• March 28th, 2016

Sociology Of Crime Research Essay

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

Choose ONE of the following research questions. You need to insure that your work has focus, an argument and an analytical discussion. You should present a clear, thoughtful, reflective and well-presented piece of work. All essays should be carefully referenced with a complete bibliography.

In 2012 the Queensland State Government announced that it was shutting down the Murri Courts program. The development of the court and others like it across Australia were a response to key findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody that recommended increasing the practice of Aboriginal justice practices and customary law as a way of making the formal system more cultural responsive to Australian indigenous people.
While the Murri Courts were not based on customary law, many advocates have argued that the state of the criminal justice system in Australia is so bad for indigenous people that some use of customary law should be permitted. Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, argued in 2012 for example that:

If Indigenous communities are not supported to self regulate and if governments seek to reduce the standing of internal governance systems, then this has the potential to diminish that system of law within those communities. In addition, the non-recognition of customary law by Australian institutions further alienates Indigenous people from the Australian law, as it makes no recognition of our own justice system. If the government’s intention is to clarify and strengthen justice systems for Indigenous people, then it is logical that existing systems of law should be reinforced and strengthened.

While few people dispute the significant problems for indigenous people in Australia’s criminal justice system, there are also many critics of the proposal to allow for the use of customary law in criminal justice matters.

Write an essay that addresses the following questions:

1. What is customary law in Australia?
a. What other countries or jurisdictions have allowed Indigenous peoples to implement their own justice systems or practices?
2. What are the key arguments for extending the use of customary law in the formal criminal justice system, as well as the key arguments for rejecting its use?
3. In your opinion, should customary law be used in the criminal justice system in Australia? Why or why not? Here, you should focus on making a sociological argument and not simply present your own opinion.
4. What criminological theories best support or refute your proposition?

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, “In the past 10 years, the rate of prisoners has increased overall by 10 percent, rising from 152 per 100,000 population in 2002 to 167 in 2012.” More recent figures put this rate at 187 per 100,000 in 2014. Yet during the same time, violent and property crime rates have fallen.
Write an essay that seeks to explain this apparent disparity between rising prison rates and falling crime rates.

In particular, address the following questions:
1) What have been the general trends in incarceration and crime trends since the early 2000s?
2) What, in your estimation, are the best explanations as to why prison rates are increasing while crime is decreasing?
3) Which sociological or criminological theories best explain this apparent disparity, and why?
4) What are the social implications of these trends in terms of criminal justice policies and other social polices related to addressing the causes of criminal offending?

Currently, the Australian Parliament is considering a bill that will require telecommunications providers to track and store metadata from all users in Australia. In its current proposed form, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 requires all Australian telecommunications companies to store user’s phone, email and internet metadata for a period of two years. There is strong support from the government for this bill, in particular from law enforcement, who argue that it is necessary for counter-terrorism as well as to combat increasingly sophisticated criminal networks. There is also significant criticism of this proposed legislation, however. Nevertheless, it is almost certain that this bill with pass in some form.

Write an essay that addresses the following questions:
1. As of the writing of the essay, what is the status of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014? Has it become law? If so, what are the basic elements of the law? If not, what does it say in its current proposed form?
2. What are the basic arguments in favour of such a law? What are the major criticisms?
a. Here you might look at other countries that have or are proposing such laws as well.
3. In your estimation, should this law be passed? Why or why not? In your answer, you might consider the following (these are suggestions, not requirements):
a. Is the law likely to be effective? Why or why not?
b. What are the implications for civil liberties and the use of electronic surveillance in a democratic society?
c. What possible unintended consequences might arise from the passing of such a law?
4. What sociological or criminological theories best support your argument. Why?

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