Crime In The Progressive Era Essay

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ESSAY 2 During the Colonial period it was believed that crime was a sinful act that occurred because of the combination of inherent human weakness and the strong influences of the devil. Thus, the church was a key player in determining the rigid standards of crime and punishment in society with the goal of keeping social order for the survival of the colony. Punishments were severe and public to amplify deterrence, including banishment for minor crimes such as heresy and death for being an unruly child. Similarly, during the Jacksonian period crime was viewed as a somewhat contagious “moral disease” that needed to be both cured through hard labor and contained through isolation to avoid the corruption of others. This increased reliance on…show more content…
Instead the focus was on what was facilitating it-such as criminogenic environments due to economic hardship, broken homes, and potential mental conflicts. Thus the Progressive period was more interested in the government treating rather than judging the offender, and felt that keeping one incarcerated made it impossible to rehabilitate them into normal society. Consequently, probation, parole, and indeterminate sentencing became solutions to crime. The medical model views crime as being caused by underlying psychological factors. This placed a strong reliance on psychological remedies for crime, including psychological analysis, diagnosis, and treatment of the root causes of criminal behavior similar to the treatment of a patient with a mental illness. In theory this would prevent recidivism because the true cause of the behavior would be resolved. The crime control period views crime as more of a rational choice and values punishment that is swift, certain, and severe in order to prevent/suppress criminality which threatens the functioning of a free society. This “us vs them” mentality supports greater prosecutorial power, increased usage of punitive processes like imprisonment/fines, and greater police power to deter
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