Is It A Grand Social Experiment? Essay example

1005 Words Apr 30th, 2016 null Page
Throughout the semester, we have repeatedly discussed statistics regarding current crime and incarceration rates. In comparison to previous rates, from earlier decades, it is clear that society’s viewpoint on crime has changed significantly. Beginning in the early 1970s, the United States initiated a more punitive criminal justice system (1). In The Punishment Imperative, authors Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost created a concept for the reasoning behind this mass incarceration. Referred to as the “Punishment Imperative,” its basis for reasoning focused on the symbolic image that crime held in society; meaning, as crime rates grew, the societal fear for basic safety began to emerge. As a result, addressing these issues, crime and the fear of crime, became a major political priority. Due to the substantial impact it had on society as a whole, Clear and Frost argue that their concept of Punishment Imperative is a grand social experiment. As described in The Punishment Imperative, there are three qualifying characteristics that define a grand social experiment. The first characteristic is that they, “take place around a pressing social problem, one that so galvanizes public attention that it calls for a transformative kind of action, something that turns the status quo on its head” (48). This is clear when examining the Punishment Imperative concept, as the fear of crime became a major social problem. As crime rates increased, “as high as 8 percent a year or higher,” public…

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