But the extremely harsh punishments that had been imposed prior to those reforms were associated not with simple, undeveloped societies, but rather with absolute monarchies.


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Sep 23, 2022


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250 words with in-text citations and 2 references
Nils Christie examined this imprisonment boom using a generally Durkheimian perspective that crime is normal in the sense that it is part of the inevitable diversity of human conduct.32 He argued that every society has a wide variety of “unwanted acts” that can be defined and processed as criminal, but these acts can also be handled in some other manner. He asked whether it is better for societies to define relatively more of these unwanted acts as criminal or to define relatively fewer of them—that is, what is a “suitable” amount of crime? Christie then examined a number of modern societies that take different approaches to this issue. Some, such as the United States and Russia, criminalize a large portion of unwanted acts, while others, such as Finland, criminalize a small portion. Christie concluded that a more limited and restricted use of criminalization is better for the society as a whole. Durkheim made three arguments about crime during modernization: a greater variety of behaviors would be tolerated, punishments would become less violent as their purpose changed from repression to restitution, and there would be a vast expansion of “functional” law to regulate the interactions of the emerging organic society. Wolfgang found support for Durkheim`s first argument in contemporary American society: “My major point is that we are currently experiencing in American culture, and perhaps in Western society in general, an expansion of acceptability of deviance and a corresponding contraction of what we define as crime.”33 However, research generally has not supported Durkheim`s second argument about punishments becoming less violent during modernization. For example, Spitzer found that developed societies were characterized by more severe punishments, while simple societies were characterized by lenient punishments, which is the opposite of what Durkheim predicted.34 Other research has generally found that rural areas in Western societies before modernization were characterized by high levels of violence and by a considerable degree of tolerance for it.35 It was only after modernization, with the concentration of populations in anonymous cities, that societies began to punish violence consistently and severely. Durkheim may have derived his idea from the fact that punishments in European societies were becoming much less severe at the time because of the reforms introduced by Beccaria and other classical theorists. But the extremely harsh punishments that had been imposed prior to those reforms were associated not with simple, undeveloped societies, but rather with absolute monarchies. Those severe punishments were not found in earlier, simpler societies.”
Based on Christie`s statement- a more limited and restricted use of criminalization is better for the society as a whole- please discuss the implications that this has…namely, how could both liberal and conservative proponents support the idea of “restricted use of criminalization.”


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