Crime Law and Social Change

Published by Springer Nature

Online ISSN: 1573-0751


Print ISSN: 0925-4994


Bouncing boundaries and breaking boundaries -- the case of assisted-suicide and criminal law in Canada
  • Literature Review

February 1999


52 Reads

New bio-technologies are currently forcing medicine to cross boundaries that might have seemed insuperable sometime ago. Specifically, they now help to prolong human life beyond its natural process and to maintain it almost indefinitely. Consequently, death takes on new meanings. For some it simply appears like an eventuality that can be postponed while, for others, death become synonymous to extended suffering, to dehumanization and to anguish. This apprehension gives rise to a wave of compassion for the dying person which is being translated into a new discourse around the notions of "quality of life" and "dying with dignity". In this movement, the question of assisted suicide resurfaces. Through an extensive study of the Sue Rodriguez case in the Supreme Court of Canada (1993), the author shows that this particular case forced the Canadian society to rethink some of its long-standing socio-legal boundaries. First, the current social debate on assisted suicide poses new demands on Criminal Law, particularly on the judicial tradition since the courts are presently ill-equipped to respond to cases which demand to give content to new "human rights" that do not yet have a legal substance. Second, the Rodriguez case revealed the emergence, on the judicial and political scenes, of certain community groups that restructures the traditional power relations linked to the social regulation of assisted suicide. Finally, the study shows a change in the boundaries surrounding the accepted use of Criminal Law toward an administrative (risk management) rather than punitive use.

Penal harm medicine: State Tort remedies for delaying and denying health care to prisoners

February 1999


34 Reads

In prison and jail subcultures, custodial personnel are committed to the penal harm movement, which seeks to inflict pain on prisoners. Conversely, correctional medical personnel are sworn to the Hippocratic Oath and are committed to alleviating prisoners' suffering. The Hippocratic Oath is violated when correctional medical workers adopt penal harm mandates and inflict pain on prisoners. By analyzing lawsuits filed by prisoners under state tort law, this article shows how the penal harm movement co-opts some correctional medical employees into abandoning their treatment and healing mission, thus causing denial or delay of medical treatment to prisoners.

September 11: A societal reaction perspective

January 2003


41 Reads

This article illustratesthe application of the labeling or societalreaction theory regarding the events ofSeptember 11, 2001. It explains thevarious types of labels that societyassigned to ``September 11'' and how societalreactions led to governmental and lawenforcement changes. Pertinent opinionpolls were analyzed to indicate the powerof labeling which, in turn, was used todemonstrate how the USA PATRIOT Act waspassed during heightened societalreaction.

Safe at home? Policing the U.S. hometown in a post 9/11 environment

September 2008


54 Reads

Despite the prominence of terrorism concerns on the national agenda, three areas of public policy pose more significant challenges for local law enforcement in the United States: illegal gun proliferation and distribution; offender incarceration and re-entry paths; and investments in the lives of children. This paper argues that the current direction of public policy in these latter areas should be a primary concern, because these policies not only impact law enforcement in a negative way, but also threaten the strength and vitality of the communities law enforcement is trying to serve. Moreover, the dangers posed by these policies are far more calculable, more likely and more destructive over the long run than those posited for more extreme, though less-likely threats, to which the U.S., as a nation, is committing enormous sums of money, for seemingly incremental, public safety benefits. The role of law enforcement executives is critical to how these issues will be addressed.

Bureaucracy, “domesticated” elites, and the abolition of capital punishment. Processes of state-formation and the number of executions in England and Habsburg Austria between 1700 and 1914
  • Article
  • Full-text available

November 2010


55 Reads

The paper argues that the introduction of bureaucracy civilized death penalty and brutal punishment. The study bases on a quantitative analysis of the numbers of death sentences and executions in England and Habsburg Austria from 1700 to 1914 and on a qualitative analysis of historical literature about the death penalty in both countries. The paper shows that professional law enforcement specialists, bureaucrats, civil servants, and detached juridical stuff formed a new class of “domesticated middlemen elites”. In strong states, this new class becomes the dominating group. In weak states, however, old elites that combine economic and political power preserve their privileged positions. For them capital punishment is the most proper mean to deter criminals because old elites fear the alternative: the introduction of strong-state institutions. Beside obvious power struggles between central and local elites—which effects penal policy pro and con capital punishment—there is a civilizing process going beneath the surface of rationality and political interests. In strong states, the formation of a “habitus” averse to brutal punishment is initiated amongst “domesticated middlemen elites” who are acting in peaceful living- and working conditions.

A Dutch Sodom and Gomorrah: Degenerates, moralists and authority in Yerseke, 1870–1914

September 1995


18 Reads

In 1870, the Dutch state privatized several oyster banks in Zeeland waters. This measure brought about a rapid capitalization of the oyster industry. The Zeeland town of Yerseke soon became the national centre of oyster farming and trade. Initially, oyster farming was quite successful. Yerseke turned into an affluent country town which attracted hundreds of migrants. When by the mid-1880s serious problems assailed the oyster industry, a large number of people left the town, although newcomers were continually arriving. In the wake of these developments the community's social organization changed drastically and social control withered. Fights, drunkenness and theft were part and parcel of everday life. In the course of the 1890s, this social disorganization was checked by the civilizing missions of churches and the disciplining offensives of the local authorities and police. Perhaps even more important was the increasing social integration of the village community. The present article aims to uncover the dynamics and interrelations of these processes.

The Black Mafia: African-American organized crime in Chicago 1890–1960

July 2002


22,852 Reads

The historical role of African-Americans in organized crime in the UnitedStates has been greatly ignored by the academic community. What researchthat does exist argues that black Americans played a minor role in theethnic gambling and vice industries that existed in many American citiesat the beginning of the Twentieth Century. This view is supported by the alien conspiracy theory, which argues that the participation of African-Americansand other minorities in syndicated vice and crime followed the decline oftraditional Italian American organized crime groups. This research arguesthat sophisticated African-American organized crime groups in Chicago existedindependently of Italian American organized crime and that African-Americans eventually played an important role in the activities of the Chicago Outfit,the traditional Italian American organized group in Chicago.

Dragon brothers and tiger sisters: A conceptual typology of counter-cultural actors and activities of American Chinatowns, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, 1912–2004

February 2006


59 Reads

In the past 20 years, criminal activities directed by Chinese, Hong Kongese, and/or Taiwanese have increasingly become a mainstream topic in criminology and criminal justice. Despite the fact that many books, reports, articles, and monographs on the Chinese, Hong Kongese, or Taiwanese organized crime enterprises (as well as gangs) have been published, a comprehensive conceptual framework which would assist criminologists and criminal justice professionals in examining the political, religious, social and other aspects of structured counter-cultural activities and major players in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and American Chinatowns seems not to have been proposed yet. The purpose of this paper is to advance a typology that would help academics and law enforcement agents to identify and evaluate the diversities of underworlds of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and American Chinatowns. This taxonomy consists of three factors: organizational structure, participation in politics or revolutionary movements, and ideology. Each of these variables is further divided into complicated/loose, frequent/infrequent/, and distinctive/indistinctive levels. Based on such a categorization, the counter-cultural elements of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan during the period of 1912 to 2004 are classified as CFD, LFD, CFI, LID, CID, CII, LFI, and LII types, as can be characterized respectively by Republican Revolution-involved Triads and tongs; ultra-nationalists; the Shanghai Green Gangs of the 1920s and 1930s; modern Green Gangs; organized Chinese refugee gangs; Chinese-controlled pirate groups; jiaotou brothers of Taiwan; and ordinary Chinese/Taiwanese street gangs.

The Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations in the 1920s and Its Socio-Economic Impacts on Life in Anatolia

January 2004


282 Reads

The topic of this paper is the population exchange that took place between the Turkish and Greek states in the 1920s. The socio political conditions that led to the exchange, the official agreements between the two states, the real experiences of the immigrants, the regulations of the Turkish state, the ignorance of the Turkish state and academia about the exchange, the socio-economic effects of the exchange on life in Anatolia are the topics mentioned and in this article. The basic aim of this paper is to reintroduce the topic, which seems to be put aside, in a systematic manner based on the referenced books. Another aim is to stress its importance for the nationalization process for both Turkish and Greek lands. The major concern here is life in Anatolia. Therefore, it is claimed that the population exchange was very effective in nationalization of the population, economy and culture in Anatolia. How the immigrants took part in nationalization and how nationalization provided them a way of constructing their identity are explained. It is argued that the nationalism of the young Turkish Republic provided the immigrants with a possibility to construct their identity in a way to differentiate themselves from the native Turks. The socio economic impact of the population exchange on life in Anatolia is so big that this forgotten topic deserves to be dwelled upon. Therefore, it is stated that in order to understand the nationalization and socio-economic development of Anatolia the population exchange of the 1920s should be studied and understood in more detail.

Japanese biological warfare experiments and other atrocities in Manchuria, 1932–1945, and the subsequent United States cover up: a preliminary assessment

May 1991


37 Reads

Japanese microbiologists and other scientists, as early as the 1930s, used humans for test purposes in their quest for a viable offensive biological warfare system. Thousands of men, women and children were tested with a host of pathogens to determine the appropriate dose required to kill. Those who survived the initial tests were subjected to other experiments. No one left the test sites alive. They were either killed in the experiments, or they were “sacrificed” when they outlived their usefulness. Field tests in China unleashed plagues that killed tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands. American intelligence in early 1942 discovered that Japan had a large biological warfare enterprise in Manchuria and China. By the end of the war, Intelligence was in possession of a comprehensive outline of Japanese operations. American scientists at Fort Detrick, Md., home of the American biological warfare program, learned of the Japanese research. They sent emissaries to Japan to negotiate with those scientists who escaped from Manchuria and returned home. After two years of negotiations, a deal was made. The Japanese would turn over to the Americans their research data. The Americans would not prosecute the scientists as war criminals. Not one Japanese scientist under American jurisdiction was ever prosecuted, but, instead, was permitted to live a normal life in post-war Japan.

Garden of Grand Vision: Economic life in a flophouse complex Harbin, China 1940

October 2001


34 Reads

During the Second World War Harbin was a major city in the puppet-state ofManzhouguo, the industrial heart of the Japanese war effort in East Asia.The Garden of Grand Vision was a flophouse complex located in the Chineseslums of Harbin. The 2,000 drug addicts, gamblers and prostitutes who madethe Garden their home were mostly migrants from North China who had fallenon hard times. In 1940 the Japanese police conducted a detailed survey oflife in the Garden, portraying it as a swamp of disorder and immorality.In contrast, this paper describes the residents of the Garden as theyvaliantly participated in a vigorous underground economy and arranged theirlives for survival.

Macro-economic determinants of penal policy: Estimating the unemployment and inflation influences on imprisonment rate changes in the United States, 1948?1985

January 1991


13 Reads

Conflict theory proposes that systemic economic distress generates problem populations which require control via palliative and coercive means. Most previous research has concentrated on examining the unemployment-imprisonment relationship. A review of the literature suggests that other structural conditions that generate marginalization as well as the state's placative control must be considered in order to understand the linkage between economic-fiscal forces and penal policy. Using annual time-series data for the period 1948–1985, the present paper examines the extent to which changes in inprisonment rates reflect (a) governmental attempts to offset the threat of unemployment and inflation and (b) fiscal limitations placed by state expenditures on placative controls. The results indicate support for the conflict thesis, with inflation rates and annual fluctuations in black and white male unemployment rates exerting an independent positive effect upon imprisonment-rate changes, after controlling for variations in violent crime rates, prison capacity, and age structure. Possible reasons for the lack of evidence regarding trade-offs between state's placative and coercive policies are discussed and suggestions for further research are noted. *** DIRECT SUPPORT *** AW502010 00003

Institutional Responses to Unemployment: A Comparison of U.S. Trends, 1948–1985

December 1989


20 Reads

Previous studies that consistently find a direct effect of unemployment on imprisonment fail to consider other state policies that may be related both to unemployment and imprisonment. This ommission potentially biases in unknown ways the estimated effect of unemployment. This study uses postwar U.S. time series data to examine how the effects of unemployment on imprisonment are influenced by mental institutionalization, military enlistments and welfare rolls. No evidence of trade-offs in social control policies can be detected in these data, thus supporting the previous findings that unemployment directly affects prison admissions.

Dangerous children: Juvenile delinquency and judicial intervention in the Netherlands, 1960–1995

January 2002


42 Reads

In the continuing controversy in academic circles over the rise in reportedjuvenile violent delinquency, some scholars attribute it largely to theincrease in the actual number of offences while others emphasize changesin registration and intervention practices. This article reviews changes in theway justice workers try to control the behaviour of delinquent juveniles inthe Netherlands in the period 1960–1995. The study is based on ananalysis of files on adolescents and children placed in the Dutch juvenilejustice system by judges during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.Comparing the older and recent files reveals that the interventions ofjuvenile justice workers became less harshly. This process has coincided witha rise in the severity of violence and crimes committed by the youngsters.As a result juvenile justice workers intervene indeed more frequently fromthe beginning of the 1980s, but still in a less punitive way. The externalconstraints in the Dutch judicial system are rather gentle and prudent, whilethe youngsters exercise more severe violence and crimes, suggesting furtherinquiry to the degree of autonomy of, and interaction between, adultsocialization among professionals and youth socialization.

Feminist ideology in the United States: Its development from 1966–70 as the indicator of a general social movement

June 1978


9 Reads

The feminist ideology called attention to the fact that societies prepare women for the socio-economic roles they must fill and that in the United States an outdated biological determinism was creating value incongruence in the socialization of women. Because this biological conception existed throughout the legal, political, economic, and family structures, women were being discriminated against in all aspects of their lives. Now, more than ten years since initial mobilization, the feminist perspective, like the more general sociological perspective before it, has permeated “popular wisdom” in a myriad of subtle ways. This change in perspective is not yet complete, but it is not likely to change its course until the sociological perspective from which it is derived is itself reformulated through another expansion of intellectual frontiers.

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