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									                                CHAPTER FIVE
                             CRIME AND VIOLENCE
The Nature of Crime
       Police Discretion
       Problems of Accuracy
Types of Crime and Criminals
       Violent Personal Crimes
       Occasional Property Crimes
       Occupational (White Collar Crimes)
       Corporate Crimes
       Public Order Crimes
       Conventional Crimes
       Organized Crime
       Professional Crimes
       Juvenile Delinquency
       Hate Crimes
Gangs, Guns, and Violent Death
Conditions and Causes of Crime
       Biological Explanations
       Biology, Violence, and Criminality
       Gender and Crime
       Age and Crime
       Sociological Explanations of Crime
Controlling Crime
Social Policy
       Conventional Crimes
       Occupational Crimes
       Organized Crimes
       Public-Order and Juvenile Justice Reforms
       Gun Control

Americans regard crime as a serious social problem and spend heavily to control crime.
The prison population in the United States has reached record proportions. Durkheim
observed that crime is actually normal, as it exists wherever there are people and laws.
Crime in the United States, which had been declining, has started to increase again.
Crime is hard to measure as is indicated by inconsistencies in two major sources of data,
the Uniform Crime Report and the National Crime Victimization Survey; the NCVS
shows higher rates. One definition for crime is an act or omission of an act for which the
state can apply a sanction. Civil law deals with noncriminal acts in which one person
injures another; these are mediated by the state.
The extent of the nation’s crime problem is measured by the crime index, which collects
data on the most serious, most frequently occurring crimes—murder and non-negligent
manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor
vehicle theft and arson. Many white collar crimes and organized crimes remain difficult
to assess.
The police exert considerable discretion in the application of law. Some studies, e.g.,
Chambliss’ research on the Saints and the Roughnecks reveal police bias in arrests. One
controversy over official statistics concerns the rates of criminality by social class; some
data suggests that rates may not be different for lower and upper class offenders.
There are 10 categories of crime. These are: violent personal crime (e.g., assault,
robbery, homicide); occasional property crimes (e. g., vandalism, check forging,
shoplifting); white collar crimes (e.g., embezzlement and fraud); corporate crime (e.g.,
insider trading, environmental crimes); public order crimes (e.g., prostitution, gambling,
traffic violations); conventional crimes (e.g., robbery, larceny, burglary); organized crime
(e.g., loan-sharking, drug trafficking); professional crimes (e.g., counterfeiter,
blackmailer), juvenile delinquency (gangs, drug activity, running away); hate crimes
(e.g., intimidation, vandalism, destruction of property, aggravated assault).
The homicide rate in the United States is much higher than in other industrialized nations.
One reason for this may be the availability of powerful firearms; gang activity is also a
There are multiple theories and correlates of crime. In general, the evidence does not
seem to strongly support biological arguments. Sociological theories of crime include
Conflict theory, Anomie theory, Differential Association theory, and Delinquent
subculture. Other factors that influence crime are gender, race, and age.
Efforts to control crime have taken the form of retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and
prevention. Social policies must constantly be revised to deal with crime. Because of
plea bargaining, many criminals receive shortened sentences. Enforcement of drug laws
has led to an explosion of inmates. Recidivism rates are very high among those who are
paroled, so many states seek alternatives to conventional incarceration and parole. For
occupational and corporate crimes, legal reform, especially tougher penalties, and
stronger enforcement would probably deter much occupational crimes. Organized crime
is difficult to prosecute because of the difficulty of obtaining proof. However, the FBI
has made significant strides in this area through the use of under cover agents in long
term investigations, pooling resources, and sophisticated surveillance techniques, as well
as the witness relocation program. Juvenile delinquency public policy is in a state of
confusion as there is disagreement about how to handle the problem. Gun control
remains controversial, but in areas where police have tried to decrease the number of
guns, gun related violence declined.
Students should:

   1. Understand the difficulty of defining crime, but be familiar with crime as defined
      in the text.

   2. Understand the distinction between criminal and civil law.

   3. Be familiar with the Uniform Crime Reports and the crime index.

   4. Be aware of the importance of police discretion and the impact it has on who is

   5. Be aware of problems of accuracy in crime statistics; know why statistics may not
      be accurate.

   6. Know how crime is categorized; they should be able to distinguish the following
      types of crime: violent personal, occasional property, occupational, corporate,
      public order, conventional, organized, professional, juvenile delinquency, hate.

   7. Be aware of the relationship between gang membership and guns and violent

   8. Be familiar with the biological approach to explaining crime and its shortcomings.

   9. Know how gender, age, race, and crime are linked.

   10. Be familiar with sociological explanations for crime, including the conflict
       approach, the functionalist approach (anomie theory), and interactionist
       approaches (differential association and deviant subcultures).

   11. Be able to identify and describe the four strategies for controlling crime:
       retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and prevention.

   12. Be knowledgeable about the social policy implications associated with
       conventional, occupational and corporate, organized and public order crimes and
       juvenile delinquency and gun control.

   1. Ask a member of the local police department or state troopers to come and speak
      to the class about crime in the local community.
2. Try to set up a ride along program with the local police department; this will give
   students who wish to ride with police officers the chance to see some activities
   first hand.
3. Ask a representative from a local corrections or prison facility to come and speak
   to the class about problems in the facility; if possible, invite someone from a
   juvenile detention facility or a corrections facility with female inmates to
   comment on issues relating to juvenile delinquency or crime among women.
4. Many students are in favor of more, rather than less punishment for criminals.
   Organize an academic controversy (see chapter one teaching suggestions for
   information about academic controversy), in which you have students debate the
   pros and cons of prevention versus more punishment.
5. For the European perspective on the death penalty, have students visit the website
   for the Council of Europe (COE). The member nations of the COE abolished the
   death penalty in 2002, and argue that its application constitutes a human rights
   violation. The exceptions to this are the United States and Japan, who have
   observer rights. The COE seeks to pressure the United States and Japan to follow
   suit. Many students will be surprised to learn that the COE has alleged that the
   United States and Japan have engaged in human rights violations. The COE can
   be found at www.coe.int/T/E/Communication_and_Research/Press?Theme_Files.
   You can also have students read about the results of a May 19, 2002 Gallup Poll,
   which found that 74% of Americans continue to favor the death penalty for
   murderers. The results of the poll can be found at
6. To have students debate the pros and cons of the death penalty as practiced in the
   United States, assign some groups to visit www.prodeathpenalty.com and
   summarize the position taken by this pro death penalty organization; assign other
   groups to summarize the information at
   www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/db/abrelist.htm (Amnesty International).
7. Lead a discussion in which you present a chronology of the use of the death
   penalty; this can be found at www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/angel/ . Students
   may be surprised to learn of the fluctuations in the use of the death penalty over
   time. Ask students to speculate on reasons for this.
8. Lead a discussion in which you ask students to hypothesize about the incidence of
   crime on college campuses. Ask if any of them have heard of the Clery Act of
   1990. This act, named for Jeanne Clery, a coed who was murdered in 1986 at
   Lehigh University, requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to
   report on the incidence of crimes on their campuses. Information on campus
   crimes, including data on incidence can be found at
   www.securityoncampus.org/crimestats. You can also ask campus security to
   come and speak to the class on this topic.
9. One issue of concern in the legal system is the amount of monies often awarded
   by juries in punitive damage cases. Punitive Damages: How Juries Decide
   (Sunstein, Hastie, Payne, Sckade and Viscusi 2002) examines the erratic and
     unpredictable dollar amounts awarded by juries; the authors find that juries are
     subject to biased judgments and they go on to discuss the implications for theories
     of punishment. Cases considered include the July 2000 $144.8 billion award to
     plaintiffs in the Florida class action lawsuit brought against cigarette
     manufacturers. This settlement was ultimately thrown out in May of 2003 by a
     Florida appeals court.
  10. A strategy for teaching about violence against women is discussed in “Fear
      Journals: A Strategy for Teaching About the Social Consequences of Gendered
      Violence,” by Jocelyn A. Hollander in Teaching Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 3 July
      2000. Hollander contends that students may be inclined to dismiss violence
      against women as a private, rather than public issue. She suggests that students
      keep a one day journal of their fear experiences and their use of safety strategies.
      Students are then asked to analyze their journals individually and then in groups.
      The exercise is designed to show that violence affects some groups more than
  11. Sociologists and criminologists have long known that corporate and white collar
      crime costs society far more than does so called conventional crimes. In fact,
      while students may be familiar with specific serial murderers, mass murderers,
      and school shootings, few of them are familiar with particular instances of
      corporate crime. Lead a discussion in which you ask students to list as many of
      the above crimes as possible. Ask them why they are so much more familiar with
      serial murder than corporate crime. Some students may respond that corporate
      crime is not really a “danger” in the same way that violent crime is. You can then
      have them investigate incidents of violent corporate crime, e.g., the Union
      Carbide explosion in Bhopal, India. Students can read about this disaster at
      www.corpwatch.org/issues/PID.jsp?articleid=6768. The Corpwatch website
      provides a chronology of this disaster and also describes a May 2003
      confrontation between Bhopal survivors and Dow Chemical. Students can read
      more about this issue at www.guerillanews.com, under the heading of corporate

  1. Describe the Uniform Crime Report and the National Victimization Survey and
     discuss potential problems with each.
  2. Discuss police discretion as a social problem.
  3. Discuss the concepts of criminal law and civil law.
  4. Compare and contrast white collar and corporate crime with violent crime.
  5. Discuss juvenile delinquency as a social problem. How should society respond to
     very young offenders? Be sure to justify your answer.
  6. Compare and contrast professional crime with organized crime. Explain why
     these crimes are difficult to deal with.
   7. Compare and contrast the sociological theories of crime. Are there specific types
      of crimes that certain theories do not seem to explain?
   8. Critique the biological theories of crime. From a scientific viewpoint, what kind
      of evidence would it take to demonstrate that biology is the primary reason why
      people engage in criminal activities?
   9. Describe the relationship between gang membership and violent death.
   10. Identify and discuss the strategies for controlling crime. What difficulties are
       presented by each approach?
   11. Describe the relationship between gender and crime, race and crime and age and
   12. Discuss the social policy issues involved in dealing with crime, especially plea

(47m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Are the increasingly frequent accounts of wanton, often cold-blooded youth violence a
reflection of a toxic culture or the problems of troubled, isolated individuals? This
program tells the stories of several young offenders from their own perspectives as well
as from those of their families and the families whose lives they have irreparably
changed. Interviews with social workers, law enforcement and probation officers,
psychologists, criminologists, forensic psychiatrists, and, most importantly, the kids
themselves offer possible answers to a deeply disturbing problem.

(24m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Hardly a day goes by without teen violence making the news. What can be done to
diminish the frequency of these outbreaks? This edgy program brings together experts,
victims, and offenders to examine the warning signs surrounding violent situations.
Perpetrators of teen violence expose the mayhem behind their behavior and offer ways to
identify those teens most likely to lash out, while victims explore their feelings of fear
and hopelessness. Finally, experts offer effective plans of action that can help defuse
potentially violent situations.

(45m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This program shines the light of inquiry on the dark topic of America’s gangland
subculture, where belonging means power and status – and disloyalty means death. The
lethal struggle between the Crips and the Bloods for a nationwide multi-million-dollar
drug trade, the plight of residents living in Chicago’s gang-infested projects, the chilling
experiences of female gang members out to build their reputations, and the fight between
police and gangs in Hartford for the hearts and minds of inner-city kids are spotlighted.

(38m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

In the eyes of the law, how wide are the parameters of parental responsibility? And how
aware are parents and teachers of what goes on when they are not around? In this
program, ABC News correspondent John Stossel gathers opinions in the heated debate
over accountability for a child’s delinquent actions by talking with parents, children,
survivors, and the judges who are handing down rulings on where exactly to place the
blame. Suits against parents for alleged criminal negligence in cases of school shootings,
underage drinking and drug use, DWI-related deaths involving minors, and acts of
vandalism are addressed. Indecent behavior on and off school grounds is also discussed.

(23m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

As crimes committed by youngsters become progressively more violent, the criminal
justice system must decide whether harsh sentences given out to adult criminals,
including capital punishment, should also apply to violent young offenders. This ABC
News Nightline examines the issue through the eyes of young criminals, their families,
and attorneys, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials. Herbert Hoelter of the
National Criminal Justice Commission examines the various state laws governing
juvenile punishment. He suggests rehabilitation for kids who commit violent crimes but
do not fall into the category of “super-predators” who may never benefit from

(24m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Every Wednesday another busload of new inmates arrives at the Western Youth
Institution in Morganton, North Carolina, a maximum security prison for juvenile
offenders. What trade-offs do the convicts have to make, just to stay alive in this hostile
environment? And what will they be like if they eventually make it back into society? In
this program, ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer reports on prison life through the
experiences of four new teenage inmates- one only 13 years old. A follow-up two years
later reveals the impact of their incarceration on their minds and bodies, best summed up
by the words of one of the four: “This is not the place to be.”

(45m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
America’s Constitution guarantees citizens the right to own firearms for self-defense.
But has the onslaught of school violence, homicides, and accidental killings made this
right a deadly liability in today’s society? This program examines both sides of that
provocative question. Topics under examination include school kids who take their
parents’ weapons; child fatalities caused by parents who are too quick to fire; the legal
liabilities face by gun owners who shoot in self-defense; and bystander deaths from
crossfire and stray bullets.

(53m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

From road rage to homicidal rampage, what goes on in the human body when a person
becomes angry? In this program, noted experts Brad Bushman, Paul Ekman, and
Stafford Lightman assert that the cause of human aggression lies in the physiology of
violent emotions. Case histories to demonstrate the self-damaging impact of hate and the
positive power of forgiveness support their conviction that a quantifiable mind/body
connection exists. In addition, evidence is provided which indicates that venting-long
believed to relieve anger- can actually reinforce aggressive behavior.

(30m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Violence: is it innate to humankind, or is it a result of environment? Could certain
individuals be genetically prone to it, and if so, can they be treated? What causes it, and
what function has it served in history and in the evolutionary process? This program
examines the many manifestations of violence, from sports to murder and genocide; and
how societies harness violence; and how the latest research reveals that violence might
have served a necessary function for group survival that continues in our genetic makeup

(50m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Focusing on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, this program uses dramatic footage from around
the world to look at the psychology and causes of these brutal yet fascinating upheavals,
Dr. Michael P. Ghiglieri, author of The Dark Side of Man, offers insights into the
mindset of violent crowds. Bill Buford, author of Among the Thugs, comments on
England’s infamous soccer hooligans. Other experts include Daryl F. Gates, former
LAPD chief whose task it was to control the Watts riots of 1965.

(50m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Are some people born evil? Steve Jones addresses this question by examining the genetic
and social factors that contribute to crime and antisocial behavior. The work of Dutch
geneticist Hans Brunner and his discovery of the “crime gene” – the genetic marker for
violence- is examined, as lawyers seize upon the research to defend a murderer. Los
Angeles geneticist David Comings, who runs a clinic for troubled youths, believes in the
genetic theory and prescribes drugs such as Ritalin to control antisocial behavior. Several
career criminals discuss why they committed crimes. The adage, “Deeds must be judged
by society, not by science,” provides an excellent basis for public discourse.
(50m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This program investigates the relationship between abuse suffered as a child-especially
when it involves brain damage- and the likelihood of committing murder later in life.
The horrific slaying of Peyton Tuthill by Donta Page is examined, as is the case of a
mild-mannered doctor who became violent due to pressure from a brain tumor. The
findings of forensic psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis, expert witness for Page’s
defense; Adrian Raine, whose studies of 41 murders have consistently revealed frontal
lobe damage; neurologist Jonathan Pincus, author of Base Instincts: What Makes Killers
Kill?, and others are featured.

(29m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

While intimate partner abuse can occur in same-sex couples, the abuser in the vast
majority of cases is a man, his target a woman. The program from The Doctor Is In
profiles Buffalo, New York, where the medical community, social and psychiatric
services, police, and courts have formed a coalition to reduce the incidence of partner
abuse and help the victims. Among those who comment are Dr. Susan McLeer, the head
of Eric County Medical Center’s psychiatry department; Katey Joyce, director of a
shelter for battered women; and Jessica Benigni, chair of the Erie County Coalition
Against Family Violence.

(28m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This program looks at the effects of family violence on the abused and the abuser: at the
danger that abused children will grow up to repeat the pattern of violence in their own
relationships; at the problems of date violence; at the physical and emotional abuse
women suffer at the hands of their husbands and lovers. While showing the benefits of
therapy, it stresses the need of the abused for safety-through shelters, hot-lines, and
community assistance-from those who abuse them.

(28m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Only when communities and families say “Enough!” to domestic violence can its cycle
be broken. This program shows how people can and have said “Enough!”: women, men,
and children who offer proof that domestic violence can be stopped, that healing is
possible if there is someone to help. The program also shows the social and legal
services that make the difference.
(45m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Why do some men beat-and even kill-the women they profess to love? In this program,
women battered by husband or boyfriends speak out about their experiences. Their
stories create a mosaic of pain and fear, courage and determination, while answering the
question: “Why did you stay with him?” The case of Lisa Bianco, who relied on the due
process of law for protection and was murdered by her ex-husband, is included.
Crusading photographer Donna Ferrato and committed bodyguard Greg Kottke are also

(45m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

When a woman kills a man who beats her, is it murder? Or is it justice? This program
examines the legality of when, if ever, a victim of domestic violence is justified in killing
her abuser. The Jane Abbott and Linda Logan cases assess the courtroom admissibility
of evidence of battering, while the high-profile Lorena Bobbitt case and other raise the
question of whether the plea of battered woman syndrome can be manipulated into
license to maim-or kill.

(14m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Severely wounded, their mother kept crying out, “Please don’t kill me! Please don’t kill
me!” What effects do the sights and sounds of domestic violence have on the malleable
minds of children? In this program, ABC News anchor Hugh Downs seeks to answer
that question through interviews with Betsy McAlister-Groves, director of the Child
Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center, and some of the deeply scarred
children who have seen and heard far too much.

(49m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This program examines male violence towards women by following three men with a
history of abuse who have joined a program to help them stop their abusive behavior.
The issues of authority and control by men over women, both physically and mentally,
are explored by the men and by domestic counselors as a major cause of male violence
towards women. Popular misconceptions such as the woman’s role in “provoking” the
violence are dispelled. Two women from different socioeconomic backgrounds describe
their experiences in abusive relationships.
(2002, 30m Insight Media)

This program addresses how society defines and controls deviance. It considers
biological, psychological, and sociological explanations for deviant behavior and looks at
the criminal justice system.

(2002, 100m Insight Media)

Tracing the world history of punishment, this video describes execution by wild animal in
ancient Rome, the torture of religious dissidents during the Inquisition, and the cruel and
unusual punishments that still occur in many present-day nations. It considers the irony
of society’s resort to barbarism in its attempts to create a more human society.

(1998, 53m Insight Media)

Definitions of crime and punishment in an individual society tell a great deal about that
society’s values. This program explores the history of punishment, beginning with early
compensatory forms of justice, Hammurabi’s Code, and the Law of Moses. It examines
Socrates’ execution and Roman and medieval forms of justice and analyzes
contemporary forms of punishment, including the death penalty.

(2002, 25m Insight Media)

Considering whether the death penalty deters criminals and can be justified on moral and
economic grounds, this video debates the use of the death penalty to punish the most
heinous of crimes. It features author James Lambert and Timothy Spann of Amnesty
International, Southern California.

(2001, 25m Insight Media)

This video traces societal views on crime and the methods of its study. It addresses
biological theories, environmental and sociological factors, and such psychological
considerations as maladjustment, psychosis, and developmental trauma. It provides an
overview of typologies of criminal acts, discusses patterns of victimization, and touches
upon crime prevention.

(2001, 30m Insight Media)

This program takes a critical look at the juvenile justice systems in the United States and
Canada, questioning whether the system merely coddles violent teenagers and then turns
them loose on their 18th birthdays to commit more crimes. It discusses media influences,
rehabilitation, economic influences, and the incarceration experience.
Sociology of Prison

(1999, 2 volumes, 30m each Insight Media)

For mandatory sentencing to capital punishment, America is taking a strong position
against crime. This set questions whether these measures are improving society or
undermining it. In two programs, Life Behind Bars and Kids Behind Bars, it features the
commentary of legal professionals, academics, and community service professionals who
debate the merits of a system seen by some as practical and essential and by others as a
misguided failure for humanity.

(2001, 30m Insight Media)

In this video, a panel of experts debate the effectiveness of the parole system in the
United States and Canada, addressing the public’s concern over parolees committing
violent crimes upon their release. The program explores such issues as drug testing and
treatment, homelessness and unemployment, mental illness, sex offenders, and
jurisdictions to eliminate parole.

(2001, 30m Insight Media)

As the prison population continues to grow, the profits of companies catering to the
prison industry also increase. This video examines the connection between profit and
prisoners, looking at issues of privatization, prison labor, the prisoner brokerage industry,
the influence of governmental officials, and the effects of an economic downturn on the
criminal justice industry.

Violence & Aggression

(2000, 30m Insight Media)

The increasing incidence of violence and abuse in the United States poses a serious health
problem. This video explores factors underlying such problems as domestic violence,
child abuse, assault, and suicide and discusses the effects of such acts on emotional and
physical health. It shows how anti-violence programs can help break the cycle of
(1998, 42m Insight Media)

This program follows a group of fraternity brothers at West Chester University through
the course of a year in which they explore the causes of violence against women and their
own attitudes and behavior. It addresses sexual objectification, hypermasculinity, peer
pressure, homophobia, and male power.

(2002, 30m Insight Media)

Considering the plethora of violence in modern society – from terrorism and wars to rape
and school shootings – this program explores the possibility of preventing violent acts. It
includes the expert commentary of James Gilligan of Harvard Medical School, Anne
Nelson of Columbia School of Journalism, and Frank Gaffney, President of the Center
for Security Policy.

(2001, 28m Insight Media)

Investigating the root causes of aggressive behavior, this video examines its increasing
prevalence in American society. It discusses the psychology underlying the tendency of
some individuals to adopt belligerent attitudes; shows how these attitudes can trigger
inappropriate confrontations; and teaches strategies for avoiding and diffusing incendiary

(2000, 16m Insight Media)

While the number of incidences of teen violence has decreased in recent years, the degree
of their severity has increased. This video examines real-life situations that can lead to
violent behavior. It shows how the feelings of frustration and lack of power that lead to
anger can be channeled to effect change, and it teaches strategies for recognizing,
redirecting, and avoiding anger.

(52m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

The forms of punishment a society chooses, and what exactly it deems a crime, tell a
great deal about that society’s values. How is justice pursued and punishment meted out?
This program looks at the history of punishment, beginning with early compensatory
forms of justice, Hammurabi’s Code, and the Law of Moses. Socrates’ execution and
Roman and medieval forms of justice are analyzed in a historical context, underscoring
the fact that punishment was often intended as a deterrent rather than a reformatory
measure. Contemporary forms of punishment, including the death penalty, are discussed,
along with the ways in which these sentences reflect what society values.

(28m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This controversial documentary traces the often brutal history of criminal punishment
from the medieval era through today. Early lithographs show in shocking detail the
excessive punishments applied in pre-modern times for minor crimes. We see how more
humane attitudes toward punishment led to the construction of prisons. Featured in this
program is the CCI penitentiary in South Carolina. There, prison officials discuss the
difficulties involved in running a large penal institution. Prisoners and corrections
officers provide insights into daily life at the prison and talk about the overall failure of
current rehabilitation efforts. This is an excellent portrait of criminal punishment as it
was, and where it stands today.

(51m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Considering the high levels of convict recidivism in America, are U.S. prisons serving
society best by warehousing violent male offenders rather than by attempting to
rehabilitate them? This program seeks to answer that question by going inside the
supermax Ohio State Penitentiary and San Francisco County Jail’s RSVP (Resolve to
Stop the Violence Project) facility to contrast the effects of solitary confinement vs.
therapy-based dormitory living. Corrections personnel, mental health professionals,
human rights advocates, inmates, and others speak out.

(49m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Today in the United States women are the fastest-growing prison population. This CBS
News production offers a rare glimpse into a world that is based on retribution rather than
rehabilitation and in which the rules of survival in prison are often tougher than the rules
of the street. Issues such as sexual and drug abuse, family histories, and breaking the
cycle of crime and incarceration are addressed through the personal stories of women
who are doing time.

(22m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Does the American justice system treat people differently based on their race? In this
ABC News program, correspondent Michel Martin reports on the startlingly disparate
outcomes of two almost-identical drug-related cases tried one after another in a Boston
court. In one case, the judge sentenced an African-American defendant with no prior
record to prison time on the insistence of the prosecution. In the other case, the
prosecution asked for a sentence of drug rehabilitation as opposed to prison time for a
white defendant with prior convictions. This provocative program offers a timely
assessment of an unfortunately recurring problem in American courtrooms.

(29m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

This program explores the current state of prisons in America and examines their
conflicting mandates. The Directors of the National Prison Project of the ACLU and the
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, the Governor of South Dakota, an
Arizona sheriff, adult and juvenile inmates, and others consider issues such as the societal
impact of mandatory sentencing and the prison-building boom.

(22m Films for the Humanities & Sciences)

Some mistakes are fixable. Wrongful conviction and subsequent execution is not. In this
program, ABC News correspondent John Donvan traces the history of the death penalty
in the U.S. since 1935 while capturing the views of George W. Bush and Illinois
governor George Ryan. Then, Gerald Kogan, former chief justice of the Florida Supreme
Court, and Dudley Sharp, director of Justice for All, join anchor Chris Wallace to discuss
the use of DNA evidence to overturn death penalty convictions and to debate whether
America’s criminal justice system is functioning or failing.

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