Most people believe that the legal system’s use of punishment to deter lawbreakers and criminal activities is appropriate. We do not, however, take into account how punishment makes it possible for law enforcement and the legal system to oppress disadvantaged and minority communities even more, as well as how it makes a person much more vulnerable to the control and involvement of the legal system.
These “at-risk populations” typically consist of minorities or marginalised groups. This “at-risk” designation implies that the judicial system couples moral fear with race crime. Stereotypes and the disproportionate number of Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous persons in our prison systems contribute to our image of certain racial groups as being more “prone” to commit crimes.
The way the legal system manages criminals is to continually bring them before the courts, for instance, by using their criminal histories as justification for more supervision, restraints, or jail. The state also uses “banishment” to restrict who has access to specific locations. This implies that the state has the power to regulate things like when and where you may enter specific locations, who you can speak with, how you can access products and services, and even the’spaces’ that you have occupied in the past and present.
To mend the societal peace
In society, punishment is frequently viewed as a way to mend the societal peace that has been broken. When the group’s and/or society’s common values, morality, norms, and identity are threatened, this fracturing takes place. Shared social norms and values are governed by the state, and those who violate them are subject to varying degrees of punishment, including fines, community service, jail time, and occasionally even execution by the state. Punishment may disclose the link between actors, institutions, administrative strategies, and social processes through establishing and maintaining inequality among the population, in addition to being a technique of resolving threats to communal peace.
To exert control over the lives of offenders
This essay makes the case that punishment establishes social order by examining the ways in which the state uses punishment to exert control over the lives of offenders or members of the minority group. The State does this by utilising civil violations as justification for ongoing surveillance of the offender’s life and by using previous and upcoming infractions as further justification. In the meanwhile, the legal system is a perplexing and humiliating experience for criminals who join the criminal court system.
The State also use space as a tool for “moving punishment” when it expels unwanted residents of certain places through expulsion, eviction orders, or concentrated hardship. Finally, the State uses the idea of the racialized “criminal man” to incite moral panic and justify confinement, harsh punishment, and the exclusion of people of colour from places that are frequented by upper-class members of society.
Punishment establishes social order
By exerting control over the people in a community, punishment establishes social order. Since most crimes committed in the United States are misdemeanors (small offenses), the penalty is often modest and takes the form of a fee or community service. Despite the fact that the punishment is minimal (in terms of severity) and serves as a deterrent, the state uses it to exert control over these people. If the prosecution has enough aggravating factors to use against you, such as a history of committing minor offenses, for instance, misdemeanors may be upgraded to felonies. A felony is a “mark,” or label, that enables the state to control you, claims Kohler-Hausmann (2013). This symbol informs people or organizations in a society that you are a criminal, which restricts your access to opportunities and prevents you from fully participating in society.
Harassment and surveillance
More precisely, the marginalized populations—immigrants, persons of color, and minority groups—tend to be barred from participation in society. These disadvantaged communities are also the ones that consistently face police harassment and surveillance. As an illustration, Spider had a close call with death in Rios (2011) reading because one of his friends was wrongly thought to be a member of a rival gang because he was wearing red. Due of this occurrence, the police classified Spider as a gang member, which allowed them to continue to monitor him. Because of this classification, the police may choose to bring significant charges against Spider in the future. This tagging maintains poor, people of color in this loop by funneling them into the criminal justice system.
Manipulate social order
This cycle shows how the state may manipulate social order by using minor convictions as a justification for more monitoring and interference in people’s lives. In order to govern your life and lessen your risk of committing a crime, the criminal justice system employs minor charges or labels to show your propensity for crime. For instance, deciding which places you may and cannot visit, which individuals you must avoid interacting with, and if you must participate in a program for alcohol, drugs, or anger management. Following their admission to the criminal justice system, criminals are further controlled by the tate by making them through humiliating formalities and performance reviews.
The confused, uncomfortable, and humiliating procedure one goes through during a trial is referred to as procedural hassle. According to Kohler-Hausmann (2013), the administrative hassle results in “secondary prisonization” of the offenders because they are unable to control procedural aspects of their trial, such as how long it will last or how long the case will take overall. As a result, they are perpetually confused and victimised by the penal system.
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