View Full Version : Crime and punishment as a social responsibility

01-05-2016, 08:22 AM
''Her Majesty's Prison Service serves the public by keeping in custody those committed by the courts. Our duty is to look after them with humanity and help them lead law-abiding and useful lives in custody and after release.’’ HMP Mission Statement

In historical terms, the causation of criminality was seen as a personal fault; genes, predisposition, or that of belonging to a criminal class. Prisons were holding places before trial and/or execution and later, criminals were transported as cheap slave labour. Lesser crimes were dealt with by branding, flogging, or the use of public shaming; being put in the stocks. The practice of ‘birching’ (corporal punishment), was abolished in the UK as late as 1948 and in the U.S. State of Delaware in 1952.

The background
The UK 1779 Penitentiary Act, brought in the rehabilitation theory. The idea that crime was behavioural containing free will and a matter of choice and so could be altered. Foucault, the French philosopher distinguished this change as disciplining the soul instead of the body. In America, this is where the idea of correctional (altering) centers arose from – elsewhere re-education camps.
The correction, or rehabilitation (used in sentencing), contained three main points; rehabilitation (reductivist), of the individual, deterrence (specific and general - retributive), and just deserts (specific - retributive), punishment for the crime committed. Underlying this arose models of intervention, the most popular being medical – crime as a result of psychological abnormalities and educational – crime as result of the lack of basic skills.

Crime as a social construction
As western societies move towards a Marxist interpretation of crime causation, then as society precedes the individual, society (specifically capitalism), is responsible for the construct of the individual (determinism), and all actions. In other words, we again remove free will and see the individual as a product, which negates personal responsibility and makes crime a civil matter and society’s problem.

"This is not just a gun issue, it's also an issue of the kinds of communities that we're building, and for that we all share responsibility as citizens to fix it." President Obama.
In other words, we don’t fix the individual, but the underlying mechanisms of society.

''We want to share responsibility for tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour because we believe that we're all in this together. That we'll never get to grips with the problem if we leave it all to the police and the criminal justice system.’’ UK PM Cameron, on society shared responsibility for crime.

If capitalism and poverty causes crime, why were the rates so low in the 30s depression. The charts show the effects of liberalism post 60s, in the U.S. and UK, with a shift away from the individual to the societal.


If crime is now the result of a racist, capitalist, and oppressive society, then it is society that should change and not the individual. The legalized anarchy of ‘freedom’ in the name of ‘social justice’ are the new ‘shared’ collective responsibilities. In this context, criminals become victims and inequalities produce the reasons for crime, racism, poverty . . .
This is not a new concept and is practiced in many communist societies. If a society is perfect, then there can be no crime and theft is reported as a loss, which evades responsibility.

The modern equality based, non-judgmental, Police and Prison Service
A ‘Welcome home’ sign for many
Equality based 21st century ‘community’ prisons
12 choices of meals a day at HMP Pendlebury: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweet and supper
HMP Nottingham ‘Offender’ National Health Care Service
''We provide a full healthcare service including primary care, mental health, dental, optician and podiatry services.’’


Police cells become 'custody suites’, in case it offends. The Police Force to uphold law becomes a service to serve and protect and the Probation Service becomes The National Offenders Management Service – a one- stop customer service.


Equal responsibilities
If the individual is no longer responsible for their actions, it follows that they shouldn’t be punished, but simply removed from society for a period of time to stop them re-offending. Prisons are now seen as places of safety for those unable to function in society, largely due to psychological and addiction problems. Unfortunately, removing the individual from personal responsibility guarantees a high recidivism rate as society is unable to stop crime. In a non-judgmental and blame free society, individual dislike becomes institutionalized racism, mass welfare replaces individual failing and ‘Guns kill’ not people, as that would be discriminatory. No one is to blame, but it’s everybody’s fault.

01-05-2016, 10:30 AM
Health care is better in prison, in prison they have good teeth, the free population has good tooth.