Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Crime and Criminology


This debate-style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in global issues through readings that reflect a variety of viewpoints. Each issue is framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. The Taking Sides readers feature annotated listings of selected World Wide Web sites. Taking Sides is supported by our student website at www.dushkin.com/online/.
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This debate-style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in global issues through readings that reflect a variety of viewpoints. Each issue is framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. The Taking Sides readers feature annotated listings of selected World Wide Web sites. Taking Sides is supported by our student website at www.dushkin.com/online/.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073194905
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/Contemporary
  • Publication date: 9/23/2005
  • Series: Taking Sides Ser.
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Hickey is a professor of criminology at the University of Tampa. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Providence College, his M.A. , and Ph. D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, and his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. He has received awards from both University of Oregon and Penn State Harrisburg for outstanding teaching. His most recent articles appear in the Journal of Criminal Justice, the Criminal Law Bulletin, the International Journal of Public Administration, and Public Administration Quarterly. Tom has also had experience outside the classroom, serving as a police officer for three years.
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Table of Contents

PART 1. Definitions and Explanations of Crime

ISSUE 1. Is Crime Always Functional?

YES: Emile Durkheim, from The Rules of Sociological Method (Free Press, 1938)

NO: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, from “Defining Deviancy Down,” The American Scholar (Winter 1993)

Classic sociologist Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) theorizes that crime exists in all societies because it reaffirms moral boundaries and at times assists needed social changes. Former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) argues that modern crime has gone way beyond the point of being functional.

ISSUE 2. Is Criminal Behavior Biologically Determined?

YES: Adrian Raine, from “The Biological Basis of Crime,” in James Q. Wilson and Joan Petersilia, eds., Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control (ICS Press, 2002)

NO: Robert K. Merton, from “Social Structure and Anomie,” American Sociological Review (volume 3, 1938)

Professor Adrian Raine argues that one of the reasons why we have been so unsuccessful in preventing adult crime is because crime-control policies have systematically ignored the biological side of human behavior. In a now-classic article, the late eminent sociologist Robert K. Merton asserts that social conditions produce deviations from accepted norms of human conduct.

ISSUE 3. Does IQ Significantly Contribute to Crime?

YES: Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, from The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life (Free Press, 1994)

NO: FrancisT. Cullen, Paul Gendreau, G. Roger Jarjoura, and John Paul Wright, from “Crime and the Bell Curve: Lessons from Intelligent Criminology,” Crime and Delinquency (October 1997)

The late psychologist and criminologist Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, argue that a significant cause of crime is low IQ. Criminologists Francis T. Cullen et al. assert that Herrnstein and Murray ignore the many significant environmental factors related to both crime and intelligence.

ISSUE 4. Is Street Crime More Serious Than White-Collar Crime?

YES: James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein, from Crime and Human Nature (Simon & Schuster, 1985)

NO: Jeffrey Reiman, from The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice, 5th ed. (Allyn & Bacon, 1998)

Professor of management and public policy James Q. Wilson and the late psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein argue that crime studies should focus on street criminals. Philosophy professor Jeffrey Reiman contends that pollution, medical malpractice, and dangerous working conditions that go uncorrected are for more serious than street crime.

PART 2. Justice Issues and Contemporary Public Policy

ISSUE 5. Does Arresting Spousal Batterers Do More Harm Than Good?

YES: Janell D. Schmidt and Lawrence W. Sherman, from “Does Arrest Deter Domestic Violence?” in Eve S. Buzawa and Carl G. Buzawa, Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work? (Sage Publications, 1996)

NO: Evan Stark, from “Mandatory Arrest for Batterers: A Reply to Its Critics,” in Eve S. Buzawa and Carl G. Buzawa, Do Arrests and Restraining Orders Work? (Sage Publications, 1996)

Janell D. Schmidt, supervisor of the Milwaukee County Child Protective Services, and criminology professor Lawrence W. Sherman argue that arresting batterers in many cases does more harm than good. Associate professor of public administration and social work Evan Stark contends that arresting batterers is a vital step for female empowerment and for women achieving full citizenship status.

ISSUE 6. Is Racial Profiling an Acceptable Law Enforcement Strategy?

YES: Jared Taylor and Glayde Whitney, from “Racial Profiling: Is There an Empirical Basis?” Mankind Quarterly (Spring 2002)

NO: Michael J. Lynch, from “Misleading ‘Evidence’ and the Misguided Attempt to Generate Racial Profiles of Criminals; Correcting Fallacies and Calculations Concerning Race and Crime in Taylor and Whitney’s Analysis of Racial Profiling,” Mankind Quarterly (Spring 2002)

Jared Taylor, president of the New Century Foundation, and the late psychology and neuroscience professor Glayde Whitney argue that the disparity in crimes committed by members of different races justifies racial profiling by the police. Professor Michael J. Lynch, however, argues that a proper analysis of the crime data does not support Taylor and Whitney’s conclusions. He finds racial profiling to be objectionable from a legal and moral perspective as well.

ISSUE 7. Should Serious Sex Offenders Be Castrated?

YES: Lawrence Wright, from “The Case for Castration,” Texas Monthly (May 1992)

NO: Kari A. Vanderzyl, from “Castration as an Alternative to Incarceration: An Impotent Approach to the Punishmnent of Sex Offenders,” The Northern Illinois University Law Review (Fall 1994)

Attorney Lawrence Wright argues that while castration may not be an ideal solution, if we treat it as therapy rather than punishment, as help instead of revenge, and if we view offenders as troubled victims, not monsters, then perhaps castration will become an accepted and humane option for sex offender treatment. Attorney Kari A. Vanderzyl asserts that castration should be rejected as an unacceptable, ineffective, and unconstitutional alternative to imprisonment for sex offenders.

ISSUE 8. Should Juvenile Courts Be Abolished?

YES: Barry C. Feld, from Bad Kids: Race and the Transformation of the Juvenile Court (Oxford University Press, 1999)

NO: Vincent Schiraldi and Jason Ziedenberg, from The Florida Experiment: An Analysis of the Impact of Granting Prosecutors Discretion to Try Juveniles As Adults (July 1999)

Law professor Barry C. Feld contends that creating a separate juvenile court system has resulted in unanticipated negative consequences for America’s children and for justice. Vincent Schiraldi, director of the Justice Policy Institute, and researcher Jason Ziedenberg maintain that moving thousands of kids into adult courts is unnecessary, harmful, and racist.

ISSUE 9. Are the Dangers of Internet Child Pornography Exaggerated?

YES: Julia Wilkins, from “Protecting Our Children from Internet Smut: Moral Duty or Moral Panic?” The Humanist (September/October 1997)

NO: Bob Trebilcock, from “Child Molesters on the Internet: Are They in Your Home?” Redbook (April 1997)

Writer Julia Wilkins argues that claims of Internet dangers are simply an example of "moral panic" causing otherwise sensible people to overreact. Magazine writer Bob Trebilcock contends that the Internet is a real danger to children because it provides easy access to pornography and encourages the creation and dissemination of child pornography.

PART 3. Prison Programs and Alternatives

ISSUE 10. Is the Segregation of HIV-Positive Inmates Ethical?

YES: Penny A. Robinette, from “Is the Segregation of HIV-Positive Inmates Ethical? Yes,” The Prison Journal (March 1999)

NO: Billy Long, from “Is the Segregation of HIV-Positive Inmates Ethical? No,” The Prison Journal (March 1999)

Penny A. Robinette, an administrator at Presbyterian Child Welfare Services in Richmond, Kentucky, contends that mandatory testing and segregation of HIV-positive inmates is justified. Assistant professor of criminal justice Billy Long argues that mandatory testing and segregation of inmates will have more negative than positive consequences.

ISSUE 11. Are Conjugal and Familial Visitations Effective Rehabilitative Concepts?

YES: Jill Gordon, from “Are Conjugal and Familial Visitations Effective Rehabilitative Concepts? Yes,” The Prison Journal (March 1999)

NO: Elizabeth H. McConnell, from “Are Conjugal and Familial Visitations Effective Rehabilitative Concepts? No,” The Prison Journal (March 1999)

Assistant professor of criminal justice Jill Gordon identifies and defends several humanitarian and practical reasons for allowing family visitations in adult prisons. Associate professor of criminal justice Elizabeth H. McConnell maintains that there is little empirical support that conjugal visits are useful for either inmates or their families.

ISSUE 12. Should Serial Killers and Violent Sexual Predators Be Quarantined for Life?

YES: Frank M. Ochberg, from “Quarantine Them Beyond Their Jail Terms,” The Washington Post (December 5, 1999)

NO: Howard Zonana, from “We’re Doctors—Not Judges, Juries or Jailers,” The Washington Post (December 5, 1999)

Professor of psychiatry Frank M. Ochberg argues that some violent offenders are incurable and should be confined for life to mental hospitals. Professor of psychiatry and law Howard Zonana contends that doctors have no business becoming jailers for those who are perceived as dangerous by legal authorities.

PART 4. Criminal Justice Research, Evaluation, and Policy Analysis

ISSUE 13. Is Capital Punishment Bad Public Policy?

YES: David Von Drehle, from “Miscarriage of Justice: Why the Death Penalty Doesn’t Work,” The Washington Post Magazine (February 5, 1995)

NO: Ernest van den Haag, from “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense,” Harvard Law Review (May 1986)

David Von Drehle, a writer and the arts editor for The Washington Post, examines specific capital punishment cases and data and concludes that capital punishment is a bad social policy. Ernest van den Haag, a professor of jurisprudence and public policy (now retired), maintains that the death penalty is just retribution for heinous crime.

ISSUE 14. Do More Guns Lead to Less Crime?

YES: John R. Lott, Jr., from More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws (University of Chicago Press, 1998)

NO: Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins, from Crime Is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 1997)

John R. Lott, Jr., the John M. Olin Visiting Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, contends that rather than increasing crime, gun ownership actually reduces it for several reasons. Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins, director and senior fellow, respectively, of the Earl Warren Legal Institute, assert that possession and use of handguns causes the vastly disproportionate number of homicides in the United States.

ISSUE 15. Should the Police Enforce Zero-Tolerance Laws?

YES: George L. Kelling and William J. Bratton, from “Declining Crime Rates: Insiders’ Views of the New York City Story,” The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology (Summer 1998)

NO: Judith A. Greene, from “Zero Tolerance: A Case Study of Police Policies and Practices in New York City,” Crime & Delinquency (April 1999)

George L. Kelling, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, and William J. Bratton, former New York City Police Department commissioner, strongly defend Kelling’s formulation of zero tolerance/broken windows theory and Bratton’s implementation of Kelling’s ideas. Judith A. Greene, senior fellow of the Institute on Criminal Justice of the University of Minnesota Law School, compares New York’s policing style with San Diego’s community policing model and argues that the latter is as effective and less costly.

PART 5. Future Trends in Criminology and Criminal Justice

ISSUE 16. Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

YES: Ethan A. Nadelmann, from “An End to Marijuana Prohibition—The Drive to Legalize Picks Up,” National Review (July 12, 2004)

NO: John P. Walters, from “No Surrender,” National Review (September 27, 2004)

Ethan A. Nadelmann, the founder and director of the Drug Policy Alliance, contends that contemporary marijuana laws are unique among American criminal laws because no other law is both enforced so widely and yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial portion of the public. Enforcing marijuana laws also wastes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars annually. John P. Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, argues that marijuana does the most social harm of any illegal drug. Moreover, Walters asserts that the ultimate goal of those who advocate marijuana legalization is tolerated addiction.

ISSUE 17. Do Three Strikes Sentencing Laws and Other "Get Tough" Approaches Really Work?

YES: Eugene H. Methvin, from “Mugged by Reality,” Policy Review (July/August 1997)

NO: David Shichor, from “Three Strikes As a Public Policy: The Convergence of the New Penology and the McDonaldization of Punishment,” Crime & Delinquency (September 1997)

Eugene H. Methvin, senior editor for Reader’s Digest, contends that a very small number of juveniles and adults commit the majority of serious crimes. The main solution to the crime problem, then, is to identify them as early as possible and increase the punishments each time they offend, eventually incarcerating the repeat offenders. Professor of criminal justice David Shichor argues that "three strikes" laws are costly, inefficient, unfair, and do little to reduce crime.

ISSUE 18. Should Juries Be Able to Disregard the Law and Free "Guilty" Persons in Racially Charged Cases?

YES: Paul Butler, from “Racially Based Jury Nullification: Black Power in Criminal Justice System,” Yale Law Journal (December 1995)

NO: Randall Kennedy, from “After the Cheers,” The New Republic (October 23, 1995)

Paul Butler, an associate professor at the George Washington University Law School, argues that black jurors should acquit black defendants of certain crimes to make up for inequities in the criminal justice system. Randall Kennedy, a professor at the Harvard Law School, finds it tragic that black jurors would pronounce a murderer "not guilty" just to send a message to white people.

ISSUE 19. Should Behavior Modification Techniques Be Used to Brainwash Criminals?

YES: James V. McConnell, from “Criminals Can Be Brainwashed—Now,” Psychology Today (April 1970)

NO: Jessica Mitford, from “The Torture Cure: In Some American Prisons It Is Already 1984,” Harper’s Magazine (1973)

The late University of Michigan psychologist James V. McConnell argues that society has the technology to brainwash criminals and turn them into productive citizens. Celebrated author the late Jessica Mitford contends, however, that sensory deprivation and other forms of behavior modification are immoral and constitute the legally sanctioned use of torture.
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