THE McDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY AND CRIME CONTROL
PRESENTATION TO THE BALTIC CRIMINOLOGY SYMPOSIUM, TALLINN, 1996
Department of Law, Carleton University,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6
How are we to understand the changing character of social life, both generally (i.e. internationally), and specifically (e.g. in the Baltics)? One way to do so is to examine changing political ideologies and practices, for example the international shift from socialist and welfare-oriented states to an emphasis on capitalism, privatization, and individualism.
While this approach is useful, it also has limitations. A political focus is constrained in its ability to document what is actually going on in the lives and experiences of 'ordinary' people. A political focus is also impeded by the fact that the same terms - e.g. 'radical' and 'conservative' - can mean very different things in different countries.
So here, I prefer to take an approach which is at once more abstract, and more concrete. Specifically, I wish to ask: what icons are useful in examining developments in contemporary social life, both generally and specifically? What individual institutions help to sum up the tendencies that are being experienced at all levels of social life - including those of international economics, governmental activities, and our own everyday lived experience?
Such an approach of identifying icons is not new. For example, Michel Foucault (in Discipline and Punish) brilliantly used the exemplar of the history of the prison in exploring changing trends in social control, and in the exercise of power. One of the beauties of Foucault's work is that he uses one of the most hidden forms of control - literally behind bars, walls, and other impediments to public entry - in illuminating the disciplinary forms of control which took place in society at large over the past two centuries.
The 'icon' I wish to focus on here is that of McDonald's, the fast food chain. McDonald's - having started franchising in the USA in the 1950s - is now ubiquitous and omnipresent. One can travel the extensive length and breadth of the USA eating only at McDonald's! Internationally, the presence of McDonald's is also extensive, as the chain extends its ambit beyond North America and western Europe... For example, in 1990, McDonald's opened in Moscow, and central and eastern Europe more generally have seen the proliferation of McDonald's (including recent openings in the Baltics). In 1992, the "world's largest" McDonald's opened in Beijing, China. Other places where it subsequently started operations include Mecca, Saudi Arabia. By the end of 1993, over one-third of McDonald's were outside the United States, and by 1995 about half of McDonald's profits came from its foreign operations.(1)
In short, McDonald's epitomizes the global village. It is both a transnational and a local phenomenon.
* * *
Just about everybody has something to say about McDonald's, whether positive or negative.
On the positive side, some people might say that:
- McDonald's is quick, efficient, and convenient;
- it is nice to be able to go to foreign countries and eat the familiar food of McDonald's;
- McDonald's is relatively cheap (at least in North America and western Europe).
On the negative side, others might say that:
- the food at McDonald's is not good for your health;
- the packaging of food at McDonald's is excessive and wasteful;
- the atmosphere at McDonald's is impersonal.
Each of the above observations could be pursued individually. But here I wish to take a bigger step back and raise some basic questions. These are:
* What is the underlying logic of McDonald's? What are its basic principles?
* What are the consequences of these principles for social life and interaction?
* In what ways do current efforts to respond to, and control, crime reflect a similar logic and principles to those of McDonald's?
Before addressing these questions, let me first acknowledge that my observations on McDonald's, and on the McDonaldization of society, are largely drawn from George Ritzer's stimulating book The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation into the Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life.(2)
What I wish to do is to elaborate on some of Ritzer's key observations,
and to speculate on how they might apply in the sphere of crime control.
THE UNDERLYING LOGIC, RATIONALE, AND PRINCIPLES OF McDONALD'S
The ultimate goal of McDonald's is, of course, the maximization of profit. But McDonald's is notable for the extremely rationalized processes through which this pursuit of profit is undertaken. In short, it is this relentless emphasis on rationalization which characterizes McDonald's. Moreover, the type of rationality involved is that which Max Weber identified as 'formal rationality.' Formal rationality exists when rules and regulations are rigidly set out for individuals to follow. By the same token, individuals have little opportunity to do otherwise, and they can become dehumanized (and even irrelevant).
This emphasis on rationalization is not new. Formal rationality has been with us since the Enlightenment - as evidenced in the bureaucracies dealing with government, schooling, work, and so on. Indeed, authors such as Zygmunt Bauman(3) argue that the Holocaust was a logical outcome of modern bureaucratic rationality (with those considered undesirable having been identified, the Nazis developed a dispassionate, efficient, process to exterminate, and dispose, of them).
Arguably, McDonald's - and broader processes of McDonaldization - can be seen as the culmination of previous forms of rationalization.... whether in the mundane context of factory assembly-line production, or in the ultimately horrific context of the Holocaust.
What do these rationalized principles as evidenced in McDonald's involve? According to George Ritzer, the key characteristics are:
- control - especially through the use of nonhuman technology.
Efficiency: Where efficiency is concerned, McDonald's offers an alternative to the time-consuming processes of preparing food to eat at home, and washing dishes after eating. Going to McDonald's is also less time-consuming than going to more traditional restaurants.
Components of efficiency at McDonald's include streamlining the process. For example, buns arrive at the restaurant pre-sliced, and burgers are pre-shaped. The packaging is also easy to manoeuvre. Meanwhile, customers are sped in and out - ample parking is often readily available, the menu offers limited choices (so speeding decision-making), and the harsh lights and uncomfortable seating are not conducive to lingering. With the advent of drive-through windows where orders can be made, the customer's time spent at McDonald's is even more fleeting.
Efficiency at McDonald's also includes simplifying the product. There are few ingredients in the meals, and the meals themselves are simple to prepare, serve, and eat. For the most part, utensils are not necessary - fingers will suffice. The size of burgers is such that they can only be cooked one way - well done (so precluding customer requests for a rarely-cooked burger).
Efficiency at McDonald's is further enhanced by putting customers to work. Customers wait in line, bring their food to the table, and clear up their mess after they have eaten. Drive-ins further reduce the work to be done by McDonald's staff, as customers take their garbage away with them.
Calculability/quantification: At McDonald's the emphasis is on quantity rather than quality. As Ritzer puts it, quantity becomes a surrogate for quality. There is an emphasis on speed, and on the alleged volume of the food being provided... as, for example, in the provision of 'Big Macs.'
In general, calculability has the status of a fine art in the operating procedures of McDonald's. Precooked hamburgers measure exactly 3.875 inches, and the bun exactly 3.5 inches. Automatic drink dispensers ensure that drinks are the size they are supposed to be (and not larger or smaller according the whim of a particular server).
Predictability: In turn, strategies of pre-measuring and pre-packaging ensure that a 'quarter pounder' hamburger in New York is identical to that in Los Angles. The same goes for fries, drinks, and so on. Other elements of predictability at McDonald's include the similar layouts of McDonald's around the world, and the fact that employees' conversations with customers are 'scripted' (that is, employees are told precisely how they should greet and address customers, and proceed with the transaction). Being served, and eating at, McDonald's is characterized by routine.
Control: Hand-in-hand with this emphasis on efficiency, calculability, and predictability, McDonald's also has an underlying emphasis on control. This control is directed both at employees and customers. Moreover, an important feature of the control is its reliance on nonhuman technologies (including not only technology itself, but fixed regulations, procedures, and techniques).
Elements of this control have already been alluded to. Employees are limited in their autonomy not only through scripting, but also in that most of the food is pre-prepared, and their job is mainly to assemble and heat it (with the ovens on timers). As Ritzer (p. 102) observes, cooking fast food is similar to painting-by-numbers. Meanwhile, customers move through the restaurant as if they were on a conveyor belt - they line up at the counter, order and pay for their food, carry it to the table, eat, and dispose of their debris in the garbage can (with unwritten norms ensuring their compliance).
Overall, principles of efficiency, calculability, predictability and control reveal that managerial concerns are dominant in the McDonald's approach to preparing and serving food.(4)
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE PRINCIPLES FOR SOCIAL LIFE AND INTERACTION?
One of the ironies of McDonald's is that - similarly to other highly rationalized institutions - the system produces its own irrationalities. In other words, McDonald's has various negative consequences.
For example, although McDonald's is supposed to provide quick and efficient service, the reality is that long line-ups (and waits) often occur. Moreover, although McDonald's is supposed to be cheap, if one were to look at the situation of a couple with several children, it would actually be cheaper for them to prepare a meal at home. In addition, the time saved by not preparing a meal at home can be offset by the time it takes to travel to McDonald's, to wait in line, and to travel home again.
More importantly, McDonald's can be described as irrational, and negative, in its effects, because it can dehumanize, and be bad for, human beings.
Health-wise, McDonald's is bad for humans given the content of its food. Meat, fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar, are not a good diet. Many authors have criticized McDonald's for being nutritionally problematic, and for using excessive and artificial packaging which damages the environment.
McDonald's dehumanizes its employees by giving them tasks which are essentially mindless. There is no room for employees to think or be creative. Not surprisingly then, the fast-food industry has a "high level of resentment, job dissatisfaction, alienation [and] absenteeism" (p. 130)... and has a staff turnover rate of 300% which is the highest of any industry in the USA. The average worker lasts about 4 months, and the entire workforce turns over about 3 times a year.
Both customers and employees are dehumanized by the scripted conversations. There is little opportunity for meaningful, or alternative, conversations. Authentic human relationships are replaced by prefabricated interactions. Employee-customer encounters are brief, and, with the high turnover of employees, there is little chance of building a relationship over time. Everyone feels rushed.
At the same time, interaction among customers is discouraged by McDonald's emphasis on getting customers in and out (including the provision of uncomfortable seating). Socializing is restricted and lingering is discouraged (often with signs identifying the restricted length of time which one is supposed to stay).
Arguably, McDonald's alienates, divides, and dehumanizes, people.
* * *
Lest anyone think that I am on some sort of crusade against McDonald's, let me reiterate that I am positing McDonald's as an icon (or an ideal-type) of tendencies of hyper-rationalization which are occurring more generally, and internationally. For example, in the case of university education, we also see an increasing emphasis on efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control through nonhuman technologies - in other words, an intensified emphasis on managerial concerns.
Where efficiency is concerned, there are movements toward shortening the length of courses so that universities will have more flexibility in managing their programmes (and so that course offerings at different universities will become more compatible). Where calculability is concerned, there is an increasing emphasis on students' grades and scores, and it is these - rather than a student's personality, circumstances, and academic potential - which will determine their ability to proceed. Where predictability is concerned, there is an increasing emphasis on uniform processes, including the use of text books (rather than primary sources), and on multiple-choice examinations (rather than essays). Meanwhile, standard exams such as IQ tests, and LSAT, are used as predictors of students' potential for success. Where control is concerned, students are subject to increasingly rigid testing procedures, and lecturers themselves are often hemmed in by rigid bureaucratic procedures, especially with respect to admitting, and assessing, students.
Overall, these processes are dehumanizing. Universities feel like factories. Contacts between staff and students are increasingly limited - for example, students may register by touch-tone phone, and communicate with professor by e-mail rather than face-to-face. With the rapid expansion of 'distance' (ie. TV) learning - even on campus - some students may rarely sit in a classroom at all. In sum, management - rather than substance - seems to be the driving force.
IN WHAT WAYS DO CURRENT EFFORTS TO RESPOND TO, AND CONTROL, CRIME REFLECT AND REINFORCE THIS 'McDONALDIZATION' OF SOCIETY?
Put in the most general way, western efforts at crime control appear to be taking an increasingly managerial direction.
The significance of this shift is perhaps best illuminated by looking at prior approaches. In crude terms, one might argue that the decades following the French Revolution were ones when attention was being focused on the establishment of fair criminal justice systems which paid attention to issues of due process (as reflected, for example, in Beccaria's urging that the punishment should fit the crime, and not be disproportionate to it). Within criminology, this is the classical approach to crime - one which emphasizes the individual's responsibility for their actions - regardless of their circumstances.
The mid 1800s until the 1970s saw the ascendance (and sudden demise) of the positivist approach, and its support for rehabilitation. In other words, this was a period which sought to discover individual and social 'causes' of crime, and to develop measures which would counteract these 'causes.'
Classical and positivist approaches are very different to one another. For example, classical approaches emphasize the individual's free-will, while positivists emphasize factors influencing (or determining) individuals' behaviour. Yet, these approaches have in common a recognition of, and focus on, human beings themselves, and related value, or ethical, issues. For example, within classical approaches, much attention was given to questions of what might be considered justifiable punishment, and the limits thereof. And, within positivist approaches, not only were individuals (criminals) scrutinized in terms of their individual and social situations, much effort was also devoted to devising programmes which might best respond to problems experienced by people in trouble with the law.
By contrast, what might be described as the 'managerial' approach to dealing with crime - or the 'McDonaldization' of crime control - pays far less attention to humanistic and ethical issues. Rather, idealistic views toward developing progressive responses to crime are brushed aside in favour of developing strategies for managing the crime problem. Issues of effectiveness, and efficiency, hold centre stage.
Let me give some examples of how 'McDonaldization' of crime control is occurring, and specifically with respect to the principles of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control (especially through the use of nonhuman, technological, methods). In order to focus my discussion, I shall primarily examine punishment and the prison - although principles of privatization are equally observable with respect to crime prevention, policing, and the courts more generally.
At this point, it is perhaps important to note that these rationalized tendencies in crime control and punishment are currently more prominent in North America and western Europe, than in Baltic and other east European countries. The question is, is this kind of McDonaldization of crime control desirable? And, if not, what are the alternatives?
PUNISHMENT AND THE PRISON
Overall, since the 1970s in North America, there seems to be less and less inclination to examine the overall picture of crime. Rather, that crime is a problem - a major problem - seems to be assumed. If attention is paid to the overall picture of crime at all, it is generally to draw attention to forms of crime which, it is felt, are not being adequately addressed - and to call for more policing and punishment. Thus, policing and punishment has been intensified in various areas, including sexual offenses, violence against women, child abuse, and (although to a lesser extent), white collar crime, computer crime, and environmental crime.(5)
In dealing with crime, policies adopted appear increasingly managerial in character. Discourses of efficiency, predictability, and control, predominate.
For example, where sentencing is concerned - and as discussed by Nils Christie(6) and other authors - North America has seen the rise of the 'just deserts' model and determinate sentencing. North American judges today, particularly in the USA, have far less autonomy than they had several decades ago. Rather than being able to focus on individual offenders, their task increasingly seems to be that of 'matching' the appropriate sentence to the appropriate crime (taking account of various factors such as use of weapon, previous convictions, etc.).
Although at first glance this may appear to be a highly rational system which makes sense, in practice, it is spawning various negative, and even irrational, consequences. In part, this results from the overwhelming tendency to increase, rather than constrain, the severity of sentencing. Thus, under the '3 strikes' legislation in one American state, a man effectively received a life sentence for stealing a pizza.
Just deserts and determinate sentencing clearly evidence McDonaldization: they are efficient in that judges spend less time assessing the merit or otherwise of individual offenders and cases; the sentence is basically calculated for the judge according to a pre-given set of criteria; correspondingly, once a conviction has been registered, the sentence to be imposed is far more predictable; and control over the process is largely secured through the nonhuman technology of sentencing grids (with the judge's calculation of sentence often being aided by the use of computers).
There are numerous other developments which could be discussed as exemplars of McDonaldization in crime control and punishment. These include the growing use of electronic monitoring for offenders in North America, and a corresponding reduction in their contact with 'caring' professionals; the obsession with the LSI [Level of Supervision Index] and other such psychological tools used in assessing the 'risk' levels posed by offenders; and the diminishing of contact between prison guards and prisoners, in favour of a reliance on video and other 'static' forms of surveillance within prisons.
But I would rather say a few words about the increasingly managerial approach evident in Canadian correctional systems, and discuss one incident where - I think - the ultimately irrational outcome of a McDonaldized approach is apparent.
Canadian Developments and Incidents
Annual Reports of Canadian correctional systems(7) over the past few decades evidence a managerial discourse which has traditionally been more readily associated with the corporate, capitalist, world. Thus, correctional systems have 'mission statements,' and use corporate language in describing their strategies, goals and objectives. Within this corporate discourse, prisons become 'institutions,' and prisoners become 'clients,' and sometimes even 'customers.'
As a part of the managerial approach, policies and procedures have been developed to deal with just about every conceivable situation. In turn, these policies are said to ensure a highly 'professional' approach to the management of the institutions and their inmates.
That adherence to these professional and managerial guidelines can go hand-in-hand with an overlooking of basic humanistic and ethical issues is clear in the context of some events at the Federal Prison for Women in 1994. In brief, some of the women prisoners had been causing disturbances in the prison. In response to this, a decision was taken by management to call in the IERT [the Institutional Emergency Response Team] to deal with them.
By the time the IERT came in, the 7 women concerned were each asleep in individual, sparsely furnished cells, in the segregation area. Despite the fact that the trouble was effectively over, and no immediate threat to the institution's security was being posed by the women, the IERT swung into action. In doing so, the IERT followed their usual procedures. Each of the women were confronted in their cells by the team of 8 IERT members, and their coordinator (as well as a female staff member of the prison). In accordance with standard procedures, the men's dress and equipment were designed to be "intimidating":(8)
The dress consists of a black combat suit and associated protective gear - shin pads, safety boots, gas mask with an eye shield, and a protective helmet. The weapons carried by IERT members include batons, mace cans, and at least one plastic shield per team.
The men carried out their task in accordance with the policies of the Correctional Service of Canada. Their standard procedure for stripping and removing inmates is described as follows (pp. 67-68). The team:
marches into the area in formation (as part of the intimidation technique) and approaches the cell of the inmate who is to be extracted. The plastic shield is banged against the cell, producing a very loud and frightening noise. The inmate is told to lie face down on the floor and warned that if the order is not obeyed, mace will be used. If the inmate complies, the cell door is opened and members of the team enter the cell and assume an 'on guard' stance with batons and mace around the inmate. Restraint equipment - usually handcuffs and leg irons - is applied to the inmate. The inmate's clothing is cut off, and the inmate's body is visually inspected... If the cell is to be stripped, the inmate is taken from the cell and made to walk backwards....
The only IERT member who speaks during this procedure is the team leader, who issues any necessary instructions. Other IERT members do not speak, and do not answer questions from inmates...
The IERT is male. It is generally deployed in male institutions... There is no variation in the techniques that it uses when it is deployed, as it occasionally has been, at the Prison for Women. Members of the team are uncomfortable with being deployed in a female institution, but they do respond when called. Their training dictates that there be no variation from standard techniques when the inmates against whom those techniques are deployed are female.
The potential of these procedures to dehumanize and demean inmates is enormous. This is especially the case when, as occurred in this instance, the prisoners are women. That dehumanization and degradation did take place is evident in the narrative of the report of the subsequent Commission of Inquiry. The Commissioner - informed by a videotape of the events, as well as by the accounts of witnesses - describes the IERT's handling of Joey Twins, the first woman to be dealt with as follows (p. 71):
Prior to the video being turned on, the IERT marched into the Segregation Unit in standard formation, approached Joey Twins' cell and banged on the bars of her cell with the shield. She immediately did as she was ordered, and when the video begins she is lying face down in her cell surrounded by IERT members who are holding her down. An officer now identified as a female staff member of the Prison for Women staff, cuts off Ms. Twins' clothing with the 911 tool, while IERT members hold her down... Ms. Twins' hands are cuffed behind her back and her legs are shackled. She is marched backwards out of her cell naked, and led to the corner of the range. There she is held against the wall with the clear plastic shield, with her back against the wall. Some IERT members stand around her... The corner where Ms. Twins is standing is visible to anyone in the unit or standing in the doorway separating the disassociation side from the protective custody side of the Segregation Unit. Those who attended in those areas over the course of the evening included members of the prison's correctional staff, the institutional physician, Dr. Mary Pearson, the Case Management Coordinator, Marjo Callaghan... Correctional Supervisor Warnell, as well as the IPSO and the maintenance men...
While she is still being held in the corner, a paper gown is brought to Ms. Twins and tied around her neck. The effect is something like that of a bib. The paper gown neither covers her, nor provides warmth.
Upon her return to the cell, an IERT member begins the extremely lengthy process of attempting to apply a body belt in substitution of her handcuffs, during which procedure her gown comes off. A body belt is a form of restraint equipment which, as its name implies, consists of a locked chain around the inmate's waist to which are attached locked cuffs attaching the wrists to the locked belt, more or less at the side of the body...
Finally, this lengthy procedure is completed and she is left lying on the floor of her cell in restraints - body belt and leg irons - with a small paper gown.
Throughout this procedure, she is evidently distressed...
The other women, as described in the report, were similarly treated. As noted, such a precise description was possible primarily because the IERT - in keeping with their professional approach - make videos of their activities in order to protect themselves from allegations by inmates, and for use a training tool.
The treatment of these women gave rise to numerous issues - most of which cannot be addressed here. What I wish to emphasize is the McDonaldized principles evident in the IERT's operation. They are highly efficient in immobilizing, stripping, and searching, prisoners. The process through which they operate is streamlined, and its components - including the clothes they wear, their entrance to cells in formation, the weapons they carry, their silence, and their manner of approaching and dominating prisoners - make for a procedure which is highly regulated and predictable. Further, their control is facilitated by the use of nonhuman technology - including protective clothing, batons, shields, mace, 911 cutting shears (for cutting clothing off prisoners), handcuffs, leg irons, and body belts.
To view the video of this rationalized approach administered to the prisoners at the Prison for Women is chilling. Each woman, alone in her cell, is swarmed by men in riot gear. Each woman's clothes are removed by force or under duress, and in the presence of these masked, armed, anonymous, men. Few words are spoken. Each women is subsequently given a paper gown - inadequate to cover them with any modesty - and subsequently subject to other degrading procedures.
When parts of the video were eventually broadcast on TV about 9 months after the events, the general reaction of the Canadian public was of shock and horror - an understandable human reaction. More pertinent to our interest in McDonaldization however, is the fact that the reaction of employees of the Correctional Service of Canada was very different. Members of the IERT - despite any discomfort they felt in stripping women - took the stance that they were just doing their job, and following orders.
For their part, senior management officials, during the period between the stripping of women and the release of the video, consistently maintained that men had not strip searched women. Perhaps from their strict reading of the policy, the fact that a female officer from the Prison for Women had administered the actual shears meant - for the officials - that no unacceptable actions on the part of the IERT had taken place. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada accepted the word of his officials, and ignored the prisoners' allegations about the presence, and involvement, of men.(9)
Overall, if the correctional system had been allowed to operate only according to its own rationale and logic - a McDonaldized one - the degradation and dehumanization of the women would never have been brought to light. It was the public airing of the video which precipitated the establishment of a federal commission, and an examination of the events in their broader - and human - context.
CONCLUSION: McDONALDIZATION AND DEHUMANIZATION
While the drive toward efficiency and rationalization may have positive elements - for example the desire to constrain unnecessary expenditure, to ensure equitable treatment of people, and to increase the accountability of employees for their actions - vigilance with respect to its potential irrationalities, and negative effects, is necessary. As the operation McDonald's itself makes clear, when primacy is given to following standard operational procedures, dehumanization and alienation can be the result.
When the principles of McDonald's permeate other fields of social life, the consequences of such dehumanization and alienation are more serious. For example, within the prison system - as we have seen - McDonald's type principles can create a distance between prison guards and prisoners, and thereby yield a situation conducive to abuse. With the advent of such principles throughout the criminal justice system we can expect dehumanization, alienation, and distancing, to occur between the police and the policed, between judges and those whom they convict and sentence(10), and between the crime control system and the community at large.
What does one do about the McDonaldization of society? There is no easy answer to this, and perhaps the march of McDonaldization is unstoppable - at least in the immediate future. However, I believe that in the field of crime control, the onus is on us - as legal and criminological researchers - to be relentless in illuminating the human experiences of those in contact with the criminal justice system. By doing this, and by refusing to let managerial issues take precedence over humanistic and ethical ones in our work, perhaps we can at least facilitate recognition of McDonaldization, and the irrationalities and negative consequences which it spawns.
1. Data from George Ritzer The McDonaldization of Society: An Investigation into the Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life. Revised edition. California: Pine Forge Press, 1996. Ritzer additionally reports (pp. 1-2)
McDonald's success is apparent: in 1993 its total sales reached $23.6 billion with profits of almost $1.1 billion. The average U.S. outlet has total sales of approximately $1.6 million in a year... McDonald's... opened its 12,000th outlet on March 22, 1991. By the end of 1993, McDonald's had almost 14,000 restaurants worldwide.
2. Publication details are in footnote number 1.
3. Zygmunt Bauman Modernity and the Holocaust. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989.
4. These points also apply to other fast food chains, including Wendy's, Taco Bell, Burger King, and so on.
5. I am not suggesting that these are not very serious problems, but rather wish to highlight
1) the tendency to add new crimes, and without reexamining those crimes which are already being dealt with; and 2) the tendency to unquestioningly call for intensified policing and punishment, without considering alternative responses to such social problems.
6. Crime Control as Industry - Towards Gulags, Western Style. Routledge: London, 1994 edition.
7. In Canada, prisoners serving sentences of 2 years and longer come under the jurisdiction of the federal correctional system - the Correctional Service of Canada. Remand prisoners, and prisoners serving sentences of less than two years, come under the jurisdiction of provincial correctional systems.
8. All of the quotes concerning this incident are from the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston by the Honourable Louise Arbour, Commissioner. Ottawa: Public Works and Government Services, Canada. 1996.
9. With the appearance of the video, this position became unsustainable, as contrary evidence was plain for all to see. The day following the publication of the report of the Commission of Inquiry the Commissioner of the correctional service resigned.
10. One example of this is a case in Ireland in May 1996 where a man received a sentence of 5 years for stealing £31 worth of food and other goods. The man had originally pleaded not guilty, and opted for a trial by judge and jury. During the trial, he changed his plea to guilty. Effectively, the judge punished the man for exercising his rights, thereby incurring costs for the criminal justice system (by going to trial), and reducing its efficiency. Clearly, the judge gave the smooth, efficient, running of the system a far higher priority than he gave to this offender.