Negotiating responsibility in the criminal justice system by Jack B. Kamerman

By Jack B. Kamerman

With this choice of essays, Jack Kamerman provides the 1st sustained exam of 1 of the underpinnings of the operation of the legal justice approach: the difficulty of accountability for activities and, for this reason, the problem of responsibility.  Unique within the breadth of its process, this quantity examines the difficulty of accountability from the views of legal justice execs, sociologists, philosophers, and public directors from 4 nations. Attacking the matter on numerous degrees, the essayists glance first on the assumptions made by way of legal justice associations relating to criminal accountability, then flip to the perspectives of offenders at the explanations in their personal activities and to the results of offenders both to just accept or deny accountability.  These students additionally study the social and mental conditions lower than which individuals regularly settle for or deny accountability for what they do, hence supplying the root for realizing the method of social distance as a huge precondition for individuals to dedicate atrocities with out seeing themselves as in charge. realizing the situations lower than which individuals both distance themselves from or embody accountability allows criminologists to make grounded thoughts for reordering accountability within the legal justice procedure and, extra as a rule, for restoring a feeling of accountability to enterprises, occupations, and society.  Aside from Kamerman, the participants are William C. Collins, Charles Fethe, Gilbert Geis, Robert J. Kelly, Alison Liebling, Jess Maghan, Mark Harrison Moore, Paul Neurath, John Rakis, William Rentzmann, and Jos? E. S?nchez.

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J. (1968). " Social Problems 16:317. Simmel, G. (1950). " Pp. 41924 in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, K. H. Wolff, ed. New York: Free Press. Skolnick, J. H. (1975). Justice Without Trial: Law Enforcement in a Democratic Society. 2d ed. New York: Wiley. Strauss, A. (1978). Mirrors and Masks: The Search for Identity. San Francisco: Sociology Press. Weber, M. (1958). " Pp. 196244 in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, H. H. Gerth and C. W. Mills, eds. and trans. New York: Oxford. Page 15 2 Philosophical Perspectives on Responsibility and Excuse Charles Fethe It is by now a commonplace observation to note that contemporary American society is characterized by a peculiar tendency to use the judicial system to promote public morality and settle private disputes.

An empiricalcertainly not a logicalconsequence of this is the commonly held notion that to explain the etiology of a criminal act is also to excuse it. 3 Ideas and Zeitgeist This century has seen the growth of deterministic theories of behavior and their considerable popularity in the United States. In psychology, theories such as traditional psychoanalytic theory and behaviorism have been latched onto, in part because of their function of exempting people from responsibility. Their use, of course, has nothing to do with their validity.

Thurman Arnold in Symbols of Government (1935) grudgingly endorsed that principle, observing that the means of imputing responsibility used by the criminal justice system are scientifically indefensible, but that nonetheless they are an essential piece of "folklore" that serve as a basis for integrating social values and maintaining a stable moral order. His view is similar to the belief of the seventeenth-century scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal that even if free will did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it in order to maintain human balance.

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