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The Distortion of Punishment

By Simon Schmidt, Emilie Katrine Olander Christiansen, Josefine Eva Lilly Pallesen, Hjalte Bøgeskov Christensen and Astrid Lund Olstrup

Abstract

This project sets out to describe and analyse the Danish legal policy with focus on its criminal jus-tice system. Since the 1990’s Danish legal criminal policy has “developed” towards a less utilitarian system. The former liberal government, who gained power in 2001, continued the ‘tough on crime’ policy which was introduced by the Social democratic and Social Liberal-government (SR-regeringen) in the 1990’s. During this period, violent crime against individuals had been rising, thus requiring political attention. Though experts on the subject of criminology have argued against the implementation of longer imprisonments, such laws were passed by parliament. In the following years several laws, extending prison sentences, were carried out. The politicians legalized these laws by arguing that they represent the peoples sense of justice. On one hand statistics describe how crime, concerning violence, has dropped the past years. On the other hand statistics show that crim-inals serving a prison sentence have the highest percentage of relapse, thus making it a societal is-sue. At the outset, we set out to explore what rationales argue in favour of the societal acceptance of these laws. Our theoretical framework draws on penal and sociological scientific perspectives. The-ories concerning a utilitarian and non-utilitarian approach are applied in order to understand the overall arguments for prolonging a prison sentence. Furthermore we specifically focus on the rele-vant work of Ulrich Beck and his concept of ‘staging’ and Émile Durkheim and his concepts of solidarity, social cohesion and punishment. Through these theories we examine how the govern-ment creates a societal need for law regulations and what social forces make people accept these. To conclude we seek to discuss what negative consequences these implementations might pose on the Danish universal welfare state system and its democratic values. Among the negative side ef-fects of the welfare state, are the economic obstacles and social stigmatization of certain riskgroups and riskpersons. Furthermore it can be discussed whether politicians abuse their citizens sense of justice by accomodate the public opinion to fit their own political program

Topics: Straf, Fængsel
Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:rudar.ruc.dk:1800/17483
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