Institutional Affiliation

1. Do ecological approach have a valid place in contemporary criminological thinking Why or why not
    The ecological approach, popularized by the University of Chicagos Sociology Department, acknowledges the primary impact of social structures and physical environmental factors in honing human behaviour. The approach held that the city is a microcosm therefore examining city interactions and norms is to understand the behavioral patterns of its inhabitants as well. The prevalence of crimes are examined using ecological research methodologies juxtaposing the  individual and community and social structures and functions to determine and decide solutions to criminality in the city. However, in these modern times, does the ecological approach really have a valid place in criminology
    In response to this question, I believe that the ecological approach is still considerably important in criminological studies. Presently, it can be noted that criminal incidences and social delinquents are confined, in the most parts, in certain areas of the city. One would need no formal background in sociology or criminology to be able to confidently say that the characteristics of neighborhoods is dynamically related to crime rates and delinquency. The findings of the the study conducted by Clifford Shaw and Henry D. McKay (1942) still holds sway. Their studies found that the citys highest rates of delinquency can be found on areas with palpable physical deteriorations and steadily decreasing residents characterized by threshold poverty or substantially low family income and high percentage of immigrant residents.
    Therefore, in 1942 as it is today, criminal behavior systems rather than individual offenders should be the locus of studies on crime prevention and criminal rehabilitation. In this respect, the ecological approach in criminology studies by itself creates an irreplaceable niche. It would be helpful in providing holistic analyses of crimes and well-rounded crime prevention programs.
2. A few years ago, an Arizona judge offered a rapist, upon his third conviction, a choice of sentences. He could either serve thirty years in jail or permit himself to be castrated. Discuss the merits of the judges offer in terms of constitutionality(the Eighth Amendments ban on  cruel and unusual punishment ), proportionality and potential for crime prevention.
    In Furman v Georgia (1972), a United States Supreme Court justice declared a set of principles, four in all, to be used in determining whether a particular punishment is violative of the provision laid down by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The honorable judge provided that a punishment is  cruel and unusual  if 1) it is, by its severity,  degrading to human dignity  2)  obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion  3)  clearly and totally rejected throughout society  and 4)  patently unnecessary  ( Furman v Georgia, 1972). With this particular court ruling in mind, it can be easily said that the judges offer is unconstitutional and disproportional and without palpable effects in crime reduction or in curbing of an individuals criminal intent.
    Needless to say, the judges offer is an unusual occurrence in the history of the criminal justice system Its unconstitutionality lies in the fact that it is an unusual punishment and the reason behind this is that society would not and do not necessarily hand such punishment even  for an unrepentant sexual delinquent. The fact that such punishment is unusual proves that  it is  clearly...rejected throughout society . Also, given that the accused was already convicted in two counts of rape prior to the latest offense, said punishment of castration would fail to proportionally measure with the gravity of the crime committed. It is also interesting to note that castration would not, in a great part, affect sexual drives or sexual functions. Mario J.P. Dennis, a clinical director remarked of castration that it  does not completely erase sexual arousal or function. It doesnt completely obliterate arousal, drive or the ability to commit a sex act  (as cited in  Rondeaux, 2006, p. B01). Hence, the proposed punishment would basically be meaningless. On the question of whether or not handing punishment such as castration to sex offenders would reduce incidences of rape and sexual assault, said correlation still needs to be established. Although it may instill fear at the onset, I personally doubt whether it could, in any way, affect the behaviors of chronic sex offenders.
    Presented with these arguments, it is clear that the judges offer is not only unconstitutional and disproportional to the offense but it is also a potentially ineffective deterrent to sex offenders.


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