Organized crime policy essays

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In his work, he has tried to bring together academics, policy makers, and practitioners to bring understanding for crime problems and innovative solutions. His passion towards the practical application of the findings of scientific research led him to found Transcrime in , which is today among the most important criminological think-tanks in Europe. Self-Reports as a Measure of Crime?

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JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Free Preview. Presents practical applications of criminology research with policy implications Presents the development of criminological study of organized crime and corruption Provides an overview of the important research career of Professor Ernesto U.

Savona and his legacy for future researchers see more benefits. Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Many municipalities also play an active role in the prevention of domestic and gender-based violence and drug use, the rehabilitation and reintegration of young gang members, the care and protection of vulnerable groups, conflict resolution, the promotion of civic culture, urban renewal and the recovery of public spaces, and even neighborhood watch organizations.

Furthermore, municipalities with more resources can help equip and train security and justice organizations and process and analyze information about crime. Finally, the municipal authorities are best placed to coordinate the efforts of the police and other institutions acting within their jurisdiction. Criminal procedure reform represents the most important change in the Latin American judicial system in recent decades as it entails redefining the role of the police so that they are clearly subordinate to the public prosecutor in the execution of criminal investigations. Even more important, it involves a new procedural model where the court is both accuser and guarantor: a model that favors speed, immediacy, oral arguments, and transparency and replaces the old model of inquisition, formalism, and written arguments.

Although the consequences of the new model on citizen security have not been fully evaluated, the transition appears to be an irreversible process, at least in the places where it is being implemented. Other changes in the judicial system are related to the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the strengthening of systems that uses punishments other than imprisonment, such as community service. Many Latin American criminal codes allow for these kinds of punishment, but they are not always applied because of a lack of organized systems that allow them to occur.

In the context of persistently weak civilian management of security policies and police forces with high levels of institutional autonomy—both of which help explain the limited progress made with the aforementioned developments—the following negative trends emerge:.

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Penal populism is primarily a tough and emotive discourse against crime, which is reflected in legislative initiatives aimed at resolving problems with heavier punishment, criminalizing certain behaviors, reducing in the minimum age for criminal responsibility, increasing police budgets, and increasing prison populations DAMMERT; SALAZAR, , p.

It is frequently accompanied by measures that aim to expand the powers of the police and the military at the expense of individual freedoms and guarantees. It also creates an illusion of a quick, definitive solution. Victims tend to demand measures that are not necessarily the most effective; for example, ones that, instead of resolving the problem, could actually exacerbate it. Given that penal populism views punishment to be the primary goal of security policies, it is normally accompanied by disdain for efforts at preventing violence and crime and rehabilitating and reintegrating offenders, as well as by the indefinite postponement of police, judicial, and prison reforms.

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They also disregard the impacts of their initiatives on the prison system as a whole. Prison systems in the Americas vary greatly, although they are all oriented towards punishment rather than rehabilitation and social integration. In general, they are characterized by poor conditions, high rates of illegal drug use among inmates, inadequate prisoner classification policies, and incidents of violence. If we also factor in the instability and corruption of the prison services, we find a dangerous situation of mismanagement that enables the free exercise of criminal activities and even the creation of large criminal organizations within prison.

There are many prisons in the hemisphere where order is maintained through a precarious balance between prison authorities and inmates. All of the subregions in the hemisphere saw a significant increase in their prison populations in recent years, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of their total population. In , the prison population of the hemisphere reached almost 3,,; excluding Mexico, Populist policies on crime frequently go hand-in-hand with the deployment of the armed forces for citizen security tasks.

This is a widespread phenomenon in the region. To some degree, it is a legacy of military regimes and internal armed conflicts, which blurred the lines between national defense and citizen security, and between the military and the police. Today, the armed forces are still active in the context of internal armed conflicts, but they have also become involved in the fight against drug trafficking and other crises that threaten public order.

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Democratic constitutional doctrine makes a distinction between the role of the military in national defense and that of the police in citizen security, explicitly stating that the armed forces can only be used for citizen security in exceptional circumstances, temporarily, and under strict parliamentary and judicial control. The exceptional nature of this recourse to the armed forces stems from the fact that the mission, training, doctrine, organization, and equipment of the military are very different from those of the police. While the military exists for wars, the police are responsible for protecting and guaranteeing citizen rights and freedoms by preventing and investigating criminal acts.

Using the military to do police work is very risky because their intervention can involve serious human rights violations.

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Nevertheless, there are some situations where criminal groups acquire such firepower and territorial control that the police alone—whether due to their weakness or criminal infiltration—are unable to stop them. In these cases, military interventions must be rare, bounded, and temporary; they must also be subject to broad civil, judicial, and legislative control and come with a quick exit strategy that guarantees that the armed forces will be replaced by the police and others in the public system, such as judicial, educational, and health services.

Another negative trend is the persistent weakness of institutions within the criminal justice system, despite the aforementioned efforts to reform the police and judicial system. Nevertheless, such weakness is not unique to these institutions.

Organized crime: a growing threat to security | SIPRI

Poor economic and social conditions affecting children and youth are at the root of many of the problems with violence. A State that is absent, especially in the social arena, hinders the resolution of these problems and their causes.

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This is compounded by the failure of the State to adequately budget for social services and other forms of prevention. A budget increase alone does not improve institutional performance, unless it is part of a strategy that includes new organizational models, improved resource management, increased transparency, accountability, and public participation, as well as open combat against corruption and abuse. In the absence of such a strategy, budget increases can feed the administrative corruption associated with the mismanagement of public resources, which is one of three kinds of corruption that, together with operational and police corruption, affects these institutions.

Any kind of corruption negatively affects measures of citizen security because it contributes to an increase in criminal activity and in perceptions of insecurity by weakening, undermining, neutralizing or penetrating security institutions. There has been a rapid increase in the number of private security companies in the hemisphere in recent years, a trend that has paralleled the deterioration of citizen security in the context of persistent institutional weakness.

This is a global phenomenon that is not limited to this hemisphere. In many countries, the number of private security guards exceeds the number of police officers. For example, in Central America the ratio is almost three to one. This trend is not problematic in and of itself, nor should it pose a challenge to the State monopoly on the use of force insofar as private security guards carry out their functions in the private sphere. However, these guards do require regulation and supervision, which has not kept pace with their rapid growth.

This is compounded by the involvement of retired military personnel and police officers who sometimes use their influence to evade the few controls that do exist. While private security guards need not compete with or substitute public security service, people often turn to them to fill the gaps and shortcomings of the public service. In those situations, the poorest social sectors lose out because they have fewer resources with which to obtain the minimal security conditions that the State cannot provide.

Therefore, it is essential that governments guarantee adequate, equitable, and universal public security services. There are four problems associated with private security operations that require special attention. First, when extractive industries have sensitive operations in zones with a weak State presence, they can end up fulfilling police functions and abusing their power. Third, there is the possibility of espionage through the interception of communications by companies that analyze strategic information or provide electronic security.

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  4. Fourth, some of these companies employ active police officers. The fourth negative trend—employing active police officers—is the violation of human rights by State agents in the context of citizen security. These violations are a legacy of the authoritarian past and the result of penal populism and institutional weakness. While they take many forms, extrajudicial executions, police brutality, and inhumane prison conditions are three particularly important issues that deserve special attention from governments.

    Extrajudicial executions are not only illegal and ethically repugnant, but they are also impractical, because they do not effectively reduce violence or crime. On the contrary, they ultimately contribute to an increase in violence and weaken the legitimacy of public institutions. Indeed, those under age 25 are abused four times more than those over Police misconduct is also more prevalent in large cities 6. It is four times more likely to affect those who have been the victims of corruption and crime than those who have not and twice as likely to affect people with political leanings, particularly to the left.

    The third form taken by persistent human rights violations are the deplorable prison conditions. This has many causes. First, the infrastructure is inadequate and unsafe, which makes it difficult to separate inmates between those who have been processed or sentenced, primary or repeat offenders, etc. Second, there are high rates of drug use and drug trafficking and extortion networks often involve prison staff. Third, there is disorder, violence, and criminal organizations that operate from within the prisons.

    Fourth, prison personnel have inadequate working conditions and low salaries. Fifth, insufficient funding and administrative corruption lead to appalling health conditions, food, and nutrition. Sixth, there is a general lack of work and study programs that would be key to efforts at rehabilitation and social reintegration. In sum, these conditions lead to riots and fights with alarming regularity and result in the loss of numerous lives. Until relatively recently, the security threats, concerns and challenges discussed in the inter-American arena were the traditional ones related to collective security, the defense of States against outside aggression, and internal armed conflicts.

    Over the past twenty-five years, attention to security issues has broadened to include new and related threats, such as transnational criminal activities that endanger the security of the State and its inhabitants as well as democratic governance and economic and social development. These activities include trafficking illegal drugs, firearms, and persons; terrorism; money laundering; corruption; criminal games; and cybercrime.

    The Commission meets twice yearly, and had its fiftieth session in November It aims to strengthen institutional capacity and channel the collective efforts of Member States in order to reduce the production, trafficking, use and abuse of drugs in the hemisphere in line with international conventions. It also develops minimum legislative standards and conducts periodic multilateral assessments.

    The latter may be the most sophisticated tool the Commission has developed to promote inter-American cooperation on this topic, which was established at the Second Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile in Five rounds have already been done, with the last one covering the period from to and the sixth round of assessments is currently taking place. The assessments consider institutional frameworks, reductions in supply and demand, and the success of control measures adopted by States. Corruption was the second new threat addressed through an inter-American convention adopted in , which is the first international legal instrument to address it.

    It is linked to an inter-American cooperation program and to a mechanism created in to follow up on implementation of the Convention, which is in its fourth round of assessments. The Technical Secretariat of this mechanism offers legal support in various areas, namely standards of conduct, model laws, national action plans, training, and the recovery of assets.

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    8. In , another inter-American convention was adopted to control the manufacture and illicit trafficking of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, and to facilitate international cooperation on this issue.