Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System with an Insider's View

By Stephen Stanko; Wayne Gillespie et al. | Go to book overview

1

CRIME AND JUSTICE IN THE UNITED STATES
Wayne Gillespie
INTRODUCTION
The gavel is a symbol of power. It represents the authority of the justice system. Of course, the gavel also brings to mind the vision of a judge cloaked in a black robe sitting atop a raised bench presiding over cases in a court-room. Judges perform a variety of tasks in the courtroom. They are considered experts on law and facts. They oversee bailiffs and court reporters. They may order search warrants, confer sentences, and revoke probation in criminal cases. The gavel is simply a tool used by the judge to command attention or to confirm legal action (Grana, Ollenburger, & Nicholas, 2002).Upon closer inspection, the true power behind the gavel, and behind the judge, is located within the law. The two major forms of law in the United States are criminal law and civil law. Civil law deals with torts or wrongs against certain persons, whereas criminal law is concerned with crimes or wrongs against the state. Another common definition of crime is any judicially determined violation of criminal law (Tappan, 1947). Grana et al. expanded the definition of crime to include the following characteristics:
1. There must be certain external consequences or harm to society.
2. The act must be legally forbidden or proscribed by law.
3. Some form of conduct must occur, either intentional reckless action or inaction.
4. Criminal intent, or mens rea, must be present.
5. Mens rea and conduct must occur together.
6. There must be a causal relationship between the social harm and the misconduct.
7. There must be a legally prescribed punishment. (p. 76)

They also maintain that all seven conditions must be present in order to consider behavior criminal.

-3-

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Living in Prison: A History of the Correctional System with an Insider's View
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Part I - Justice: Introduction, History, and Philosophy 1
  • 1 - Crime and Justice in the United States 3
  • 2 - Justice and the Origin of Corrections 25
  • 3 - A Brief History of Corrections in America 43
  • Part II - Contemporary Correctional Issues 61
  • 4 - The Context of Imprisonment 63
  • 5 - Women and Prison 89
  • 6 - Prisoners' Rights and States' Responsibilities 111
  • Part III - Living in Prison: One Man's Journey 129
  • 7 - A Prisoner's Narrative 131
  • 8 - The Prison Environment 149
  • 9 - Surviving in Prison 171
  • Index 187
  • About the Authors 195
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