Criminal Justice : Do you believe in Net Widening?
Thread started here:
Criminal Justice : Do you believe in Net Widening? @ TigerDroppings.com
Posted by Zach on TD.com
Long before I came to this board I had an interesting discussion on another site about the effects of net widening. It wasn't really contentious but very insightful. Haven't seen it discussed here and would be interested in your thoughts.
The concept says that when crime rates are high in a city and jail/prison space is packed, the thresh hold for arrests, prosecutions and sentences go up. IE, the cop gets a call that someone stole a 12 pack of beer and is running down 70th street. Cop blows it off.
Cop arrests a kid for smashing the windows out of 10 cars for fun. DA decides not to go to court.
DA prosecutes guy for selling crack. Judge gives him probation.
This would be called Net Narrowing (casting a small net)
Net Widening is the opposite. Crime rates are low. Jail/Prison occupancy is 50%. Cops go after smaller crimes (jay walking).
DAs prosecute small crimes (stealing the 12 pack of beer).
Judges give sentences for smaller crimes (4 months for possessing 3 oz of marijuana...first offense).
The big issues were...
Do you think it happens IRL?
Can Net Widening lead to an oppressive police state?
Linkbacks to TD.com approved on this end.