Social Justice Teaching Resources (1974)
National Policies in Criminal Justice: The Nixon Years and the Future
For a brief period, the School of Criminology at Berkeley provided some graduate students the opportunity to develop and teach courses. Some of these classes were relevant, contemporary and politically oriented. The following course was taught in spring 1973 by two graduate students. The size of the class was limited to 30.
In recent years, the administration of the criminal justice system has been undergoing reforms comparable to those changes of the late 19th century and in the period following the Depression. Important changes were occurring in the jury system, the reorganization of the court, community diversion of offenders, and in other areas. Reforms heralded new policies which needed examination and interpretation.
In 1968, Richard Nixon's campaign for the Presidency emphasized the rising crime rate throughout the country and demands for "law and order." Between 1969, when Axon entered the White House, and the spring of 1973, the Federal Government's law enforcement budget tripled; federal aid to state and local law enforcement grew from S60 million to almost $800 million. One of the principle conduits for these funds has been the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA). For the 1972 fiscal year, LEAA received eleven times the funds it had in fiscal 1969.
Examples of the utilization of this research and funding include such matters as police surveillance through closed circuit video equipment, computerization of records, methadone maintenance for clients of the court, behavior modification, and "mind control" through psychosurgical intervention. On a broader level, and related to research and funding priorities, massive changes have been underway in the character and uses of the grand jury, prison facilities, voir dire, and requirements for conviction in a jury trial.
There were three general purposes of the course: First, to explore the changes in research and funding, technology, and institutions which we had witnessed in the past four years. Second, to consider theories relating the political system to its means for the control of come. Finally, to combine the two and predict what the next four years might be like.
The seminar was a joint effort of instructors and students. The instructors took the responsibility of outlining the major issues concerning developments which had occurred in the past four years. Similarly, we were responsible for assigning a collection of readings on the criminal justice system. The process of investigating in depth the specific changes, and of projecting what might come about, was undertaken by students. The process of integrating the researched material with the theories of crime control was jointly undertaken as the ultimate goal of the seminar.
The first three weeks were devoted to lectures and reviewing changes in the criminal justice system. This discussion was directed towards stimulating the students in their research projects. During the next five weeks, lectures covering theories exposing the political nature of the criminal justice system were presented. At the same time, brief periods were spent discussing the progress of the various student research projects. The last two weeks, a kind of "futurology," took place; on the basis of the theories discussed, conclusions were made about the Nixon doctrine, and what might be in store for the next four years.
After the first two weeks, each class session was divided into lecture and discussion periods. In addition, study groups of six to eight people were formed and met outside regular class meetings.
We proposed the study groups as an alternative to the often isolated nature of university work, as an opportunity to work collectively, and to benefit from the process of collective intellectual work. Such work is difficult, especially after the years of training which teaches us to compete with one another for grades and the development of individual ideas. Because of the struggle involved, we suggested some structure to facilitate the process.
We proposed that the sections meet two kinds of responsibilities: (1) Each study group was to discuss the required weekly readings and to collectively write a one- or two-page critical essay or outline; and (2) The group would be responsible for directing class discussion every two or three meetings. Each week, particular readings were to be integrated into the discussion. To provide continuity to the course, presentations were to focus on the following problems: (a) basic assumptions made by the author about the nature of the political state, the role of officials, and the options for policy; and (b) issues raised and/or ignored by the readings.
Students were required to wrote a term paper dealing with one of the subjects in the bibliography or another acceptable topic, and were asked to commit themselves to a paper topic in the early part of the course.
IV. Evaluation of Content
In the three areas covered, there were varying results. The presentations on the topics of research and funding, technology, and institutions, successfully provided materials and lectures describing current trends.
The section on theories of political systems and their methods of come control was more difficult. Little of value has been written, and we were compelled to draw from a hodge-podge of sources in an attempt to open this subject. Thus, the presentations were a mixed bag, representing the underdevelopment and complexity of this area.
Finally, in the discussion of what was to come, we found ourselves unwillingly becoming prophets of doom. This happened at least partially because we had not discussed the role of the masses in resisting control and forcing changes in the conditions which would otherwise enslave them. The future is not determined by one person or one administration; rather, it is a product of the dialectical relation between the ruling class and its agents, and mass movements. The outcome, then, showed how important it was to continue political work in this field, educating and organizing and working with sensitive communities and groups.
A final note on course content is needed. Under the cover of the Watergate crisis which was enveloping the media, a new major crime bill was quietly introduced in Congress. The Federal Criminal Code Reform Act of 1973 (now appearing as SB 1400, sponsored by McClellan and Hruska) was an indicator of what was being planned by the Nixon administration. At the time of its introduction, even those of us studying the subject were unaware of this bill. Now, as Watergate recedes somewhat, we find that renewed repression is in store: revival of Smith Act type witch hunts; nullification of the 1972 Supreme Court decision limiting the use of the death penalty; redraft of the 1968 anti-riot act (to cover Wounded Knee type events) with penalties of $25,000 and 3 years in prison; reaffirmation of the 1968 wiretap law requiring phone companies and landlords to fully cooperate with wiretaps; protection of classified data even when improperly classified such as the Pentagon Papers; restrictions on virtually all civil rights and peace demonstrations with sentences of up to 15 years and $100,000 fines; sanctions for the use of deadly force by police officers to prevent the escape of any person arrested for any crime, regardless of whether or not the person is armed.
Clearly, this subject is as crucial as ever. It is imperative that people understand what is happening to criminal "justice" in the United States.
I. Introduction -- The Questions (Why a course on criminal justice policy? Is there a national policy? Methodology for such a study)
David Seidman and Michael Couzens, "Crime, Crime Statistics, and the Great American Anti-Crime Crusade." Speech delivered at the 1972 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., September 5-9,1972.
Richard Harris, The Fear of Crime. New York: Praeger, 1969.
Richard Harris, Justice (pp. 143-256). New York: Dutton, 1970.
Richard Harris, "Reflections -- The New Justice." New Yorker (March 25,1972).
"Crime: Nixon Approach, Its Costs and Results." Congressional Quarterly (April 18, 1971).
North American Congress on Latin America, "Research Methodology Guide." New York: NACLA, 1971.
II. Overview, Recent Changes in Criminal Justice -- Institutions (Courts, Supreme Court, limitation of voir dire, requirements for conviction, size of jury; Prisons -- medical and maximum facilities, therapeutic communities)
"The Sub-Supreme Court." San Francisco Chronicle (October 20,1972).
Frank Donner and Eugene Cerruti, "The Grand Jury Network." The Nation (January 3, 1972).
"Split Juries Can Convict, Court Says." San Francisco Chronicle (May 23, 1972).
Ramsey Clark, Crime in America (pp. 249-317). New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970.
American Friends Service Committee, Struggle for Justice (pp. 3447, 83-99). New York: Hill and Wang, 1971.
June Stahl, "Caged or Cured: Classification and Treatment of California Felons at the California Medical Facility." Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science 56(2).
Lynne S. Hollander, 'The 'Adjustment Center': California's Prisons Within Prisons." The Black Law Journal (Summer, 1971).
United States Bureau of Prisons, "Asklepieion." Federal Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois, n.d.
III. Overview, Recent Changes in Criminal Justice -- Technology (Behavior Control -- drugs, psychosurgery, behavior modification, preventive therapy; Computers and Data Banks; Police -- surveillance and crowd control)
Sharon Gold, "T.A.S.C.: The Methadone Jail." Conspiracy (January, 1973).
Henry Lennard, et al., "The Methadone Illusion." Science 176 (May 26, 1972).
"Use of Drugs in Overactive Pupils Argued." Los Angeles Times (September 30,1970).
Ruth Tebbets, "Carving Up the Human Mind: The SST of Brain Surgery." Pacific News Service, 1972.
Barton L. Ingraham and Gerald W. Smith, "The Use of Electronics on the Observation and Control of Human Behavior and its Possible Use in Rehabilitation and Parole." Issues in Criminology 7(2) (Fall, 1972).
Michael H. Shapiro, "The Uses of Behavior Control Technologies: A Response." Issues in Criminology 7(2) (Fall, 1972).
Federal Prisoners' Coalition, "The Mind Police." Penal Digest International 2(3) (August, 1972).
Vernon Mark and Frank Ervin, Violence and the Brain (first and last chapters). New York: Harper, 1970.
Theodore Sarbin and Jeffrey Miller, "Demonism Revisited: The XYY Chromosomal Anomaly." Issues in Criminology 5(2) (Summer, 1970).
Jose M. R. Delgado, Physical Control of the Mind (pp. 207-262). New York: Harper, 1969.
Michael Hards, "Banks Must Photostat Checks." San Francisco Chronicle (April 18, 1972).
Jeff Gerth, "The Americanization of 1984." Sundance 1(1).
National Action/Research on the Military Industrial Complex, Police on the Home Front. Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1970.
Ramsey Clark, Crime in America (pp. 97-249). New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970.
IV. State Policy in the Control of Crime (Political Theory and the Role of the State)
Machiavelli, The Prince. New York: Hendricks House, 1964.
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (pp. 210-251). New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958.
National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, "Violence and Law Enforcement," in To Establish Justice: To Insure Domestic Tranquility. Final Report of the Violence Commission (pp. 139167). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, December, 1969.
C. Wright Mills, "The Theory of Balance," in The Power Elite. New York: Oxford, 1956.
V. State Policy in the Control of Crime (Critiques of Traditional Views of the State)
V.I. Lenin, "Class Society and the State," in State and Revolution. New York: International Publishers, 1943.
Carl Boggs, "Gramsci's Prison Notebook." Socialist Revolution 11 & 12 (September-October and November-December, 1972).
Ralph Miliband, The State in Capitalist Society (pp. 68145). New York: Basic Books, 1969.
Isaac Balbus, "Ruling Class Elite Theory vs. Marxian Class Analysis." Monthly Review (May, 1971).
VI. State Policy in the Control of Crime (The State in Reaction to Crime: Historical Examples)
Alan Wolfe, "Political Repression and the Liberal Democratic State." Monthly Renew (December, 1971).
Michael Foucault, Madness and Civilization (pp. 42-61). New York: New American Library, 1965.
Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer, "Modern Prison Reform and Its Limits," in Punishment and Social Structure. New York: Russell and Russell, 1967.
Alan Silver, "Demand for Order in Civil Society," in The Police. Edited by David Bordua. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1967.
VII. State Policy in the Control of Crime (Contemporary Theories)
Edward C. Banfield, The Unheavenly City. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970.
Herman and Julia Schwendinger, "The Hegemonic Intellectuals" and 'The Technocratic Liberal Intellectuals," in Sociologists of the Chair. New York: Basic Books, 1974.
Daniel Moynihan, "The Relationship of Federal to Local Authorities." Daedalus (Summer, 1967).
In the Public Interest (Fall, 1972).
Richard Nixon, Inaugural Addresses, State of the Union Addresses, 1969,1973.
Richard Nixon, Messages to Congress on Crime Control.
National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, "Summary of Recommendations," in To Establish Justice: To Insure Domestic Tranquility. Final Report of the Violence Commission. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, December, 1969.
VIII. Criminal Justice Planning
Annual Reports of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, l970-1972.
Annual Reports of the Attorney General, 1968-1972.
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Law and Disorder III. Washington, D.C., n.d.
National Institute of Law enforcement and Criminal Justice, "Program Plan for Fiscal Year 1973" (pp. 138).
IX. Summary -- Projections for the Future
From Crime and Social Justice 1 (Spring-Summer 1974): 64-66. Social Justice is published quarterly. Copyright © 1975 by Social Justice, ISSN 1043-1578. Social Justice, P.O. Box 40601, San Francisco, CA 94140. SocialJust@aol.com.