Questions Concerning Criminal Justice and Safety
i. What are the specific aims & purposes of the criminal law? To what extent does the criminal law control behaviour? Do you believe that the law is too restrictive or not restrictive enough?
The specific aims and purposes of criminal law is to punish criminals, and prevent people from becoming future criminals by using deterrence. “Having a criminal justice system that imposes liability and punishment for violations deter.” (Paul H. Robinson, John M. Darley, Does Criminal Law Deter? A Behavioural Science Investigation, Oxford Journal of Legal studies, volume 24, No. 2 (2004), pp. 173-205). Criminal law intimidates citizens because most people won’t want to be arrested or have a write up on their personal record. Criminal law controls behaviour but only outlines what a good citizen should be doing, by creating laws. “More precisely, the term refers to substantive criminal law - a body of law that prohibits certain kinds of conduct and imposes sanctions for unlawful behaviour.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia, Criminal Law, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/criminal-law, para. 1.) Having laws and not enforcing them is pointless, so by creating a law you need to enforce it strictly so people stop committing the offence. Like in Alberta and other parts of Canada the Distracted Driving law was in full effect and anyone caught texting and driving or anything along those lines was given a major demerit dock, and a hefty ticket you need to pay. By doing this it enforces the law and creates that thought in the back of the citizens head that says “should I do that? What will happen if I text and drive and get caught?”. However, most criminals don’t have that subconscious thought and don’t care if they get caught breaking the law, that’s why so many criminals are re-offenders. Laws are either questions concerning criminal justice