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Criminal Justice

Gangs: The Societies within the Society

Article and Ideas

       Martin Sanchez-Jankowski’s 2010 article, “Gangs and Social Change,” seeks to reexamine traditional and/or commonly held perceptions regarding gangs and gang activity.  The author notes at the outset the immense study devoted to the subject, but he loses no time in citing the typical approaches made in all such research; namely, that gangs are viewed as groups of individuals brought together because of similarly deviant or antisocial tendencies, or as groups gathering to engage in some form of criminal or deviant behavior.  What is evident, then, is that the author disputes the motivational cores so frequently relied upon, for he believes that gang structure indicates something more inherently reflective of society as a whole.  This point of view is seen in the two claims, or hypotheses, Sanchez-Jankowski puts forth: that gangs are not viewed correctly when they are approached as randomized assortments of deviant individuals, for their organizational aspect consistently defines them; and that this organizational or structural component is both traditionally successful and necessary in comprehending how gangs function (Sanchez-Jankowski, 2010,  p. 136).  The author then indicates that he will support these ideas through investigating and citing the drawbacks in the greater part of gang research, and subsequently presenting in greater depth the rationales behind his theories.

Prior Literature

       As Sanchez-Janlowski responsibly explores, there is a great deal of research and literature regarding the subject, and he examines important facets of it in turns.  Focusing more on work done in recent decades, the author turns to research which, as he points out in his introduction, promotes the basis for gang activity as resulting from displaced individuals coming together due to the commonality of marginalized experience.  He cites Horowitz and Vigil, for example, whose studies on Mexican American gangs are based on the formations as occurring from loss of individual or cultural identity within the mainstream society; the gang provides a sense of self-worth not afforded by the dominant culture.  Sanchez-Jankowski also presents the thinking in regard to African American and Puerto Rican gangs as evolving due to unstable home environments, typically marked by absent fathers.  The author challenges both schools of thought through identifying similarities employed to validate the gang formations which exist for untold numbers of youths not affiliated with gangs (Sanchez-Jankowski, 2010,  p. 137).  Put another way, the author disputes the validity of the approaches, in that determining factors are attached “after the fact.”  This literature cited, then, relates to the author’s hypothesis only in terms of substantiating his own theories.  Evincing consistent integrity, Sanchez-Jankowski presents multiple theories going to deprivation and deviance as virtually accidentally enabling the gang, just as he systematically points out the shortcomings. 

       More pertinent to the author’s thinking is the work cited by Fromm, which explores how distinctive and intelligent personalities, possessed of strong senses of economic and cultural capital, goes to gang formation.  This “defiant individualist” type, the author asserts, is both typically found from low-income backgrounds and a gang fixture.  Literature and research is only just emerging on this approach, which connects strongly to the author’s theories.  Evidence, nonetheless, exists; Sullivan’s study of Brooklyn gangs reveals a consistent and active presence of this calculating “defiance,” in that intelligence and cooperation within the gang is both structured and a means of “getting over,” or achieving perceived success (White, 2001,  p.  249). 

Furthermore, other work supports Sanchez-Jankowski’s claim that gang study typically relies on results and behaviors of the groups as wholes, ignoring the critical component of individual entry and motivation, aside from the standard rationales of deprivation and deviance.  Most gang research, even today, does not take into account those key variables (Katz, Jackson-Jacobs,  2004,  p. 111). 

Methods, Results

       Sanchez-Jankowski employs a qualitative approach, and one largely observational in nature.  More exactly, to establish his reasoning as to the social validity of the gang as a reflection of organizational strategy, he explores gang trends and activity through a trajectory of eras.  Setting aside the traditional focuses on deviant pathology and specific marginalization as bases for gangs, the author asserts that gangs more ordinarily represent rational forms of human agency prompted by adverse circumstances.  This is then supported by his examinations of gangs as arising under specific and widespread social conditions: immigration, blue-collar expansion, drug deregulation, mass incarceration, and monopoly behavior.  In each circumstance, and citing extensive research pertinent to each, the author makes a strong case for the integral structural aspect, if not impetus, of gangs.  He notes, for instance, that early 20th century immigration virtually encouraged gang formation through its emphasis on the defiant and aggressive individualism necessary to survive in environments typically poor and facing extreme discrimination.  Interestingly, the blue-collar expansion of the mid-20th century is presented by the author as generating an actively intelligent motive going to gang formation, in that the young men comprehended the blue-collar work of their parents as unsatisfying, and organized to create leisure for themselves.  The same processes of an organizational response fused with defiant individualism are presented as evident in the Italian Mafia’s loss of drug trade control; essentially, the young men of the neighborhoods organized in ways calculated to weaken the control and thus secure participation for themselves (Sanchez-Jankowski,  2010,  pp. 136-139).   Drawing upon documented fact and reports, the author traces an irrefutable commonality in regard to gangs over multiple eras and in differing conditions; namely, that the unique social and economic circumstances serve to generate the coming together of the more defiant young people, and in ways pointing to strategic thinking and motivations of actual advantages. 

Assessment and Implications

       It is important in assessing Sanchez-Jankowski’s article to comprehend several factors.  To begin with, and to his credit, the author detaches himself from the moral aspects so inevitably associated with gang study.  This is not to suggest that prior research is tainted, but rather that the violence and criminality of gang activity inevitably influences perspectives and approaches; given the prevalence of deviant activity of gangs, it then follows that this largely fuels investigation, and motivation becomes narrowed.  Admirably, Sanchez-Jankowski distances himself from these associations, which enables him to more clinically examine the organizational elements which, as he proposes, are very much within the motivations.  Then, the author is careful to acknowledge his own reliance upon elements common to gangs and non-gang individuals.  He notes that, as he is dissatisfied with approaches that define gangs in randomized ways, most “defiant individuals” do not join gangs.  More important, however, is that

gangs often contain these types, which indicates a coming together of organizational and individual interests (Sanchez-Jankowski, 1991, p. 29).  Through a uniform commitment to scholarly integrity and what must be termed insight, the author ultimately presents a persuasive and somewhat novel approach to gang study, observing inescapable traits and patterns within gangs reflective of societal organizations of all kinds. 

       It seems clear, based on the quality of this article, that the intended audience encompasses serious students of criminology, as well as experts in the field.  Sanchez-Jankowski has certainly provided me with a new perspective, as his thorough examination of gangs in differing eras and conditions convinces me that structure and ambition are as pivotal to the gang, if not more so, than the traditionally held motives of disenfranchisement and deviant personality.  No matter what criminal or violent activities are undertaken, I now perceive a “method to the madness,” and understand that viewing gangs as gatherings of weak, sociopathic, or socially deviant young individuals vastly underestimates the constructions themselves.  This being the case, the implications for the criminal justice system seem to me extraordinary.  In a sense, gangs are more challenging as seen by Sanchez-Jankowski because the formations of them are far more complex – and reflective of normal organizational processes – that has been believed.  These are, criminality notwithstanding, organizations in place to pursue agendas, and consequently no blanket criminal justice policy may be effective in dealing with them.  The crime must be addressed, but it may be that efforts to eradicate the gangs themselves will be seen as futile, for the social conditions will enable them whenever two or more “defiant individuals” choose to defy circumstances in a collective fashion.

References

Katz, J., & Jackson-Jacobs, C.  (2004).  The Criminologists’ Gang.  In  Summer, C., The            Blackwell Companion to Criminology.  (pp. 91-124).  Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Sanchez-Jankowski, M.  (2010).  Gangs and Social Change.  In Walsh, A., & Hemmens, C.,       Introduction to Criminology: A Text/Reader.  (pp. 135-142)Thousand Oaks: Sage      Publications.

Sanchez-Jankowski, M.  (1991).  Islands in the Street: Gangs and American Urban Society.       Berkeley: University of California :Press. White, S. O.  (2001).  Handbook of Youth and Justice.  New York: Springer.

Categories
Criminal Justice

Mertonian Strain Theory

Applying Strain Theory as explained by Merton, social and environmental factors are the biggest predictors of antisocial behavior. Literally using the word “strain”, when it is placed on the development of an apprehended offender of a crime, Merton stated that this is very much a product of the social norms and values the person acquired throughout their lives. On the whole, it is generally not possible for a person to change dramatically before sentencing; there is simply not enough time for a sincere change to be apparent.

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Criminal Justice

Administrative Search

Introduction

The events of September 11 have been said to be a “wake-up” call for all Americans as it deals with security issues. The events of 9/11 exposed the weaknesses that airline systems were currently subject to. Although the weapons were not guns and bombs, but the actual air craft, many Americans were left wondering how something like this could happen in the United States of America. Since that time there has been an emergence of new technology to have aviation security personnel keep fliers safe. Nonetheless, many fliers feel that security measures are infringing upon their personal freedoms. Early on, there were more intensive pat downs, removing shoes, but more recently the emergence of full body scanners raised much controversy. These devices allow security workers to view a virtual naked image of the flier. Customers have expressed concern with the possible misuse of this device. Many customers are expressing their view that certain devices are infringing upon their constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment of the United States constitution states:

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Criminal Justice

Airport Security

Introduction

Prior to the 9/11 terror attacks, airport security merely consisted of a serious of questions: did you pack your own bag, had that bag been in your possession all day, and whether or not any strangers had asked you to carry anything aboard the plane for them. After these serious of questions, one would just walk through a metal detector and board his/her flight. As a result of 9/11 terrorist attacks, sharp or pointed objects, box cutters, and other cutting tools have been banned on international and domestic flights. As early as 2002, all bags were checked for explosive devices. By 2004, new mandated regulations require all passengers’ jackets be x-rayed regardless to if the metal detector was activated during the scan. Customers are often asked to remove their shoes, especially if they had steel shanks that would trigger detectors. The list goes on and on and potentially agitates some customers. In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the federal government enacted many laws to ensure the safety of all fliers. President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act on November 19, 2001. This act started a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The two chief deviations in airport security noticeable to customers were the federalization of customer safety screening at all U.S. commercial airports by November 19, 2002, and the requirement to begin screening all checked baggage by December 31, 2002 (Blalock, G., Vrinda K., & Simon, D., 2005). As a result of new technology and the implementation of heightened security measures airports are much safer than they were prior to 9/11.

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Criminal Justice

How to Handle Evidence

The three major types of  evidences mainly  ballistics, blood and body fluids, and fingerprints are very important in any case to ensure that the case before the court have all the necessary elements of the cases of the various cases involved. Ballistics evidence is that evidence obtained from a crime scene where fire arms were used. Ballistic evidence enables the court to get the relevant information pertaining to the type of the firearms used, the types of the bullets the distance at which the bullets were short and the time. Ballistic evidences are collected by putting on gloves, recording the serial number of the fire arm, ensuring  that they are unloaded before taken to the laboratory by checking the cartridges and placing them in a cardboard made of wood where the arms should be properly packed to avoid shifting.  The bullets from the crime scene should also place in separate containers such as envelopes or pill boxes where they are taken to the laboratory.  Body fluids and blood are important identifying individuals involved in a crime by relying on the DNA tests. These evidences can be collected by  putting on protective gloves and applying the following methods; scrapping which is done using a scalpel or a sharp razor, tape lifting method which can applied in cases where the evidence are in a dried state,  blood and body fluids can also be collected  by wet absorption method. After collection the samples are taken to the laboratory for testing. Finger prints are important evidences that can be used to identify the individuals involved in a crime. Finger prints are collected through screening of immovable objects in the crime scene. Tools such as black powder or magnetic powder are used to during the screening process; the screened samples are captured by a camera and taken to the laboratory for testing.   Admissibility of the evidences depends on the results from the laboratory which are based on scientific tests done in the laboratory (Cohen, 2010).

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Criminal Justice

Law Enforcement Model

Effectiveness of the law enforcement model in combating WTC bombing is highly doubtable due to the fact; the provisions of the law at that time did not enable government agencies such as the FBI to execute their duties in a proper manner. The model was characterized with hoop holes in management and resource allocation and thereby paving way for terrorist to successfully execute their attacks.  The model left the FBI with many blames  than it had expected, for instance before the bombing, most agents of the FBI were spread internationally conducting investigations on terrorist activities on the international front while the activities at home were not given much attention thereby creating room for terrorist to attack the building (Hartocollis, 260).

Categories
Criminal Justice

Airport Profiling

Introduction

Screening passengers at airports has emerged over the past decade as a complex practice that is required to ensure the safety of all passengers boarding both domestic and international flights. However, this practice is difficult to manage in many ways because it unnecessarily targets some passengers and not others on the basis of assumptions that are made regarding skin color, clothing, or other characteristics that may lead airport screeners to conduct excessive profiling techniques. With this process, some people are likely to be screened extensively without just cause, while others who might be suspect or from different questionable backgrounds are not screened using the same approach. This is a difficult situation to understand from the perspective of the typical passenger because the manner in which screening and profiling is conducted is not consistent, nor does it provide any greater means of safety and security for passengers. These considerations must be examined more closely to determine how to best move forward in the development of a more effective strategy for passenger profiling that includes potential terrorists.

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Criminal Justice

Start Method

The START model of triage stands for Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment; it is the best approach that enables the EMS team to handle emergency problems with a lot of ease.  The model is the best answer for the EMS department when they are attending to victims of calamities such as earth quake, fire outbreaks or even terrorism.  The  approach has  shown positive results in many hospitals and health care units where it has been employed, for instance in California community based response  organizations have used the this model of triage in attending to victims of fire out breaks and earth quakes. In some countries the model has been used to help victims of train accidents (Turegano, 2008).

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Criminal Justice

Male Socialization and the Excesses of Male Crime

Gender as Factor in Crime

Crime Issue

A wide variety of evidence consistently supports one factor in regard to crime, in that men commit it more often, and in larger numbers, than do women. This uniformity of gender difference is, in fact, highly disproportionate. In cases of violent persona assault, over 80 percent of assailants are male. Men also account for over 70 percent of all serious property crimes, and the ratio of male to female convicted murderers is eight to one (Siegel, 2009, p. 72).   The gender differences are apparent in virtually all arenas of crime, as more men invariably commit burglary and other offenses than women. This is known as the “gender gap” in crime, and it has long intrigued theorists, the judicial system, and the society itself. Then, the greater amount of male crime also promotes a vicious cycle of a kind; as many male crimes are violent assaults upon women, the victims in turn are driven to criminality of their own in response (Warner, 2012, p. 122). Despite certain fluctuations to be noted, there is no escaping that fact that men are far more likely to perpetrate crime, and of types ranging from petty robbery to murder.

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Criminal Justice

Police Managment

All officers are expected to be a part of the goal attainment process. Total quality management is a good method to adopt because it provides checks and balances between police management and the individual officers.

Overall, the police management system used by an individual leader or precinct will depend upon several factors. The performance of the officers, their maturity, needs, motivation, and ability to exercise control all come into play. Depending on these characteristics, police management theories X, Y, Z, and mature employee theory should be selected and modified to fit an individual crowd.

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Criminal Justice

September 11th Autobiography – Submission

The concept of war at home was almost non-existent to me before 9/11. I used to believe U.S. is almost invulnerable but the events of 9/11 changed my opinion. That was also the first time I realized that that the nature of enemy has changed and instead of wars between sovereign states, the new battles will be between two sets of ideologies. As I saw the twin towers collapsing on the television screen as well as the expressions of shock on the faces of bystanders, it seemed as if it was Middle East and not America. Even before 9/11, I was used to seeing images of violence in the media but never before had images such a powerful emotional impact on me. I found myself surprised at this fact and as I thought more about it, I realized that most of us usually display a greater degree of insensitivity to events that do not personally affect us or those related to us.

The events of 9/11 also inspired me to become more engaged with national and global politics. I even thought of joining the military in the future because I knew we couldn’t take the security of our people for granted for which our ancestors had worked so hard. It was probably for the first time I was motivated to put the interests of the country over my own interests. But more than anything else, it changed my views about America. I saw a display of patriotism among Americans that I had never seen before. America didn’t seem like United States of America but instead ‘United America’ as if all fifty states had forsaken their geographical and cultural boundaries to become one single nation. There was no Texan, Virginian, or Alaskan etc. but only American. It is ironical how tragedies unite a nation better than anything else.

 

Categories
Criminal Justice

Social Learning Theory and Cybercrime

Internet as a communication tool has played a greater role in transforming human lives in the contemporary world. The device has become part of the human culture in the present world, for some people in the society; the tool has not only become a communication device but a source of livelihood. The following are some of the common benefits that are associated with the internet technology in the world: internet has become the fastest mode of communication that allows faster transmission from one point to another, for instance people can communicate over Skype regardless of their geographical locations (Britz, 2009). Internet technology has also enabled people to handle their banking transactions online, for instance most banks send account details to their clients through the internet. People can also sell and buy goods and services online. Researchers rely on internet as a good research tool that supplies adequate and reliable information for research. Internet technology has played a great role ensuring the development of E-commerce which has greatly transformed the state of online business in the society (Rowland, 2010).

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Criminal Justice

Research Project Hypothetical

When conducting a research project of any kind, but especially in the field of Criminal Justice, there are many factors that must be considered from an economic, social, and political standpoint. Generally, the research topic is selected based on a whole host of very important factors.

First, when presented with the task of selecting a topic, one must consider the relevance of the topic they plan to choose. Picking a research topic that is not a controversial issue, a frequently covered news topic, or something new and innovative that can be correlated to one of the previous two criteria. If the topic is not viewed as relevant enough, not only is it likely that the university will pull a research grant, but it just overall will not have a lasting impact. The purpose of a research study is to obtain new information–a topic that is not relevant is a waste of new information. Some examples of good research topics in Criminal Justice are cyber-crime, legalization of marijuana, bullying and violence in schools, as well as reform of the penal system (Criminal Justice, 2013).

However, there are factors that also must be taken into account when even choosing a topic that is relevant. The demographic population of the city chosen would also have to be taken into account when choosing a specific topic. For example, for the aforementioned topic of penal reform, there is a host of statistics that also must be taken into consideration. If, say an urban city with a high minority population was chosen, the statistics of minorities in prisons compared to whites would have to be considered.

One of the most important parts of a study is the purpose statement. It must be specific enough to maintain its overall relevance, while remaining broad enough that it can be made applicable in the most ways possible. Keeping in mind the function of a purpose statement is to explain why the study is necessary, the statement should be clear and concise. The four parts of a purpose statement should include the method, both dependent and independent variables, the target audience, as well as the setting the study is to be conducted in (Writing the Purpose Statement, 2011).

If the proper steps have been followed to this point, a hypothesis or two should have evolved around the research topic. Taking into consideration the variables such as demographics, political affiliation, and population and applying it to a research topic should raise plenty of questions that can be addressed. At this point, the most important part is to discern which of these should be addressed–in other words, prioritizing the questions. These will be become research questions.

When a null or alternative hypothesis is introduced along with the one being presented, many things come to light as a whole, and in parts. First and foremost, considering and even presenting counter-arguments to their own can be a very effective tool in judging the strength of one’s own argument. If, when considering alternative thesis’, one sees that their research is futile, than much unnecessary work can be avoided.

Another strong reason to present counter-arguments is to actually strengthen ones own. If the alternative thesis can be deconstructed and thus proved false by ones own research study, then doing so in the findings can be nothing besides beneficial in the long-run. Thesis’ that deconstruct other thesis’ is how information progresses.

The overall research effort is measured an analyzed in many different ways. First, the outliers must be taken into consideration–why did a certain population deviate so much from the rest of the study? After that, the raw data must be compared to studies that correlate to it, and compared and contrasted for the sake of accuracy. After demographics are considered, the report can be drafted to some extent.

Quantitative research is research that depends on the collection of quantitative data. This data is characterized by deductive reasoning on the part of the researcher, and depends on the regularity of human behavior under controlled conditions. The researcher is generally supposed to be objective from the beginning. It normally ends with a statistical report (Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research, 2012).

Qualitative research is directly dependant on new hypothesis’ that arise while collecting new data. It is a more adaptive research approach, and tends to not control the environment, but rather using a natural environment. In addition it is a subjective research method that searches for patterns. The final report is more narrative in nature. Mixed research is exactly what it sounds like–it combines necessary elements of both qualitative and quantitative methods for the study at hand (Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research, 2012).

The literature review of the findings would probably be of the mixed nature, encompassing both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. In this way it covers all the bases. In addition, this is the best way to end up with the highest standard of results as a whole, while encompassing the most possible amount of data into consideration.

The integrity of the report is an ethical and moral issue as well, and can be tainted if certain data is omitted, or even under-researched. This burden does indeed fall on the researcher, so the utmost time should be put into any research study, with all of the dependent and independent variables, as well as the atmosphere and climate. There are also the legal implications of the study, which can be direct or indirect, and far-reaching indeed.

First and foremost, if the researcher is able to adequately prove their thesis than their study could be cited in either future studies, or even used in testimony in court cases. If the research is in any way compromised, it must be taken into consideration as well as adequately noted. In addition, another major thing to consider is the omission of information to further prove a thesis.

Unfortunately this is something sociologists and criminologists deal with on a daily basis. To think a person would taint research with far reaching implications simply to further their own career is disgusting–however, it is a reality. Specific care must be taken to ensure all information, no matter how small, is in some way in the literature published. There is no imperative way to know how far reaching the implications of any individual research project can, and will be.

 

Resources

“Choosing & Defining a Topic   Tags: Controversial Topics, Issues in the News,           Social_issues, Thesis Statements  .” Start Here. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2013.      <http://libguides.monroecc.edu/content.php?pid=124732>.

“Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research.” Southalabama.edu, n.d. Web.   <http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/johnson/lectures/lec2.pdf>.

“Writing the Purpose Statement.” Writing the Purpose Statement. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June         2013. <http://bold-ed.com/purpose.htm>.

 

 

Categories
Criminal Justice

Due Process in police system

The subject of Due process is very vital in the judiciary system to ensure transparency and accountability. It is in the light of this fact that police officers should have the same due process as the citizens to ensure that their practices enhance trust and confidence of the public. Police officers just like other workers need a proper labor entity that provides a suitable ground to promote elements of collective bargaining, good compensation criteria and representation of the officers in various groups that deal with their affairs (Ring, 2009).

The Due process in the judicial system should enable the police officers to acquire a public hearing, the officers should be able to assess their bosses during the presentation of evidence to ensure that all the facts pertaining to the evidence are covered. A police officer should be granted the opportunity to provide witnesses and the accompanying evidences to defend their case in a court of law. Due process also requires that all the rights of criminal justice such as right to a free and fair hearing, and legal representation should be made accessible to every person in the society regardless of their profession, police officers are therefore not an exemption when it comes to this. The ruling by the court on a case against a police officer should be entirely based on the evidenced produced during the court proceedings (Ring, 2009).

The element of due process traverses other issues that are job related such as promotion and demotion. It also finds its place when an officer obtains a personal property through ways that are questionable and therefore proper investigations are deemed necessary to determine the actual facts behind the case (Yoshino, 2006)

References

Ring, K. (2009). Scalia Dissents: Writings of the Supreme Court’s Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice.            Washington: Regnery. ISBN 0-89526-053-0.

Yoshino, K. (2006). “The Pressure to Cover: The New Civil Rights”. The New York Times Magazine.           Retrieved 2010-05-01. Discussing potential of liberty rights to overtake equality rights.