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Three Current Trends in Criminal Justice System

The author argues that the change to heavy-handed law enforcement and punishment tactics has widened the gap between the 'we-them' mentality of modern law enforcement. Crank's discussion of racism speaks of the continuing tensions and class divisions wrought in society by the growing number of large impoverished minority communities. When Crank argues that this is a symptom of a much deeper problem whose roots lie in American society. In a supposed democratic system, the upper classes (mainly wealthy and white) give orders to the bureaucracy (law enforcement officials), who in turn have a negative view of poor minorities from their real street experiences. As one police chief notes: 'The problem arises from the hypocrisy they see in a society that insists that they control 'them.' Them refer to Blacks, ghetto residents, the homeless, the poor, and all others who evoke a sense of fear or unease. These orders are implicit and indirect. The laws enabling control aren't there' (Crank 1998, 215). The increasingly bureaucratic and ineffective nature of the court system continues to widen the gap between 'haves' and 'have-nots.' The legal system's credibility is being severely undermined by numerous examples that there is a different justice for 'rich' and 'poor' and for 'whites' and 'minorities' in the U.S. In his book The Process is the Punishment, Malcolm M. Feeley (1992) uses his experience of handling cases in a lower criminal court to address this trend. Mirroring our social construction perspective of social institutions, Feeley (1992) notes, 'Law is above all, a normative ordering. It gives expression to deeply felt sentiments within a society' (15).

Feeley demonstrates that changes in American politics and society bring change to the court system. He discusses how applying Constitutional Law to the lower courts and appointing court attorneys for virtually every offense that might end in jail time for defendants are poss...

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Three Current Trends in Criminal Justice System. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:16, August 23, 2017, from
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