M‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍arxist account on class and imprisonment

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M‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍arxist account on class and imprisonment Marx would argue that the state operate in the interest of the economic system and ruling class rather than society as a whole and the practices and ideologies of the CJS promote this. The policies of the CJS “reinforce the position of powerful sections of society over the less powerful” (Cavandino et al, 2013) Punishing people for breaking the laws that maintain the current state of affairs reinforce the power and privilege of the ruling class. Relation between class and imprisonment It is a form of social control. Penal policy “responds not to rising criminal insecurity but to the social insecurity spawned by the fragmentation of wage labour and the shakeup of the ethnoracial hierarchy” (Wacquant, 2009). The threat of Imprisonment is to ensure the poor remain submissive and accept precarious labor, low wages, job insecurity. (Wacquant, 2009) Social Exclusion Unit report (2002) Class bias in the criminal justice system Three main biases – social class, race and gender “Punishment an offender suffers bears little relation either to the offence or the characteristics of the offender, being more a result of local sentencing culture or the whims of the particular sentencers”. (Cavandino et al, 2013) “Bias can operate at any or every stage of the criminal process, stages which include investigation and charge by the police, prosecution decisions by the Crown Prosecution Service, bail decisions, court verdicts and sentencing decisions”. (Cavandino et al, 2013) Although the Criminal Justice Act (1991) prohibits “discriminating against any persons on ‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍the ground of race or sex or any other improper grounds”. Biases occurs “not through deliberate discrimination… but from unconscious prejudices and stereotypes… that some kinds of people are more criminal than others” (Cavandino et al, 2013) Why working class, unskilled, unemployed and low-income people are over-represented in the penal population The bias against the poor starts at the point at which legislators decide what is to be a crime (Reiman and Leighton, 2017). – Police less likely to suspect or investigate middle-class people and their offenses relatively invisible (White collar crime) The police’s assessment of the youth’s character determines the officer’s decisions. Failing to show respect resulted in harsher sentencing. (Piliavin & Briar, 1964) Middle-class juvenile offenders receive lighter punishments like cautions compared to their working-class counterparts. (Bennett, 1979) Middle class can afford the best lawyers. Bibliography Bennett, T. (1979) The social distribution of criminal labels. British Journal of criminology, 19, 134-45. Cavadino, M., Dignan, J. and Mair, G. (2013) The Penal System: An Introduction. 5th ed. London: Sage, Ch. 9, pp. 282-287. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2002) Mental Health and Social Exclusion Unit Report Piliavin, I. & Briars, S. (1964). Police Encounters with Juveniles, American Journal of Sociology, 70, . Wacquant, L. (2009) Punishing the poor. The neoliberal government of social insecurity. Duke University Press Reiman, J. and Leighton, P. (2017) The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. Ideology, Class, and Crimina‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍l Justice. 11th ed. London: Routledge

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