Criminal Justice Gaetz S July 2004 Safe Term Paper

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Criminal Justice

Gaetz, S. (July 2004). Safe streets for whom? Homeless youth, social exclusion, and criminal victimization. Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice.

This journal article reports the researcher's survey findings regarding the prevalence of victimization among street youths compared to domiciled youths. Gaetz defines the street youth operatively as "people up to the age of 24 who are 'absolutely periodically, or temporarily without shelter, as well as those who are at substantial risk of being in the street in the immediate future" (433). Survey findings show that just as expected, victimization mostly occur among the street than domiciled youth. Moreover, street youth reporting of criminal victimization is not common among both males and females. 41.7% of the respondents who have been victimized "told a friend" about the incident of victimization, 33.1% "did not tell anyone," and a far 17.2% reported the victimization to their partner (boyfriend or girlfriend) (439).

The apparent lack of security among the street youth led to the formulation of strategies that aims to deter future incidences of victimization. Most of the respondents mentioned changing residences to avoid being involved in crime incidence (30.4%), carrying weapons (27.8%) in their possession wherever they go, and even go so far as altering their physical appearance in order to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim (19%). This is especially true among females, where the need to "look tough" deters the occurrence of sexual assault, which is a common form of street crime (443). The following survey findings, the researcher explains, is the result of the effect of social exclusion that street youth experience, making them, in effect, "vulnerable to criminal acts" (446). The researcher further elucidates that the lack of "adequate housing and employment," as well as "alienation, distance, and vulnerability" have become the negative consequence of social exclusion.

Indeed, true to Gaetz's analysis, the lack of social integration among the street youth to their respective communities leads to their abuse, where apparent lack of support of street youth by the community and the government make them stigmatized in the eyes of other people and potential victims or accomplices to crimes and offenses. These statistical findings is relevant to the study of criminal justice because it provides insightful facts and information about possible avenues that the government and civil society can adopt in order to alleviate the occurrence not only of street youth victimization, but also occurrences of street crimes.

Gabor, T. (July 2004). Inflammatory rhetoric on racial profiling can undermine police services. Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice.

In this interesting commentary, Gabor looks at the contemporary issue of racial profiling against members of ethnic minorities by the police force in Canada. Using relevant literature and secondary statistical sources about the topic, the researcher argues how racial profiling is a detrimental activity that deters efficient performance of police forces. In the article, the author takes great care in establishing a proper definition and description of the activity of racial profiling as it applies to law enforcers. The operational definition of racial profiling in the article is "a form of racial bias whereby citizens are stopped, questioned, searched, or even arrested on the basis of their minority status per se, rather than due to a demonstrated, elevated risk of lawbreaking" (457).

The author also mentions the operational definition that is formulated and adopted by most researchers (in his study of relevant literature). Racial profiling, as defined by most researchers on the culture of law enforcement, "includes increased police activity in a minority community even when segments of that community seek additional protection or where crime patterns indicate the need for a greater police presence." Upon establishing these definitions, Gabor discusses the implications racial profiling has on the efficiency of the police force in performing their duties as law enforcers.

He recognizes the difficulty that the police encounters when confronting the issue of racial profiling. As Gabor puts it, "[p]olice services may find themselves in a no-win situation in these circumstances" -- that is,

If they fail to respond to the concerns of residents in these areas, they may be accused of insensitivity toward the relevant minority group. If they take aggressive measures, however, they may face accusations of profiling and of over-policing minority neighborhoods (460).

Apart from problems relating with members of minority communities, the police also face the dilemma of bad publicity by the media, which oftentimes portray the police as aggressive and abusive to the members of these minority communities. These are just examples of the problems that concern racial profiling studies nowadays. This issue has a significant implication in the domain of criminal justice: the author asserts that lack of empirical studies on racial profiling shall impede the progress towards a better and more efficient performance of the police force in the conduct of their duties. Subsisting to "anecdotes" and narratives of conflict between the police and ethnic minority members only intensifies the already antagonistic relationship between the two. Thus, in order to assess the degree and frequency of occurrence of racial profiling among the police force, it is then imperative to formulate an operational definition that encompasses all kinds of racial profiling, as experienced and narrated by the members of ethnic minorities and the police. Gabor's proposal is agreeable, since it is through a rigid and conscientious study of the issue of racial profiling that the society shall know whether the police have been guilty of committing racial profiling activities or not. This also puts a lot of promise to the future of law enforcement policies in dealing with ethnic minority members at the event that investigation on a crime of offense happens.

Chambliss, W. (May 2004). On the symbiosis between criminal law and criminal behavior. Criminology, Vol. 42, Issue 2.

Chambliss' speech centers on the historical discussion of criminal behavior in Western society throughout the years. The speaker chooses to discuss the issue of criminal behavior on a historical context because this allows his audience to bear in mind that criminal behavior is influenced not only with the personality of the criminal, but this also goes into interplay with the criminal's social environment. That is, there are other external factors that lead to the reinforcement of criminal behavior among criminals. In supporting this main argument, Chambliss then goes on to discuss the history of criminal behavior vis-a-vis the implementation of criminal laws in English society during the 12th century, as well as crime incidents happening in the contemporary times, such as the Vietnam and Korean wars.

The speaker mentions the reinforcement of the crime of smuggling during the American colonial period as one of the manifestations that illustrate how criminal laws often lead to reinforcing rather than deterring the occurrence of the particular crime. The legislation enforcing American produced goods and materials be routed only to Britain brought about the prevalence of smuggling, where the Americans' need to become economically prosperous led to the utter neglect of the said legislation. Because it is considered a crime to route American goods to other countries, smuggling became a crime that is supported and reinforced in the Americas during the colonial period.

This example brings into light how formulation and enforcement of laws must be crafted that does not stand in the way of the society's culture and economy. This means that legislation must be sensitive to the current state of the issue or activity as it relates to the society in general; the example of smuggling in colonial America shows how crime behavior is reinforced and even encouraged because this brings about economic profit. Thus, legislation must reflect the benefits that society can gain from it in order to become effective and, in effect, deters the commitment of crime or disobedience to the said law or regulation. Applying this insight in the domain of criminal justice, formulating policies that seek to prevent the occurrence of crimes and offenses should be made in the context of the prevalent economic and political culture of the society.

Tyler, T. And C. Wakslak. (May 2004). Profiling and police legitimacy: procedural justice, attributions of motive, and acceptance of police authority. Criminology, Vol. 42, Issue 2.

Tyler & Wakslak's study on racial profiling supports Gabor's assertion in his commentary (please refer to the second journal review of this paper) that there is a need for more empirical research focusing on the issue of racial profiling. Because of the sensitive nature of the issue, racial profiling must be discussed in a venue where objectivity is observed, and it is only through empirical research that policy-makers, law enforcers, researchers, and academics will be able to discuss without any bias appropriate measures or procedures that should be adopted to determine and prevent the occurrence of racial profiling among the police forces.

The researchers' study is cross-sectional and is composed of four autonomously conducted surveys, of which three are through telephone (phone-in) and one as mail in. The surveys are progressive in nature, where each survey is a step towards including more in-depth…[continue]

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