Tribune America is known as the land of opportunity. But new research suggests that the American Dream is much harder to reach for some kids and that wide differences exist even for those who grow up in neighborhoods mere miles apart. Researchers from Harvard …
  • Charlottesville focuses on healing as Unite the Right heads to Washington 13 Aug 2018 16:48 NBCNews Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Residents, protesters and others gathered in this Virginia city on Sunday to mark the anniversary of tumultuous …
  • One year ago, a right-wing march in Charlottesville ended in violence 12 Aug 2018 07:28 euronews Last year's tumultuous clashes in Charlottesville gripped the nation and became a flash point in a renewed discussion about the state of race relations in America. White nationalists and anti-fascist counter-protesters clashed violently, and video …
  • "Feeling Race" and Other Crucial Issues: Join Thousands of Sociologists Aug. 11-14 in Philadelphia 12 Jul 2018 22:59 Newswise Contact: Naomi Paiss, Communications Director, at (202) 247-9859, npaiss@asanet.org, or (202) 440-0875 (cell); Johanna Olexy, Senior Communications Associate, at (202) 247-9873, communications@asanet.org, or (202) 251-6251 (cell). Newswise — July 11, 2018, …
  • Trump Is Still The Same Man Who Wanted The Central Park Five Executed 20 Jun 2018 09:45 Politics Daily Impulsive and emotional reactions are Donald J. Trump’s trademark ― even more so than displaying his name in big gold letters on luxury buildings. These traits helped Trump win the presidential election, and they continue to harm innocent people every day. …
  • Finding Her Voice 16 Nov 2017 08:15 City Weekly Long before she picketed at Weber State University, before she took the LDS Church to court, before a masked gunman threatened her life, before she was shackled by ICE agents and a lifetime before she sang opera to sublimate her anxiety, Victoria Sethunya …

Critical Criminology

Crime Theory

  • Germany shooting didn’t come out of nowhere 10 Oct 2019 17:46 Jerusalem Post Flowers and candles are seen outside the synagogue in Halle, Germany October 10, 2019, after two people were killed in a shooting. (photo credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH) British Colonel Richard Kemp summed up German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s …
  • Trolls, conspiracy theorists, hoaxers and Trump have twisted Facebook, YouTube and the news to toxic levels - and it's only getting worse 10 Oct 2019 15:35 Pacific Northwest Inlander click to enlarge Derek Harrison photo illustration It may be getting harder and harder to figure out the truth, but at least this much is clear: It's a good time to be a liar. We've spent three years arguing if fake news swung the 2016 election — …
  • Study links high pollen days to decrease in crime 09 Oct 2019 08:05 Colorado Springs Independent Around one in five people suffers from allergic rhinitis — often called hay fever — and frequently experiences the nasal congestion, runny nose and watery eyes that accompany high-pollen days. Other symptoms of such seasonal allergies include mood changes, …
  • Nine Nobel Prize Predictions for 2019 02 Oct 2019 18:15 Inside Science These significant advancements could win the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry. (Inside Science) -- Every year, the Nobel Prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry honor great advances and discoveries in science. …
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution – South Africa 02 Oct 2019 15:37 South Africa Today The article below begins by explaining (the definition) of The fourth industrial revolution, going over to where Africa stands in total with respect to the revolution. Thereafter, the overview flows to South Africa and then directly to the drive by the ANC …
  • The cyber attack on a prestigious university that's sending shockwaves through global governments 02 Oct 2019 06:54 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Updated October 02, 2019 16:34:33 The hack on a prestigious Australian university with far-reaching international implications. One email was all it took for hackers to steal some of the most personal information from people potentially now in high-ranking …
  • Hackers gained unprecedented access to the private information with one email 02 Oct 2019 06:54 Australian Broadcasting Corporation Updated October 02, 2019 16:35:43 Without anyone clicking on a link, a massive cyber attack of unprecedented sophistication gained access to private information of potentially high-ranking officials across the globe. Key points: A massive cyber attack …
  • Gender and Security: Redefining the State and a Threat 28 Sep 2019 15:20 Pakistan News Thinking about international security from a gender perspective allows us to re-define what is meant by the term 'international security'. Currently, the definition of 'security' is heavily influenced by classical and neo-realist theory ( …
  • The UW Women’s Center provides research and recommendations to the Washington state legislature on human trafficking in the state 27 Sep 2019 11:24 International Examiner The Washington State Capitol in Olympia, Washington. • Photo by cmh2315fl/Flickr Report by Sutapa Basu and Johnna White As the first state in the nation to criminalize human trafficking, Washington State is recognized nationally as a pioneer in the …
  • NECO withholds over 30,000 students results in Niger 16 Sep 2019 19:34 New Telegraph RESEARCH Lagos State University (LASU), last week, embarked on a major journey, which will trigger research development for the overall development of the nation   Fashola: No national development without proper data VC: Research is catalyst tool for …

Black Lives Matter

  • Paap culture: What Katie did next. Really, what did she do? 21 Oct 2019 06:15 The Express Tribune A not-so-royal take on how Willia­m fulfil­led his Royal duty as backdr­op to Kate Middle­ton's carefu­lly curate­d wardro­be KARACHI  : It was a few social media posts ago when Meghan Markle was somewhere in Africa asserting her claim to humanitarian …
  • Photos: 26,000 Spend Saturday With Bernie Sanders And AOC In Queens 20 Oct 2019 18:27 Gothamist Senator Bernie Sanders opened his 2020 presidential campaign speech in Long Island City on Saturday afternoon with an apology to the nearly 26,000 supporters packed into Queensbridge Park and on the sidewalk outside: “We got a permit for 20,000 people and …
  • Democrats need to talk honestly about race. But can they? 20 Oct 2019 12:26 Los Angeles Times Race is going to be a crucial issue in the 2020 election. Or if it isn’t, it ought to be. Partly that’s because of Donald Trump. He has shamelessly exploited ethnic and racial divides for cynical political reasons, using code words and dog whistles to …
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell review – fascinating study of why we misread those we don’t know 20 Oct 2019 10:13 Guardian Weekly Some years and several books ago, the New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell moved from being a talented writer to a cultural phenomenon. He has practically invented a genre of nonfiction writing: the finely turned counterintuitive narrative underpinned by …
  • AOC endorses Bernie Sanders at major rally, lending support to 2020 hopeful after he suffers a heart attack 20 Oct 2019 06:19 Independent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who was elected as the youngest women to serve in Congress during the 2018 midterms, has endorsed Bernie Sanders to become the next president of the United States.  Speaking at a massive rally in Queens, the …
  • There Goes the Gayborhood 20 Oct 2019 04:40 Philadelphia City Rapid social change and Midtown Village development are encroaching on Philadelphia’s LGBTQ mecca. Should we mourn its loss or embrace its evolution? Is this the end of Philly’s Gayborhood? Illustration by Matt Harrison Clough It was around one o’ …
  • Black security guard fired after asking student not to use racial slur - The Independent 19 Oct 2019 18:16 Google A black school security guard has been fired after asking a pupil not to call him the N-word. Marlon Anderson said the teenager, who is also African American, used the racial slur repeatedly to refer to him. He responded to a call about the student, who …
  • Service canceled for Texas woman shot by police 19 Oct 2019 15:12 Seatlle Post-Intelligencer Updated 8:02 am PDT, Saturday, October 19, 2019 FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 file photo, Rev. Al Sharpton listens to remarks at the National Action Network House of Justice, in New York. A life taken at the hands of police. A grieving family. A …
  • Suit filed against Sacramento PD for restraining 12-year-old boy with bag over his head 19 Oct 2019 11:48 San Francisco Bay View Readers were shocked to see a Sacramento police officer place what appears to be a plastic bag over the head of a 12-year-old child to restrain him after he was arrested at a neighborhood carnival. This is a still shot from the video captured by a …
  • Mark Zuckerberg's reckless idea of free speech 19 Oct 2019 10:00 The Week Magazine Sign Up for Our free email newsletters Mark Zuckerberg has rarely been so compelling. Facing increased scrutiny — especially after leaked audio of an internal meeting in which Zuckerberg called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) an existential threat — the …

Gender and Crime

  • You Know Her Story, Now Learn Her Name 09 Oct 2019 17:52 Candor You don’t know me; however, you’ve been inside me. In newspapers, my title was ‘unconscious, intoxicated lady.’ Ten syllables and nothing greater than that. For a while, I believed that that was all I was. I had to force myself to relearn my real name, my …
  • Sadly, when it comes to sexual abuse, predators don’t discriminate 24 Sep 2019 14:05 The Express Tribune Pakistani civil society activists take part in a protest after a child was raped and murdered.PHOTO:AFP. Earlier this month, I wrote about a case of rape against a minor in Kasur and at the end, I wrote with quite some conviction that I would be writing …
  • Unbelievable: The true story behind Netflix's new acclaimed drama 23 Sep 2019 11:17 Independent Note: This story contains plot details from Netflix’s Unbelievable, which is based on a true story In the first episode of Netflix’s Unbelievable, an 18-year-old Washington state woman reports her rape, only to face suspicion from the very detectives who …
  • Africa'second revolution whose time has come: Breaking-away from oppressive partisan poverty politics 05 Sep 2019 22:04 Bulawayo 24 News The high-sounding and inspirational liberation of the entire of Africa by political parties and liberation movements that lost its cause! The law-abiding citizens that have been reduced to the level of traumatised hostages by the same hoped-for partisan …
  • OP-ED: Defy injustice – and invoke the courage to dance with your fear 01 Aug 2019 20:40 News This is an edited version of the Inaugural Lecture on Insubordinate Leadership hosted by UCT’s KJP Leadership Institute and the Poverty and Inequality Institute. This inaugural lecture honours our insubordinate ancestors – the 20,000 women of 1956 who …
  • Why Rapists Must Get Capital Purnishment – Bunmi Dipo-Salami 15 Jul 2019 15:44 Nigerian Current Bunmi Dipo-Salami is the Executive Director, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights a fledgling human rights organisation in the vanguard of fighting the rights of women and girl child. In this interview, the woman activist, worried and alarmed by the seemingly …
  • The misogynists might finally learn to behave if their actions are outlawed | Catherine Bennett 14 Jul 2019 06:31 News A n exceptionally abundant glut of sexual harassment news may have overshadowed a significant victory for students at Warwick University, which, thanks to its administration’s complacency over sexist abuse, has come to occupy a prominent place in the …
  • Eve Ensler on Donald Trump, rape culture and the "unreckoned history" of America 11 Jul 2019 13:11 Salon Rape culture is both a noun and a verb. Rape culture is a society and environment in which rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls are made to seem normal. This is done through language and the images circulated by the media and …
  • Reuben Abati: Rape and the Senior Pastor of COZA 06 Jul 2019 08:09 Y Naija COZA is the acronym of a church in Abuja, Nigeria, known as the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly. It is one of those Pentecostal churches that dot every street of Nigeria where the Pastors claim to have a direct phone line to God, and are majorly regarded by …
  • Prisons: As always, the 'lock 'em up' lobby will prevail 02 Jul 2019 22:09 Age Geoffrey Galbraith, Beechworth Take a broad approach to reduce prison numbers It would seem there are four components to reducing recidivism (45per cent nationally). One, prevention: reducing the risk factors includes attention to education, poverty …

Prison Privatization

Prison Abolition

  • Taking Next Steps Toward Nuclear Abolition 20 Oct 2019 22:36 Op Ed News My friend Marianne Goldscheider, who is 87, suffered a broken hip in July, 2018 and then, in June 2019, it happened again. When she broke her hip the first time, she was running, with her son, on a football field. After the second break, when she fell in …
  • In defence of America’s prison-industrial complex 18 Oct 2019 19:20 Economist ON A CLOUDLESS October day, the early autumn sun still scorching, prisoners line up outside the education building of Saguaro Correctional Centre in Eloy, Arizona. They joke with the corrections officer on duty as she inspects their books. Her uniform does …
  • New York City Council Votes to Close Rikers 18 Oct 2019 13:21 Washington Square News An all-council vote on Thursday approved Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to shut down the Rikers Island complex and replace it with four smaller borough-based jails. As protestors shouted and people gathered in hoards hoping to enter City Hall, New York City …
  • What Curators Don’t Get About Prison Art 18 Oct 2019 13:02 The Nation George T. Wilkerson’s Subtext. (Courtesy of Worth Rises) More than 40 years have passed since Arts in Corrections, one of the first prison art programs of its kind began in a California state penitentiary. Since then, wardens across the country have …
  • IRT documentary tells Zheng’s story of incarceration and activism 18 Oct 2019 11:17 Mac Weekly “There will always gonna be struggles,” Eddy Zheng said, staring straight at the camera with passion blinking in his eyes. “The day that there [are] no more struggles is the day that I am not breathin’.”  The audience was still immersed in mixed feelings …
  • City Council To Vote On Plan To Close Rikers And Build New Jails 17 Oct 2019 20:38 Gothamist On Wednesday afternoon, the City Council's Land Use committee approved the mayor's $9 billion plan to close Rikers Island by 2026, and replace the complex with four new jails in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. The vote will go to the …
  • N.Y.C. Is Voting to Close Rikers. Now Comes the Hard Part. 17 Oct 2019 19:50 The New York Times One jail will tower over shops and restaurants in Downtown Brooklyn. Another will be next to a subway yard in Queens. In the Bronx, a jail will replace a Police Department tow pound. And another jail will rise in the shadow of City Hall in Manhattan. That …
  • Rikers Would Close in Historic Plan to Remake N.Y. Jail System 16 Oct 2019 19:56 International Herald Tribune Even as New York City has recorded a sharp plunge in crime in recent years, its jail complex on Rikers Island has been plagued by levels of abuse, neglect and mismanagement that have turned it into one of the country’s most notorious correctional …
  • Photos: Decolonizing Columbus Day, With An Emphasis On 'No New Jails' 16 Oct 2019 03:39 Gothamist This year's Columbus Day counterprogramming began as it has the past three years, at the steps of the American Museum of Natural History, next to a problematic statue of Theodore Roosevelt, former president, conservationist, and white supremacist. …
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to abolish prisons 15 Oct 2019 22:52 Washington Times ANALYSIS/OPINION: The FBI recently confirmed that Samuel Little, 79, is the most prolific serial killer in American history. Little has confessed thus far to strangling 93 women between 1970 and 2005. Crime analysts at the FBI’s Violent Criminal …

Corporate Crime

  • Gojek founder joins Indonesia cabinet as Jokowi revamps economy 21 Oct 2019 07:45 Bangkok Post JAKARTA: Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s new cabinet is taking shape with some well-known business figures set to join his team as he pledges to put the world’s fourth most-populous country on path to become a $7 trillion economy by 2045. The president, …
  • One dead, five injured after two weekend bike crashes 21 Oct 2019 04:45 Echo Police have said a man believed to be in his fifties died, and four other men were injured in a crash south of Kyogle on Sunday. Emergency services went to the crash scene at Summerland Way, near Runnymede Road, around 1.45pm after reports a Kia Rio …
  • OP-ED: The media industry has a responsibility to recognise and overcome its own biases 21 Oct 2019 01:00 News Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash “One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts,” former US president Barack Obama said during an appearance on the David Letterman show. He …
  • A last-minute guide to what the federal parties are pitching 20 Oct 2019 23:52 Hamilton Community News •Government ethics: Scheer would launch a judicial inquiry into the Liberals' handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair, introduce steeper fines for politicians violating ethics rules, and give more power to the federal ethics watchdog. Scheer has also …
  • ANOTHER MAJOR LANDSLIDE IN NANKA 20 Oct 2019 23:37 This Day Monday letter2 The sleepy community of Ubahu village in Nanka town, Orumba North LGA has suffered another gully erosion- related multiple landslide. The Obeagu gully erosion erupted on the morning of Tuesday, October 15, 2019 following a heavy rainfall. …
  • Chiles capital in state of emergency amid unrest 20 Oct 2019 22:30 Bangladesh News A state of emergency has been declared in the Chilean capital, Santiago, afterprotests sparked by increased metro ticket prices turned violent. Protesters - many of them high school and university students - jumped turnstiles, attacked several underground …
  • Promises, promises: A checklist for voters 20 Oct 2019 21:01 Edmonton Journal Scandals received the most attention during the 43rd federal election, but there’s plenty of ideas to ponder when going through the party platforms. There’s broad consensus on what many of the issues are — housing costs, economic growth, affordability — …
  • 5-point plan to rebuild SARS and improve tax collections 20 Oct 2019 16:35 News Edward Kieswetter SARS boss Edward Kieswetter has inherited a "broken" organisation and it is impacting tax revenue collections, according to tax experts. At a briefing this week, ahead of the mini-budget, tax experts of Mazars weighed in on the …
  • Horse racing on the nose, industry insiders warn 20 Oct 2019 11:35 Sydney Morning Herald “We are looking for the next generation of owners, and some of the news that's in the industry at the moment, I can't see how we can possibly attract new participants,’’ he said. Bookmaker Matt Tripp, the chief executive of BetEasy, predicted the …
  • Mexico’s Murderous Super-Cartel CJNG Is Winning the ‘Narco Game of Thrones’ 20 Oct 2019 10:16 Yahoo! Voices Jeremy KrytVALLECITOS DE ZARAGOZA, Mexico—There is only one hotel still open in this cartel-besieged town and I am the only guest in it. The former owner of the Sierra Inn here in western Mexico’s Guerrero state is a local businessman and political …

White Collar Crime

  • TV tonight: superhero caper meets social commentary in Watchmen 21 Oct 2019 06:20 The Guardian Watchmen 9pm, Sky Atlantic White supremacy has taken hold in this take on Alan Moore’s nihilistic Watchmen universe. Three years after a brutal attack on police and their families in Tulsa, led by racists wearing Rorschach masks, Detective Angela Abar ( …
  • Psychopath Supervisors Make Psychopath Employees Stronger 20 Oct 2019 22:14 Forbes What truly makes someone a psychopath? Psychopaths know right from wrong, but have little to no empathy, guilt, or loyalty to others. They also can appear superficially charming. Psychopaths tend to target vulnerabilities in others. This means they may …
  • 3 Arrested In Statewide Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Targeted Mostly Seniors 20 Oct 2019 09:48 KCBS SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — Three officers of a mortgage company have been arrested on a 121-count felony indictment for allegedly operating a mortgage fraud scheme that mostly targeted seniors and resulted in losses of more than $7 million, state Attorney …
  • 98 per cent of Spandana petitions resolved: Andhra Pradesh DGP 20 Oct 2019 01:22 The New Indian Express By Express News Service HYDERABAD: Of the 31,773 petitions received in 13 ‘Spandana’ programmes held across the State from July 1, the police have successfully resolved 31,119 by filing FIRs in 7,442 and disposing of 23,677 complaints at the station level …
  • Mexico: Chapo’s Son Released to Avoid Putting Lives at Risk 19 Oct 2019 01:31 Latin American Herald Tribune MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday a decision was made to release a son of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from custody to avoid putting people’s lives in danger. Ovidio Guzman Lopez was briefly held …
  • Lori Loughlin 'is planning to ask Felicity Huffman what it's like in prison' 18 Oct 2019 23:34 Charleston Daily Mail  Lori Loughlin, 55, faces charges for allegedly trying to bribe USC with $500k  Felicity Huffman, 56, is now in prison for 14 days for paying $15,000 for her daughters tests to be doctored  By all accounts, Huffman's prison isn't too difficult with …
  • Man pleads guilty to embezzling $305,000 from Newport Beach pharmacy 18 Oct 2019 18:42 Daily Pilot A Fullerton man pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $305,000 over seven years while he was the controller of a pharmacy in Newport Beach. Dennis Sam Medici, 58, pleaded guilty to 53 felony counts of possessing a completed check with the intent …
  • Ex-bookkeeper pleads not guilty to stealing $1.5 million from Newport orthopedic practice 18 Oct 2019 18:42 Daily Pilot A Lake Forest woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of stealing $1.5 million from an orthopedic practice in Newport Beach while working as the company’s bookkeeper. Tina Marie Reyes, 46, is accused of stealing from California Orthopaedic Specialists …
  • Mexican president says the army released El Chapo's son to prevent all-out war 18 Oct 2019 16:13 Charleston Daily Mail The Mexican president spoke out on Friday morning after a bloody night of warfare between cartel members and the army which was triggered by the brief arrest of El Chapo's son.   The violence began when cartel leaders including Ovidio Guzman Lopez, one …
  • Company director in SFO probe 18 Oct 2019 11:39 The New Zealand Herald Investigation into manuka honey and infant formula exporter owing over $1m. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating an exporter of infant milk powder and manuka honey that receivers say collapsed owing more than $1 million. Nubiotics, owned and directed …

State Crime

  • Crime scene. Do not cross 21 Oct 2019 06:18 The New Indian Express Express News Service The crime rate in Kerala is high when compared to other states, as it is often said cases are properly registered in the state and all incidents get reported. Express opens the crime file to reveal shocking facts and figures Chacko …
  • Crime Report: 10/2 – 10/10 21 Oct 2019 04:57 Spectator In the month of October, Valdosta State Police have seen many of the same three crimes going on around campus. These three crimes are larceny, drug law violation and vandalism. Two drug law violations were made on Oct. 2. The first was at 1 a.m. at N. Oak …
  • Wash. State Police Seize Firearms From Neo-Nazi Leader 21 Oct 2019 04:19 News Max Police in Seattle, Wash., seized a small cache of firearms and gun parts, including military-style rifles, from the home of Kaleb James Cole, an alleged cell leader of a neo-Nazi group, according to local media reports. “We actually, I firmly believe, …
  • One in five people assaulted in State is a foreign national 21 Oct 2019 00:47 The Irish Times Almost one in five people assaulted in the State is a foreign national, An Garda Síochána has said. Research by the Garda Analysis Service, supplied in response to queries from The Irish Times, shows 19 per cent of assault victims are now foreign nationals …
  • ZAPU is fighting institutional marginalisation and Zimbabwean state scorched earth policy 20 Oct 2019 23:17 Bulawayo 24 News Whereas on Thursday the 17th and Friday the 18th meetings were held at Mpilo Hospital administration between Zimbabwe African People's Union ZAPU and Mpilo Hospital public relations office, Whereas the agenda of the engagement is about the recent and …
  • Chiles capital in state of emergency amid unrest 20 Oct 2019 22:30 Bangladesh News A state of emergency has been declared in the Chilean capital, Santiago, afterprotests sparked by increased metro ticket prices turned violent. Protesters - many of them high school and university students - jumped turnstiles, attacked several underground …
  • Police investigate shooting that left 1 dead at party near San Jose State 20 Oct 2019 21:09 KRON SAN JOSE (KRON) — San Jose police officers responded to reports of shots fired at a party near San Jose State University early Saturday morning, according to officials. Officers arrived to the area of 10th Street and William Street around 2:05 a.m., where …
  • State police Head Quarters goes paperless 20 Oct 2019 20:47 The Hindu The Tamil Nadu police headquarters has become the first major organisation of the State government to go paperless. The entire administration in the office of the Director-General of Police, also known as the Chief Office, has been automated, with the …
  • State’s lock-ups to get email access 20 Oct 2019 19:30 Sunshine Coast Daily PRISONERS will be handed a new electronic messaging perk under Palaszczuk Government plans to cut the tsunami of contraband entering the state's jails. Tender documents obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal Queensland Corrective Services hopes the new …
  • WSU study investigates whether marijuana legalization leads to more or less crime 20 Oct 2019 18:05 The Seattle Times Looking into the effects of legalized marijuana, Washington State University researchers discovered some surprising things. They turned up unintended consequences, found gaps in the data and came up with suggestions for law enforcement agencies dealing …

Environmental Crime

  • Regulators admit they failed to safety check toxic site for almost a year 21 Oct 2019 08:54 Age The property was the site of the worst industrial blaze in two decades, spewing a cloud of toxic smoke across the city and exposing firefighters and residents to dangerous chemicals and severely damaging Stony Creek. EPA chief executive Dr Cathy Wilkinson …
  • On the road: We need to get off this freeway to nowhere 11 Sep 2019 15:05 Age Senior traffic engineer Andrew O'Brien has stated the obvious – when the North East Link is built, in its current form, Option A, it will have a dramatic effect on the Eastern Freeway. His evidence to the environmental effects hearings into the …
  • Trump wrong about Dems, census, citizenship 15 Jul 2019 04:29 Washington Times WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is spreading falsehoods on issues of race, immigration and American-ness, exhorting four non-white female lawmakers to “go back” to where they came from and crying foul over his failed bid to add a citizenship …
  • The Koch Brothers and the Tar-Sands 09 Jul 2019 01:50 Canadian Dimension John McMurtry   Canadian Business, Canadian Politics   July 8, 2019 Big Lies and Ecocide in Canada As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few people joining the dots. For example, no media has been reporting that China’s growing dispute with …
  • Where does your plastic go? Global investigation reveals America's dirty secret 17 Jun 2019 06:55 The Guardian What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin? According to promotional materials from America’s plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new. linker This is not the experience …
  • Ghana marks World Environment Day. 07 Jun 2019 05:55 Ghanaian Times Instituted by the United Nations (UN) in 1974, it is celebrated on June 5every year to promote awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It has, thus become the UN’s flagship platform for campaigning on emerging environmental issues from …
  • Mines & Energy Minister Rallies Liberian to Take Pragmatic Steps in Tackling Air Pollution - Front Page Africa 07 Jun 2019 05:18 Liberian Times Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency celebrates 2019 World Environment Day with colorful activities that commence with a grand march and culminated with an indoor program attended by cross-section of stakeholders including policymakers and students …
  • Can we arm the nation without harming our own? 24 May 2019 13:26 National Catholic Reporter Dust rising from demolition work can be seen at the old Kansas City Plant site in south Kansas City, Missouri, pictured May 16, 2019. (NCR photo/Toni-Ann Ortiz) Editor's note: As the government invests in the modernization of the U.S. nuclear …
  • Revealed: 1.6m Americans live near the most polluting incinerators in the US 21 May 2019 12:23 The Guardian A total of 1.6 million Americans live next to the most polluting incinerators in the country, with lower-income and minority communities exposed to the vast majority of pollution coming from these waste-burning plants. The burning of household and …
  • How a lawyer, a lobbyist and a legislator waged war on an... 24 Apr 2019 18:06 SF Gate Keisha Brown sits outside her home in Birmingham, Ala. Brown has respiratory problems that she attributes to the level of pollution in her area. Keisha Brown sits outside her home in Birmingham, Ala. Brown has respiratory problems that she attributes to …

Critical Theory

  • Pete Buttigieg’s Father: A Marxist Professor Who Lauded Communist Manifesto 17 Oct 2019 14:33 Texas Insider A “Rethinking Marxism” academic advisor who frequently spoke at gatherings of prominent Marxists By Emily Larsen & Joseph Simonson The father of Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg was a Marxist professor who spoke fondly of the Communist …
  • Harold Bloom, author and literary critic, dies at age 89 14 Oct 2019 23:47 The Guardian Harold Bloom, the eminent critic and Yale professor whose seminal The Anxiety of Influence and melancholy regard for literature’s old masters made him a popular author and standard-bearer of Western civilization amid modern trends, died Monday at age 89. …
  • Are SA’s university professors a bunch of socialists? 08 Oct 2019 22:01 Mail & Guardian COMMENT No political philosophy, ideology or theory is beyond the scrutiny of intellectual critique. However, one expects such scrutiny to be fair, honest, thorough and open-minded. Increasingly on social media, political publications and television, what …
  • OPINIONISTA: Why socialism thrives nowhere, except at universities 25 Sep 2019 03:11 Daily Maverick Johan Fourie, associate professor of economics at the University of Stellenbosch, wrote a revealing column (paywalled) after talking to a group of journalism students about capitalism. Most of the students believed capitalism to be a system that exploits …
  • Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, 2nd Edition 17 Sep 2019 06:41 Wiley List of Boxed Features xi List of Figures Acknowledgments xiii How to Use This Book xvi Introduction: Welcome to Sociological Theory 1 Analyzing Social Life 4 Societal Transformation and the Origins of Sociology 12 The Establishment of Sociology 17 The …
  • How to Be an Anticapitalist in the 21st Century by Erik Olin Wright – review 29 Aug 2019 08:40 Guardian Weekly As long as there have been people who called themselves socialists, there have been people arguing about what socialism is. Socialism is a large, fractious family. Many of its members are not on speaking terms, or have a history of killing one another. …
  • How whites became pariahs in academia 13 Aug 2019 09:11 The American Thinker Likely you've never heard of Noel Ignatiev, yet he's been influential in much of what is going on in culture and politics today.  A left-wing Jewish American author and historian, Ignatiev has been one of the main voices in helping shape and direct …
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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 the social structure of a 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][2] Critical criminology also seeks to delve into the foundations of criminological research to unearth any biases.[3]

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.[4] 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.

Convict Criminology

convict Criminology which is critical 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.[5]

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).

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.[6] 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. ^ Meyer, Doug (March 2014). "Resisting Hate Crime Discourse: Queer and Intersectional Challenges to Neoliberal Hate Crime Laws". Critical Criminology. 22 (1): 113–125. doi:10.1007/s10612-013-9228-x..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ Uggen, Christopher; Inderbitzin, Michelle (2010). "Public criminologies". Criminology & Public Policy. 9 (4): 725–749. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00666.x. Uggen, C. and Inderbitzin, M. (2010), Public criminologies. Criminology & Public Policy, 9: 725-749. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00666.x
  4. ^ Hopkins Burke, R. (2001) An Introduction to Criminological Theory, Cullompton: Willan pg.173
  5. ^ Uggen, Christopher; Inderbitzin, Michelle (2010-10-06). "Public criminologies". Criminology & Public Policy. 9 (4): 725–749. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00666.x. ISSN 1538-6473.
  6. ^ 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).