Politicization Of Crime

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The federal government’s role in criminal justice practice and policy has evolved from one of promoting rehabilitation and indeterminate sentencing to one of mass incarceration and determinate sentencing. As governing through crime became a legitimate pathway for the federal government the role of the Department of Justice has expanded. The attorney general’s role expanded as well due to Homer Cummings, Roosevelt’s attorney general, who was present when the New Deal was in crisis going through judicial review (Simon, 2007). The crisis “helped place law at the center of executive authority and drove the function of the attorney general from being a bridge between the president and the Supreme Court to one of being the president’s chief strategist …show more content…
The politicization of crime by politicians led to the federal government gaining a foothold in the crime problem and using politicians to further their crime policies and agenda in the 70s. Crime began being politicized in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the governmental crisis. The government was wavering in its ability to manage the economy and soon politicians needed a new way to garner political support. Politicians then began reframing the American belief on violent street crime. During this time public opinion followed rather than lead the political mobilization of crime. Crime was first used as a tool to further the political agenda of southern politicians who were resisting the Civil Rights Movement. The social crises that were occurring in the 1960s and 1970s, civil disorders, inflation, and high crime rates combined to undermine the political order of the New Deal era (Simon, …show more content…
In 1988 crime became a driving force in the election of President Bush. Bush framed many societal problems like inflation as a crimelike phenomenon. Whether is was inflation, or drug dealers Bush promised to confront them with ruthless punishment. As a result Bush’s presidency saw increasing incarceration rates and the implementation of longer sentences. Soon President Clinton came into office by adopting an even more severe stance on crime. Clinton matched Bush’s punitiveness towards crime and drugs and passed every bill that extended prison terms and contracted the rights of prisoners (Simon, 2007). It is clear the presidents were embracing the idea of governing through crime and this caused each president to become more and more involved in developing and promoting criminal justice policy and

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