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CJS 220_WEEK 2_ASSIGNMENT2 - Assignment 2 Law as a Living...

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Assignment 2 Law as a “Living Body” Course: CJS 220 By Chad Henry
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The theory of Law as a Living Body postulates that the body of law contains many characteristics shared by a living entity. In particular, the theory holds that, like biological organisms, the law will adapt its behavior to deal with environmental circumstances in which it finds itself. This theory suggests that the law interacts with its environment (the society in which it is enforced) in a manner similar to that of living beings. Taking into account factors such as technological advancements, sociological changes and other factors that might affect fundamental fairness, the law adapts to new circumstances according to need. In theory the mechanism of legal change is through new legislation and court interpretation. In practice, however, a majority of adjustment made to the body of law is done on a de facto basis as enforcement agencies struggle to balance the letter of the law with the sociological realities in which they live. (Decker, 2003) Thus, the laws on the books, including methods and modes of enforcement and punishment, are adjusted on the fly by factors such as rate of violation, availability of enforcement resources and community mood. An example of this phenomenon is the enforcement of mandatory minimum punishments for certain drug offenders. (Decker, 2003) These laws contributed to an already overcrowded prison system when passed in the late 1980s. (Decker, 2003) To cope with this reality, the court system and its officers began to finesse the written language of the laws so that fewer suspects are charged with crimes that carry mandatory minimums.
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CJS 220_WEEK 2_ASSIGNMENT2 - Assignment 2 Law as a Living...

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