Justice as a Scam
By priority, if you list the goals of criminal justice, the alleviation of crime and public disorder will stand primary. Who the criminals are and the causes of disorder are not as obvious. Our system of justice, like a misadjusted camera, is focused incorrectly; its perspective is narrowed. Not that the technician behind the lens is clumsy or misdirected-he or she is right on target in relation to the script. The story line is simply a bad one. Justice is skewed, and deliberately so. Police activity and that of the courts follow just such a script, and they and the audience have been duped. Much as a producer earns ratings by dressing an old plot in a new facade, those who determine our system of justice carry on an insidious deception. A much sharper focus must be obtained and a far wider angle of view must be sought if the truly big picture is to be seen.
Justice is a scam in that it misses the mark, striking instead a convenient scapegoat. 1 The thousands of criminals we have locked up in prisons and assigned to probation officers function as decoys, distracting us from the actual conspirators behind disorder. Street crime is the result of an intricate chain of causation, and criminality is rooted much deeper within the basic characteristics of our society. Order maintenance is the stated goal, yet social disorder on an alarming scale is the reality that persists. We must probe past the superficial "causes" of crime and societal breakdown if we are to uncover the true cause-and-effect mechanisms behind them; and since crime, simply stated, is a breakdown of social control, our system of social control will become our starting point.
Culture is the sum of human adaptation, encompassing the accumulated knowledge and behaviors used in daily living. It delineates the accepted ways in which we deal with our environment and with each other, and regulates
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Publication information: Book title: Policework:The Need for a Noble Character. Contributors: Rickey D. Lashley - Author. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 7.
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