Criminology Midterm Essay

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Criminology Midterm Essay|
Brian Baughn|


Anytown’s Department of Job and Family Services’ implemented a new policy stating that “any household that has one or more documented offense of domestic violence, child abuse, or drug or alcohol related offenses committed by the mother, father, guardian, and/or caregiver, will result in the removal of any child or children from the home.” In addition to the removal of a child, “the child will be placed in the care of the state, or foster care services, until documentation can prove that the offender has undergone any or all of the following, and has thus been “offense free” for a period of no less than six months: alcohol and /or drug treatment, counseling, family therapy sessions, mental health treatment, anger management, life skills classes, and/or parenting classes.” I have to say that I strongly oppose the majority of the policy. Firstly, I see many ethical and moral dilemmas. Secondly, I believe this policy will have an immediate negative impact on the children, as well as an ultimately destructive effect on criminality in the future. Lastly, while I do feel that the Department of Job and Family Services interpreted the social learning theory properly, I do not feel, however, that they applied it properly when implementing the policy.

I question this policy for that a number of moral and ethical issues come to mind when I think of this new policy. This policy seems to be that of one that too quickly jumps to conclusions as well as judgments. Which brings up questions such as who determines that a child is in danger? What constitutes endangerment in the government’s eyes? How is it decided that the state is better suited to raise my child?

Someone has to inform the state that an issue exists within a household. Sometimes it is a police officer that responded to a dispute. Sometimes it’s a concerned neighbor. Other times it’s another family member or friend of the family. The point I’m getting at is that while many times there is real danger, a lot of times it is a simple case of misunderstanding or even a false claim. The case should be well investigated before a decision to remove a child is made. I do not think I have enough faith in the ability of the Department of Jobs and Family Services to thoroughly investigate an issue for me to be open to the new policy. This policy, in my opinion, is intrusive and allows the government to insinuate itself into a citizen’s life, home, and family. Americans embrace their freedoms and rights from fear of oppression from the government. This means that American people should not have to be afraid that the government will take a child away from his/her family, because of one infraction or mistake. In my opinion, one offe`nse does not seem substantial enough evidence in deciding that a child should be ripped away from his/her family. There are many occasions when a nosey neighbor perceives something they saw as abuse or neglect, when in reality it was not. In criminal cases, citizens have the right to due process, as well as the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. I do not see a fair system here. Are the people who are deciding the fate of a child and family really qualified enough to make such a momentous decision? If the government decides that they can raise your child better than you, then where does it end? The idea borders too much on the side of a totalitarianism government. Another issue I have with this policy is that one of the “offenses” refers to that of alcohol. Alcohol is legal. So tell me how the government can decide to take someone’s child away for something that it deems legal. It is a much bigger pill to swallow for average citizens, when a contradiction such as this exists in any new policy. It’s like telling someone to look but not touch, touch but do not taste, taste but do not swallow, swallow but do not enjoy. I do agree that...
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