- Filename: the-limits-of-the-criminal-sanction-by-herbert-l-packer.
- ISBN: OCLC:741435765
- Release Date: 1968
- Number of pages: 385
- Author: Herbert L. Packer
In the US, one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated. The size of the prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Approximately 2.4% of Americans are either on probation and parole. The US has the highest rate of criminal punishment in the Western world. The problem with American criminal law, as the philosopher of law Douglas Husak and many others see it, is that there is simply too much of it. Recent years have seen a dramatic expansion in the amount of criminal statutes, and in the resulting reliance on punishment for convictions under those laws. Husak argues that this is regrettable for several reasons, but most importantly, he says that much of the resulting punishment is unjust, excessive, and disproportionate. He also claims that it is destructive to the rule of law and undermines the principle of legality. What should be done? Husak's goal in this book is formulate a normative theory of criminalization that will allow us to distinguish which criminal laws are justified, and which are not--something he sees this as essential in order to reverse the trend towards too many criminal laws. The first part of his book makes the case that there is both too much criminal law and too much punishment, and clarifies the relationship between the two using empirical data. He then provides examples of dubious criminal laws enacted by legislatures, in particular statutes on drugs possession and guns. The latter part of the book develops his theory, which establishes principles that should set limits (both external and internal to the criminal law) on what we can and should criminalize.
The argument of this book begins with the proposition that there are certain things we must understand about the criminal sanction before we can begin to talk sensibly about its limits. First, we need to ask some questions about the rationale of the criminal sanction. What are we trying to do by defining conduct as criminal and punishing people who commit crimes? To what extent are we justified in thinking that we can or ought to do what we are trying to do? Is it possible to construct an acceptable rationale for the criminal sanction enabling us to deal with the argument that it is itself an unethical use of social power? And if it is possible, what implications does that rationale have for the kind of conceptual creature that the criminal law is? Questions of this order make up Part I of the book, which is essentially an extended essay on the nature and justification of the criminal sanction. We also need to understand, so the argument continues, the characteristic processes through which the criminal sanction operates. What do the rules of the game tell us about what the state may and may not do to apprehend, charge, convict, and dispose of persons suspected of committing crimes? Here, too, there is great controversy between two groups who have quite different views, or models, of what the criminal process is all about. There are people who see the criminal process as essentially devoted to values of efficiency in the suppression of crime. There are others who see those values as subordinate to the protection of the individual in his confrontation with the state. A severe struggle over these conflicting values has been going on in the courts of this country for the last decade or more. How that struggle is to be resolved is a second major consideration that we need to take into account before tackling the question of the limits of the criminal sanction. These problems of process are examined in Part II. Part III deals directly with the central problem of defining criteria for limiting the reach of the criminal sanction. Given the constraints of rationale and process examined in Parts I and II, it argues that we have over-relied on the criminal sanction and that we had better start thinking in a systematic way about how to adjust our commitments to our capacities, both moral and operational.
'Preventative Justice' looks at the use of coercive preventive measures by the state, both within and beyond criminal law. Examining preventive laws, measures, and institutions in and outside the criminal law, it explores the justifications given for using coercion to protect the public from harm.
This is a reprint of a book first published by Little, Brown in 1978. George Fletcher is working on a new edition, which will be published by Oxford in three volumes, the first of which is scheduled to appear in January of 2001. Rethinking Criminal Law is still perhaps the most influential and often cited theoretical work on American criminal law. This reprint will keep this classic work available until the new edition can be published.
DNA exonerations have shattered confidence in the criminal justice system by exposing how often we have convicted the innocent and let the guilty walk free. In this unsettling analysis, Garrett examines what went wrong in the cases of the first 250 people exonerated by DNA testing, and proposes systemic reforms.
First work of its kind (i.e., a handbook of authoritative, original essays) in the philosophy of criminal law The book covers a wide variety of topics including criminalization of obscenity and hate speech, the insanity defense, pleas of self-defense by battered women, the death penalty, and clemency. This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose research and studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. Readership: Philosophers who specialize in legal philosophy, moral philosophy, or political philosophy; Criminal Law theorists and scholars; Criminologists; and Philosophy graduate students with interests in moral, political or legal philosophy.
Bronislaw Malinowski achieved international recognition as the founder of "functionalism" in social anthropology, based on his studies of Melanesian society on the Trobriand Islands off New Guinea. His Crime and Custom in Savage Society is now one of the classic works of modern anthropology. In his book, Malinowski describes and analyzes the ways in which Trobriand Islanders structure and maintain the social and economic order of their tribe. This is essential reading for anyone interested in anthropology.
Rule of law has vanished in America’s criminal justice system. Prosecutors decide whom to punish; most accused never face a jury; policing is inconsistent; plea bargaining is rampant; and draconian sentencing fills prisons with mostly minority defendants. A leading criminal law scholar looks to history for the roots of these problems—and solutions.
Why are certain methods of punishment adopted or rejected in a given social situation? To what extent is the development of penal methods determined by basic social relations? The answers to these questions are complex, and go well beyond the thesis that institutionalized punishment is simply for the protection of society. While today's punishment of offenders often incorporates aspects of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology, at one time there was a more pronounced difference in criminal punishment based on class and economics. Punishment and Social Structure originated from an article written by Georg Rusche in 1933 entitled "Labor Market and Penal Sanction: Thoughts on the Sociology of Criminal Justice." Originally published in Germany by the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, this article became the germ of a theory of criminology that laid the groundwork for all subsequent research in this area. Rusche and Kirchheimer look at crime from an historical perspective, and correlate methods of punishment with both temporal cultural values and economic conditions. The authors classify the history of crime into three primary eras: the early Middle Ages, in which penance and fines were the predominant modes of punishment; the later Middle Ages, in which harsh corporal punishment and capital punishment moved to the forefront; and the seventeenth century, in which the prison system was more fully developed. They also discuss more recent forms of penal practice, most notably under the constraints of a fascist state. The majority of the book was translated from German into English, and then reshaped by Rusche's co-author, Otto Kirchheimer, with whom Rusche actually had little discussion. While the main body of Punishment and Social Structure are Rusche's ideas, Kirchheimer was responsible for bringing the book more up-to-date to include the Nazi and fascist era. Punishment and Social Structure is a pioneering work that sets a paradigm for the study of crime and punishment.
It is conventional wisdom that there is a grave crisis in our criminal courts: the widespread reliance on plea-bargaining and the settlement of most cases with just a few seconds before the judge endanger the rights of defendants. Not so, says Malcolm Feeley in this provocative and original book. Basing his argument on intensive study of the lower criminal court system, Feeley demonstrates that the absence of formal “due process” is preferred by all of the court’s participants, and especially by defendants. Moreover, he argues, “it is not all clear that as a group defendants would be better off in a more ‘formal’ court system,” since the real costs to those accused of misdemeanors and lesser felonies are not the fines and prison sentences meted out by the court, but the costs incurred before the case even comes before the judge—lost wages from missed work, commissions to bail bondsmen, attorney’s fees, and wasted time. Therefore, the overriding interest of the accused is not to secure the formal trappings of the judicial process, but to minimize the time, and money, spent dealing with the court. Focusing on New Haven, Connecticut’s, lower court, Feeley found that the defense and prosecution often agreed that the pre-trial process was sufficient to “teach the defendant a lesson.” In effect, Feeley demonstrates that the informal practices of the lower courts as they are presently constituted are more “just” than they are usually given credit for being. “... a book that should be read by anyone who is interested in understanding how courts work and how the criminal sanction is administered in modern, complex societies.”— Barry Mahoney, Institute for Court Management, Denver “It is grounded in a firm grasp of theory as well as thorough field research.”—Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court Judge." a feature that has long been the hallmark of good American sociology: it recreates a believable world of real men and women.”—Paul Wiles, Law & Society Review. "This book's findings are well worth the attention of the serious criminal justice student, and the analyses reveal a thoughtful, probing, and provocative intelligence....an important contribution to the debate on the role and limits of discretion in American criminal justice. It deserves to be read by all those who are interested in the outcome of the debate." —Jerome H. Skolnick, American Bar Foundation Research Journal
In this brilliant and immensely readable book, Lawrence M. Friedman tells the whole fascinating story of American law from its beginnings in the colonies to the present day. By showing how close the life of the law is to the economic and political life of the country, he makes a complex subject understandable and engrossing. A History of American Law presents the achievements and failures of the American legal system in the context of America's commercial and working world, family practices, and attitudes toward property, government, crime, and justice. Now completely revised and updated, this groundbreaking work incorporates new material regarding slavery, criminal justice, and twentieth-century law. For laymen and students alike, this remains the only comprehensive authoritative history of American law.
Many legal experts no longer share an unbounded trust in the potential of law to govern society efficiently and responsibly. They often experience the 'limits of the law', as they are confronted with striking inadequacies in their legal toolbox, with inner inconsistencies of the law, with problems of enforcement and obedience, and with undesired side-effects, and so on. The contributors to this book engage in the challenging task of making sense of this experience. Against the background of broader cultural transformations (such as globalisation, new technologies, individualism and cultural diversity), they revisit a wide range of areas of the law and map different types of limits in relation to some basic functions and characteristics of the law. Additionally, they offer a set of strategies to manage justifiably law's limits, such as dedramatising law's limits, conceptual refinement ('constructivism'), striking the right balance between different functions of the law, seeking for complementarity between law and other social practices.
Presents the field accurately and completely in a way that is understandable to undergraduates. Includes a rich collection of carefully edited classic and contemporary articles. Contains framing essays written by the Editors.