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Probation v Parole

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Probation v Parole

Probation: Court-ordered period of correctional supervision in the community, generally as an alternative to incarceration Parole: conditional release of an inmate from incarceration, under supervision, after part or all of the prison sentence has been served.

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A central observation tower placed within a circle of prison cells

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People seek pleasure and avoid pain

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Social Contract

Social contract theory says that people live together in society in accordance with an agreement that establishes moral and political rules of behavior

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  1. All actions are calculated in accordance with their likelihood of bringing happiness or unhappiness

  2. therefore, penalties should be set just a bit in excess of the pleasure one might derive from committing a crime

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False Consciousness

Karl Marx

A way of thinking that prevents a person from perceiving the true nature of their social or economic situation

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Racial Resentment

Kinder and sanders

If blacks would only try harder they could be as well of as whites; most blacks who receive welfare could get along without it

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Racial Resentment- Research Findings

  1. Experimental study finds that participants are more likely to allocate welfare funds to whites with “excellent work history” compared to blacks with the same whites who score higher on racial resentment are more punitive, after controlling for religiosity, political conservatism, and education

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Punishment inflicted on someone as vengeance for a wrong or criminal act.

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Mandatory v. Discretionary Release

Discretionary: released at the discretion of the parole board within the boundaries set by the sentence and penal law.

Mandatory: release is required after completion of the determinate sentence.

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The idea that the purpose of punishment is to apply treatment and training to the offender so that he is made capable of returning to society and functioning as a law-abiding member of the community.

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The act of making an individual “incapable” of committing a crime—historically by execution or banishment, and in more modern times by execution or lengthy periods of incarceration.

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Indeterminate vs Determinate Sentence

Indeterminate sentencing- a range of years of prisoners might serve, highly tailored to individual

Determinate sentencing-

a jail or prison sentence that has a definite length and can't be reviewed or changed by a parole board or any other agency

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Implicit Bias

Automatic, subconscious associations, theoretically contribute to disparities in sentencing, but hard to test

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Parens Patriae

Court acting as parent for the child, informality, individualization and intervention

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Culpability and Competence

Culpability- Are adolescents as legally responsible as adults for their criminal behavior?

Competence- Do adolescents differ in ability to make informed decisions?

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Proletariat and Bourgeoisie

Karl Marx

Bourgeoisie- those who control the means of production

Proletariat- those who labor to produce goods

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Pre-Frontal Cortex

regulates behavior (the “brake”)

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Mental shortcuts used by individuals to simplify problems and make decisions – bayesian learning theory

  1. risk perception

  2. prior

  3. signals

  4. weighting

  5. updating

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Parole Revocation

The formal procedure by which the Board may terminate or revoke an offender's release on parole for conduct or omissions which violate the conditions of such offender's parole after his or her release.

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Prison Nursery

A section of a prison that houses incarcerated mothers and their very young children

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Jury Nullification

  1. Finding a defendant not guilty because they do not support the law, the punishment for the law, or the law being applied to the defendant

  2. American history – prohibition 1920s

  3. 1895 - sparf v united states - trail judges has no responsibility to inform the jury of the right to nullify laws

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Pre-Sentence Report

A report prepared by a probation officer after you have been convicted of a crime

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Plea Bargain

An arrangement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in the expectation of leniency

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Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining

  • pros

  1. reduced costs

  2. improved efficiency

  3. concentrate on serious cases

  4. avoids pretrial detention and delays

  • cons

  1. can infringe on right to trial

  2. sentencing disparities

  3. may coerce innocent to plead guilty

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Voir Dire

Prospective jurors are questioned

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Peremptory Challenge

eliminating jurors for no particular/undisclosed reasons

  • Number of challenges are limited

  • Can't be used to eliminate jurors on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender

  • Batson challenge: steps when one party thinks an elimination was requested due to race or other impermissible grounds

The defense are given more challenges which is supposed to tip in favor of the defense

  • In Maryland defense gets 20 and prosecution gets 10

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Challenge for Cause

Reason for excusing juror must be given or approved by judge

  • Example: Unable to make a fair decision due to biases

  • Unlimited in number

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Shame Punishment

Stigma as a formal cost of punishment

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Types of Community Supervision

Pretrial supervision



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Total Institution


“Storage dumps for inmates”

“A place of residence or work where a large number of like-situated individuals is cut off from the wider society for an appreciable period of time, and together lead an enclosed, formally administered round of life.”

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Each aspect of society is necessary and works for the stability of the whole; including crime

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Social Solidarity

Emphasizes the interdependence between individuals in a society, which allows individuals to feel that they can enhance the lives of others

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The tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend

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Collective Conscience

Totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average citizens of the same society, which forms a determinate system which has its own life

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Solitary Confinement

  • “The confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact.” –United Nations

    • Prolonged confinement is considered more than 15 consecutive days.

    • Used as both punishment and as protection

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Felon Disenfranchisement

To deprive an individual/group the right to vote on the basis of a felony conviction.

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processes emotion and motivation

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Statistical Discrimination

“Employers use characteristics such as race or gender to draw ‘quick and dirty’ assumptions about group differences in productivity and other attributes, particularly when they lack detailed information about applicants” (Vuolo et al., 2017: 143)

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Reintegrative vs Disintegrative Shaming

Reintegrative shaming- Communicates disapproval within a continuum of respect for the offender

Disintegrative shaming- Shaming where the focus is not only on the actual act committed, but on the person as a whole

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Racial Inequality in Punishment

Black and Hispanic males tend to be more harshly sentenced for the same crime compared to white males

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Deterrence Theory- Types of Deterrence

type of deterrence

  • general deterrence: to what extent does a punishment deter the unpunished - the general public?

  • specific deterrence: to what extent does a punishment deter the punished from committing a crime again?

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Deterrence Theory- 3 Dimensions of Punishment

  1. certainty: the probability that a crime will be detected and punished

  2. celerity: the swiftness with which punishment follows a crime

  3. severity: the painfulness or unpleasantness of punishment

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Prison Deprivations

(Sykes 1958)

  • Liberty

  • Autonomy

  • Heterosexual Relationships

  • Security

  • Goods and services

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Foucault’s Shifts in Punishment

  • Foucault described shifts in punishment occurring during the 1700s as coinciding with the age of enlightenment

    • other purpose of punishment: deterrence

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Incarceration and Health Effects

  • Breeding ground for germs

  • Lots of stress and related problems

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Employment and Reentry

Most likely to receive callbacks

  1. White men with no record

  2. White men with a record

  3. Black men with no record

  4. Black men with a record

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Prison Culture- Importation vs Generation

Importation- Suggests that certain beliefs, values, roles, and behaviors are brought into the prison by inmates

Generation- Certain beliefs are generated by the inmates while incarcerated

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Stress Process Theory

  • Primary and Secondary Stressors

    • Primary stressor- stress from the main event

      • Ex: being incarcerated, not being able to see family, violence

    • secondary stressor- collateral stress

      • Ex: financial challenges

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Biological Predisposition vs Determinism

Biological Predisposition- Genetic factors, representing an important influence in a variety of mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, may play a role in predisposing certain individuals to criminal behavior

Determinism- philosophy contending that human behavior is caused by biological and psychological factors specific to individuals and/or the structural factors that comprise one's environment

Criminals are born, not made

There has been a shift in biocriminology from \n biological determinism to biological predisposition

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The Prison Boom

Between 1926 and 1940, state prison populations across the country increased by 67 percent


  • imprisonment rate gone up since 1990s

  • probability of arrest (murder, rape decrease) since 2000

  • prison admissions per arrest of drugs increase in 1996

  • time served since 2000 became stable

  • the dramatic increase in prison populations can be directly tied to law and policy changes that are directly tied to the oversized role of race and racism in America.

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Auburn vs Pennsylvania Prison Systems

Auburn System

  • opened in 1819

  • prisoners worked together but in silence, they were in solitary confinement at all other times

Pennsylvania System

  • eastern state build 1829

  • prisoners lived in solitary and in silence; influenced by quaker principles

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Prison-asylum Link

It was a revolutionary idea in the beginning of the 19th century that society rather than individuals had the responsibility for criminal activity and had the duty to treat neglected children and rehabilitate alcoholics.

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True Grit

Prison program in Nevada

  • over ~60 and behind bars

  • senior structured living program

  • no one released has reoffended

  • must have proven record of good conduct with other requirements (eg. being clean, participating)

  • get donations from outside and volunteers

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Group Threat Theory

  • central hypothesis: when/where the size of the relative minority group increases, control efforts of that group should also increase

    • economic threat

    • power threat

    • criminal threat (taylor, 1998; chiricos, 1997)

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Recommendations for Job Applications for Criminal Record

Equal Opportunity Commission

  • Blanket exclusion is not permitted, but employers can use it as evidence as long as they consider (1) the type of crime, (2) the time that has passed, and (3) the nature of the job.

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Impression Management

Goffman, 1956

  • Trying to look and act like other, certain, prisoners

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Trends in Death Penalty Methods

Shift from hanging as most dominant method to electrocution in early to mid 1900s, to lethal injection today.

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Conditions of Community Supervision

  • – Standard conditions

    • Reporting for meetings, Reporting a change of address, not leaving the jurisdiction

  • – Punitive conditions

    • Fines, community service, restitution

  • – Treatment conditions

    • Dealing with specific needs/problems, such as substance use

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War on Drugs

  • anti war movement and drugs

  • 1967 - LSD made illegal

  • 1971 - drugs are “public enemy number one”

  • 1973 - Nixon creates the DEA

  • most dangerous man in America - Timothy Leary

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Four Orientations to Prison Life (Irwin)

  • Doing Time

    • Focused on just getting through sentence. May have no plans of changing.

  • Gleaning

    • Try to better themselves.

  • Jailing

    • Institutionalized – think of the prison self as the main role and attempt to establish leadership roles.

  • Disorganized

    • Those who are less capable of adapting or are “broken” by prison life

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Differential Involvement vs Treatment

  • Blumstein (1982; 1993)

    • Between 75-80 percent of the black-white disparity in incarceration was due to higher arrest rates among blacks.

  • % unexplained by arrest was greater for less serious offenses, where judges have more discretion

    • Tonry and Melewski (2008) - only 61 percent of the racial disparity could be attributed to differences at the arrest stage.

    • Baumer (2013) - 55% using 2008 data

  • Self-report studies indicate that black and Hispanic males self-report higher involvement in violence –importantly, involvement in illegal drug use is higher or comparable between blacks and whites

    • However, black and/or Hispanic males are consistently sentenced more harshly for the same offense than white males (controlling for socioeconomic status,  criminal record, etc.)

    • One of the main challenges: understanding the source of bias and how it operates.

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Chivalry Hypothesis

  1. women perceived as less threatening than men

  2. paternalistic desire to protect women

  3. higher perceived social costs bc of childcare responsibilities – Sphoner and Beicher

  • analysis finds support for chivalry perspectives, finding that in 65% of studies, women were sentenced less harshly than men

  • studies are showing declines over time in preferential treatment of women

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Logic of Twin Studies

Twin Studies

•Fraternal vs. identical twins

• If other twin is a criminal, most studies find that the chances of being a criminal are higher for identical twins

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Incarceration as Exposure

Social conditions a “fundamental causes of disease” (Link and Phelan, 1995)

  • Epidemiological correlates of infectious disease spread

    • Prisons are “breeding grounds” for microbes

    • Unhygienic conditions

    • Poor air circulation

    • Risky inmate behavior

    • High rates of disease

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Eugenics Movement

Eugenics Movement • Forced sterilizations of criminals, persons with mental illness, and minorities • Over 64,000 people between 1907-1963 • Starting declining in 1940s due to intense scrutiny by some scientists and the actions of Hitler in Germany

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Constitutionality of Shame Punishments

Superior courts have ruled that shaming is constitutional as long as the goal is primarily deterrence.

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Recommendations for Juvenile Corrections

  1. Interventions should be structured to respond to the developmental needs of adolescents;

  2. Programs should target risk factors for recidivism in individual youths;

  3. Correctional interventions should be in the community (unless the juvenile poses serious threats)

  4. Developmentally responsive risk reduction programs should be an integral part of facility-based dispositions; and

  5. Evidence-based programming should continue during reentry into the community.

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Missing Link in Deterrence Theory

The link between conditions in jails and prisons and broader criminal justice reform efforts.

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Shift Away from Shame Punishments

popular during colonial times, but began disappearing during 1800s because:

  1. perceived failure to deter crime

  2. may lead offenders to join criminal subcultures (labeling)

  3. attack on human dignity

  4. unseemly and could spread criminogenic thoughts

  5. led to unruly crowds

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Jail vs Prison

  • jails have a younger population on average

  • jails have more turnover: 55% per week

  • jails have fewer programs, more idleness

  • jails have less security and more interaction between incarcerated persons

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Safety Hypothesis

technological advances in the quantity and quality of security were responsible for the change in crime patterns because they reduced the number of suitable targets and altered the behaviour patterns of those who might previously have become involved in crime

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Effects of Incarceration on Partners and Children

  • Consequences for partners

    • – Stress/Strain

    • – Financial hardship

    • – Relationship quality

  • Outcomes for children:

    • – Delinquency

      • Especially aggressive/destructive behavior

    • – Externalizing behaviors

    • – Placement in foster care

    • – Obesity

    • – Mental health

    • – Academic performance

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Labeling Theory

People obtain labels from how others view their tendencies or behaviors.

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Discretion (Prosecutors, Jury, and Judicial)

  • prosecutors resisting harsher punishment regimes – lowering charge severity

  • juries are more likley to convict when death penalty is not on table

  • danziger reading: the percentage of favorable rulings drops gradually from ≈65% to nearly zero within each decision session and returns abruptly to ≈65% after a break

  • judicial rulings can be swayed by extraneous variables that should have no bearing on legal decisions.

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Crack epidemic

a surge of crack cocaine use in major cities across the United States, primarily between the mid 1980s and the early 1990s

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Incarceration as Protection/Prevention

  • Healthcare –detection, and treatment

  • Lifestyle adjustments and constraints

  • The safety hypothesis

    • Mortality rates of young black men are lower in prison than outside of prison (Patterson, 2010; Rosen et al., 2008; Wildeman, 2010)

    • Has only been supported by young, black males

  • “Young black men are so marginalized that they may be safer as captives than as free men" (Wildeman, 2010:  26).

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Secondary Prisonization

  • Comfort 2008

  • A process of adaptation to the correctional environment and culture similar to that undergone by people who are incarcerated

  • Not just indirect contact that matters.

  • Direct interactions with the prison environment can affect family members

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Abolitionist Movement

The prison abolition movement is a network of groups and activists that seek to reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with systems of rehabilitation that do not place a focus on punishment and government institutionalization.

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Defiance Theory


laws perceived as unjust or too severe may lead to defiance

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What Works in Rehabilitation

martinson report

  • “... with few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism”

  • “our present strategies… cannot overcome, or even appreciably reduce, the powerful tendencies of offenders to continue in criminal behavior

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Cognitive Behavioral Theory

a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged in order to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression.

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Stress Proliferation Theory

the observation that stress experiences often beget more stress in people's lives, creating a causal chain of stressors that can directly and indirectly be harmful to mental health

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Contributing Factors for Wrongful Convictions in Death Penalty

  • mistaken eyewitness identification

  • perjury or false accusation

  • fabricated or false confession

  • false or misleading forensic evidence

  • official misconduct

  • inadequate legal defense

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Fair Sentencing Act (2010)

reduced the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1

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Anti-Drug Abuse Act (1986)

mandatory minimums for drugs offenses

5 grams of crack or 500grams of cocaine = minimum 5 year of sentence

  • continuing controversy over drug policies and race

  • 81% of all crack-cocaine users are black, compared to 27% of powder cocaine users

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Miller v Alabama

Even if homicide, need possibility of parole for juveniles

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1994 Crime Bill

  • aka (violent crime control and law enforcement act)

  1. provided incentive grants to build and expand prisons in states that enforced mandatory sentencing of 85% of a person’s sentence – “truth in sentencing”

  2. mixed evidence of direct impact on prison boom

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Sparf v United States

trial judges has no responsibility to inform the jury of the right to nullify laws

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Ban the Box

  • Civil rights movement aimed at the removal of the criminal record question on job applications.

  • Also aimed at reducing disparities in hiring –especially racial disparities

  • 23 states and more than 100 cities and counties have adopted a policy

    • 185 million people (57% of Americans) live in a jurisdiction with some sort of Ban the Box policy (National Employment Law Project, 2016)

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Traffic Law Reform Act

Ohio law that enforced shame punishments for DUIs; didn't work in general but counties with more enforcement had more results

  • although on the graph there was a decreased trend, it was already on a downward trajectory and had implementation issues

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Furman v Georgia

(1972) struck down all state laws allowing the death penalty stating that they allowed for too much discretion on the part of the judge and jury resulting in a lack of consistent administration of the penalty. Death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

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Graham v Florida

Cannot be sentenced to life without parole except in cases of homicide

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Emile Durkeim

  • french sociologist and philosopher, passionate about moral reform

    • wanted sociology to be accepted as legitimate science

    • practice functionalism

    • did studies on suicide (said social factors were in play in addition to mental)

    • principles of collective conscience, social solidarity

    • believed punishment served the purpose of retribution

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Michel Foucault

  • described shifts in punishment occurring during 1700s as coinciding with the age of enlightenment

    • power and the labor market

    • bodies are profitable

    • must preserve the bodies of the working class, torture seen as no longer profitable

    wrote Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

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Cesare Beccaria

Father of deterrence theory

  • laid foundation for current American system

  • wrote on Crimes and Punishment

  • Design for enlightened criminal justice system that serves the people rather than the monarchy

  • rationalism and hedonism

Some principles:

  • punishment should be based on the pleasure/pain principle

  • punishment should be based on the act, not the actor treated people differently based on their status/wealth

  • punishment should be swift, prompt, and effective

  • all people should be treated equally

  • it is better to prevent crimes than punish them

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Jeremy Bentham

founder of modern utilitarianism

  • wrote Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation

  • came up with the Panopticon prison model


  • all actions are calculated in accordance with their likelihood of bringing happiness or unhappiness

  • therefore, penalties should be set just a bit in excess of the pleasure one might derive from committing a crime (deterrence)

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Robert Martinson

wrote the 1974 Martinson Report (“Nothing works report”

  • the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism

  • our present strategies cannot overcome or reduce the powerful tendencies of offenders to continue in criminal behavior

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Karl Marx

  • german philosopher

  • key ideas

  1. proletariat and bourgeoisie

  2. means of production

  3. false consciousness

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Richard Nixon

  • Called timothy leary (advocate of psychedelics) the most dangerous man in America

  • drugs are public enemy number one

  • nixon started the war on drugs

  • created the DEA

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