Free «Criminal Justice according to Durkheim» Essay Sample

According to Durkheim, crime is not a pathological aberration in the defining structure of a specific individual, but rather an integral part of any healthy society (1950). He goes on to make an argument that crime is normal phenomenon for the society. Moreover, it plays a positive role to the same society. Crime is found in every healthy society (Dentler et al, 1959). Therefore, it definitely plays some essential, positive function otherwise it would fade away as the society progresses and becomes more multifaceted and civilized. According to this observation, one can easily conclude that deviance is typical for human being because society without any crime would be impossible to attain. Durkheim openly went against the definition of crime as any act that results in adverse effects for the society (1950). He affirmed that criminal actions constitute the commonsense of any society. Further he pointed to the massive variations involving any kind of society in the act regarded as criminal so as to rebut the argument that notions of crime are embedded in the social evil symbolized by a particular action. Durkheim goes on to assert that the only characteristic applicable to crimes in most cases is that they are socially prohibited and punishable (Durkheim, 1950).

In my own opinion, crime and deviance is a universal trait that is present in all societies. This is due to the fact that crime serves a very important function within the social setting. While punishing offenders, moral boundaries of a group of people within a community or society are without a doubt marked out, and connection to them is toughened (Dentler et al, 1959). The rationale for punishing crime doers is neither rehabilitation nor retribution or even deterrence. Punishment aims at strengthening social harmony and unity through the reaffirming moral commitments among the conforming population, which bear witness to the suffering of the offenders and the effect it brings to them. Although most people regard crime as a problem, I stick to the opinion of Durkheim. He considered that crime should be viewed as something functional and necessary for the society rather than viewing crime as a pathological occurrence and a indication of a troubled society (1950). In support of my opinion, I point out the fact that crime appear to be ubiquitous across space and time. Every society all over the world experiences crime and deviance every second that passes (Dentler et al, 1959). Therefore, it can be concluded that crime, in a positive sought of way, seems to symbolize something of a state of normality. Moreover, crime is functional. When the society punishes crime doers, it moves to reaffirm its own values strengthening them and additionally making every society member conscious of the process that would follow if they committed the same crime. Equally, if no crime was committed by any member of the society, then the values, positive traits and good traditions of the particular society would become forgotten and ultimately blurred. On the other hand, there would be no way of reestablishing the values and traits that the crime offends if punishment did not exist.

It is good to remember that a crime constitutes of anything culturally relative rather than universal and the crimes therefore vary from one society to another. It follows that one crime in a specific society might not be considered as law breaking in another society at different corner of the world. A crime becomes so if it goes against set values, not because it is somewhat essentially wrong. According to this argument, it can be concluded that crime has a positive function in the society. Crime, although a social evil, serves to sensitize on the things one should not do and additionally should always remember not to do. With the assistance of punishment, crime serves to remind the society that everyone has the capability to be selfish and commit crime for their own benefit but chooses not to for the greater good (Dentler et al, 1959).


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