Dear Habermas Logo and Link to Site Index A Jeanne Site

Criminal Justice and Social Change

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: September 12, 1999
E-Mail Faculty on the Site.

Web Resources for Criminology

Access to Crime Data

Bureau of Justice Statistics
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

Uniform Crime Reports

Uniform Crime Reports for 1995-96
Uniform Crime Reports for 1990-93
National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

Art and Crime

  • Graffiti

    Art Crimes: the Writing on the Wall
    Well-done site on graffiti.
    Link to the Adler text on p.127: "The Tagger Subculture."

    Looking at the Writing on the Wall: A Critical Review and Taxonomy of Graffiti Texts
    Essay by Jane Gadsby, 1995
    Good references and bibliography, with global perspective.

  • The Social Problem of Art

    But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art As Activism
    Edited by Nina Felshin. Seattle, Bay Press. 1995 ISBN: 0-941920-29-1
    COMING SOON! A piece we'll develop later. Art has generally been privileged, supported by the wealthy, encased in museums. Many artists have challenged this in both the visual and performance arts, as well as in music.

    Critical Issues in Public Art: Content, Context, and Controversy. Ed. by Harriet F. Senie and Sally Webster. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. ISBN:1-56098-769-3. Like The Spirit of Art as Activism, focuses on the artist practicing outside the museum, but there is still the aura of that perspective. Little about the artist, unsanctioned, unpaid, but determined to produce public art (the Keith Haring model, for example). Crime to deface public property? Patronage still seems tied to a modernist perspective. More about this on the art site, as we get there. jeanne

  • Dear HabermasPoems and Art and Criminal Justice

    More Poetry: Saundra Davis has offered a new poem
    to the process text on Stanley Cameron's project on
    Photography as Sociological Method.
    Link added May 5, 1999.

Criminal and Social Justice

Discourse on Criminal Justice
Essays and links to articles. Link added July 22, 1999.

Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics
Scroll down to Beckett, Katherine on this faculty publications list.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Abstract.
Link checked September 10, 1999.

Criminal Justice Associations

American Correctional Association
Professional Organization for all those involved with aspects of correction.
Link added July 4, 1999.

Critical Criminology Sites

Hal Pepinsky's Critical Criminology Materials
with extensive material on peace-making
Link added August 28, 1999.

Cultural Criminology

Dr. Tait's Page at the University of Melbourne
Check out the Storytelling and Crime Course Description.
Link added September 10, 1999 while searching for an old cultural criminology link that has disappeared.

Defining Crime

National Alliance for Mental Health
Response to Department of Justice Report on Criminalization
Link added August 2, 1999.


BJS press release on criminalization of mental illness.
Link checked on September 10, 1999.


"I Don't Count as Diversity"
Asian voice. Local file. September 10, 1999.

Drug-Related Issues

Class Project 1 - Habermasian Discourse Approach to Drugs

by Chadwick Moore
Chadwick's First Introduction of Project
First Peer Review Response
by Stanley Cameron


Juvenile Justice

The "war on drugs" approach to preventing drug addiction has proved not only useless and enormously expensive, but also unjustifiably and unbelievably cruel in its application to the unfortunate drug victims.  The use of criminal prohibitions is profoundly wrong in principle, generally ineffective in practice, and has created problems that the drugs themselves were powerless to create.

Criminal prohibition is profoundly wrong in principle because the state has no business using its police powers to punish adult individuals for what they decide to do with their own minds and bodies. On the most basic level, the state has no legitimate power to send me to prison for eating too much red meat or fat-laden ice cream or for drinking a few beers or glasses of wine each day.  This is true in principle even if an excess of red meat and ice cream demonstrably leads to premature heart attacks and strokes. The police power of the state is legitimately used to prevent one citizen from attacking another, and to punish him if he does; it is illegitimately used to prevent adults from managing their own bodies and minds, or to punish them when they do.

The only purpose for which state power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.  His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. 

Although criminalization has not made drugs less available, it has assured that they would be available only under the most dangerous and violent circumstances.  And most of the violence is not due to the pharmacological influence of drugs but to the illegality of the market that is created by the law.  Al Capone did not shoot people because he was drunk and drug dealers do not shoot people because they are high.  They settle commercial disputes with violence in the streets because prohibition permits no other option.

Criminalization does not deter commercial transactions; to the contrary, it enriches criminals and attracts an endless parade of new entrepreneurs due to the prospect of stunning profit margins.

Criminalization does not help addicts. The huge amount of spending on interdiction and other law enforcement detracts from our ability to provide treatment on demand to all those who want it.

Three-quarters of the swollen federal drug policy budget remains devoted to law enforcement, much of it to interdiction, despite the fact that no serious student of interdiction thinks it has worked or that it can work. Federal criminalization has clogged the federal court system and, according to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, is having deleterious consequences for the administration of justice.

Our 85-year experiment with criminal prohibition of drugs, and the esca- lation of that experiment since 1980, has not solved the problems it was meant to solve and it has created other serious problems resulting from the excessive and unprincipled use of the government's police power.

Criminalization has eroded the Fourth Amendment creating in effect what Justice Thurgood Marshall once called "a drug exception" to the Constitution.

It has resulted in widespread urine testing, what Justice Antonin Scalia has called "an immolation of privacy and human dignity."

It has led to an unprecedented explosion of racially skewed incarceration.  Despite the fact that most drug users are white, most of those arrested and imprisoned are people of color.  Drug prohibition has become an engine for the restoration of Jim Crow justice.

It has led to the spread of AIDS, a genuine public health disaster, because of prohibition on the availability and distribution of clean needles.

It has violated sound medical practice by restricting the use of methadone as a prescriptive medicine and by interfering with the management of pain, wasting syndrome and glaucoma by barring the medical use of marijuana and by resisting the scientific research that would go beyond anecdotal evidence.

It has swept away the right not to have your property taken without due process of law, though the extensive use of civil asset forfeiture, a practice one leading historian has called a government "license to steal."

It has established a pretext for racial profiling on our highways, in our airports, at our customs checkpoints and on our streets that are based not on evidence but on skin color.

Above all, criminalization has intruded the state into that zone of personal sovereignty where the state should never be allowed to go, at least not in a society that calls itself free.  By failing to distinguish between users and abusers, the government has demonized all drug use without differentiation, has systematically and hysterically resisted science and has turned millions of stable and productive citizens into criminals. The Hippocratic principle that governs medical practice is: "First, do no harm." Criminal prohibition has, since 1914, done immense harm, without achieving its stated goals.

It's time to initiate a serious and extensive study of drugs, their benefits and their harm, and the proper role of government in mediating such harms as may exist.  I believe such an inquiry, fairly conducted, will lead to the conclusion that criminalization was a mistake, and that both freedom and safety, as well as a concern for addicts, require the abandonment of criminal prohibition and the development of a differentiated and appropriate regulatory system to control the availability of drugs.