SP Lecture Notes

SP Lecture Notes - Social Psych Notes 3.5.14 History o For...

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Social Psych Notes 3.5.14 History o For most of the 20 th century, rehabilitation was seen as the primary reason for incarceration. Prison was supposed to be a place where criminals could learn how to “go straight.” Juvenile detention centers were called reformatories or reform schools. Prison Reform o The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) clearly demonstrated that the prison environment is not conducive to rehabilitation. In fact, you can argue that prisons actually contribute to an increase in crime by fostering violence and by dehumanizing both guards and inmates. o Prison reform movements focused on making prisons better at rehabilitation. The Death of Rehabilitation o Beginning in the mid-1970s, rehabilitation was replaced by incapacitation and punishment as the primary purposes for incarceration. o Philosophically, we “lock people up for no other reason than they deserve it and for no other purpose than to punish them.” The Rise of Determinate Sentencing o Rehabilitation is associated with indeterminate sentencing. The length of a sentence, within limits, is based on how long the rehabilitation process is believed to take. o Sentencing decisions rest with judges, prison administrators, and parole boards. o Punishment is associated with determinate sentencing. The length of a sentence is based on the severity of the crime. o Judges and judicial decision makers have little, if any, input into deciding how long a particular prisoner should remain behind bars. o Sentencing decisions are made not by judicial experts, but by legislators. Mandatory minimum sentencing – no outside factors impact your sentence just because there is a set minimum time for each given crime
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Because legislators are elected officials, prison sentences become political decisions, not judicial decisions. o This leads to rigid sentencing guidelines that undermine the role of situation and context in the allocation of punishment. The Politics of Imprisonment o Placing sentencing decisions in the hands of politicians, who were often elected on their claims of being “tough on crime,” lead to dramatic increases in the prison population. o McConville (1989, p. 928) stated, “The desire for punishment seems to have taken on a life of its own.” Sentenced State and Federal Prisoners o Number of prisoners in jail increases significantly faster than incarceration rate (# of prisoners per 100,000 people in population) from 1980 (~300,000) to 2010 (~1,600,000) o Incarceration rate increases from 111 in 1980 to 500 in 2010 Discrimination in Sentencing o 1 in 3 African American males can expect to spend time in jail o Men are more likely to go to jail than women o Black men > white men > Hispanic men > other men in jail o White women > black women > Hispanic women > other women in jail (though all relatively similar) o Demographics in jail: 33.12% White 36.46% Black 21.98% Hispanic 8.44% Other 93.3% Male 6.7% Female o Demographics in population: 63.69% white 12.22% black
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16.35% Hispanic 7.33% other 49.17% male 50.83% female 3.28.14
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