Q1. How policy is made and implemented in criminal justice?
The use of imprisonment has seen a steady rise during the past two hundred years. In the US Rothman (1990) charted the rise of the use of imprisonment which took place during the presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1820s and 1830s. As crime and social depravation became significant social problems so the use of imprisonment rocketed when a vision of social control with the main aim of rehabilitation took hold. Alternatively Foucault (1979) considered the rise of the prison in France before the Revolution in 1789. The King would use corporal punishment to demonstrate and maintain his power over his citizens. This made punishment a very public spectacle. As public disgust grew so the prison became more popular as it removed the punishment of prisoners from the public gaze and changed its method from being corporal (on the body) to carcereal (on the soul). The result is that even though expansionism in the US was praised because Jackson was enlightened and wished to rehabilitate offenders, so Foucault observed that the rise in the use of prisons in France was not to punish any less but to make the punishment more effective.
Some countries follow a deliberate policy of expanding their use of imprisonment as a punishment for convicted offenders. This may be because of a lack of alternatives, because they believe that prison is effective as a punishment or because politically the use of imprisonment is preferable to alternatives. This section explores how and why expansionist policies are developed in some countries and critically assesses the implications of such a policy.
It is becoming increasingly common for governments to regard imprisonment as a scarce expensive resource which should be used as a last resort. This may be based on a perception that prison is ineffective in achieving the core aims of punishment. Alternatively, it may be because governments develop a sense of shame about the restriction of liberty as a form of punishment or possibly that for managerial reasons a reductionist policy makes economic sense. For example, in the Netherlands the government and criminal justice practitioners believed that long-term prison sentences do little to rehabilitate and indeed may pre-empt recidivism. They also regarded the practice of denying a prisoner his liberty as a severe (but legal) infringement of a person's basic human rights about which they had ethical misgivings.
Some countries follow a deliberate policy of reducing their use of imprisonment as a punishment for convicted offenders. This may be because they favour alternatives to custody, because they believe that prison is ineffective as a punishment or because politically or ethically the use of imprisonment is considered undesirable. This section explores how and why reductionist policies are developed in some countries and critically assesses the implications of such a policy.
Q2. Define what is meant by a "slippery slop" and how it can lead to further problems in the administration of criminal justice ...