Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Discourse Among "D'origine Etrangere"

This was going to be my blank canvas to construct and develop my thesis for a paper regarding the French judicial system and its effects on non-French immigrants. However, since I have such strong aversions for ethnocentrism and negative stereotyping, this may seem more like an opinion column out of some newspaper. Personally, I am partial to rehabilitative models, as opposed to strict penal systems, especially in juvenile matters. Maturity has yet to reach a number of young children who commit petty crimes, like stealing a cell phone for instance, so how will incarcerating these individuals advance their maturity? In fact, that seems to be the focal point of my argument. Every government, whether it is France or the United States of America, encourages and polices an extent of public order and maturity. In other words, you will be reprimanded if you are a menace to society. The debate here is not in the idea of reprimanding deviance, rather how the deviance is reprimanded. If a fifteen-year-old boy steals his neighbor's car and crashes it into a stop sign should he serve time in prison, or should he experience an alternate form of punishment that corrects his or her behavior? Understand that both systems strive to eliminate deviance, but rehabilitative models "accept that a minor's criminal misbehavior is symptomatic of factors beyond his or her control--such as bad parenting, nefarious influences, and underprivileged living conditions--rather than a conscious and deliberate will to break the law" (Terrio 2009:48). The lines begin to get blurry when speaking about serious offenses where a minor is involved in manslaughter or rape. Even in serious offenses previously mentioned, the minor may have suffered or been influenced by factors beyond his or her control. The point is that juveniles are still very psychologically immature and have yet to fully develop the set of laws that society sets up. With this premise, I acknowledge and argue that the current French judicial system, which advocates and enforces sanctity of public order and social etiquette, induces alienation and social rebellion. Thus, the relative lack of a rehabilitative option creates an environment where deviance is not corrected, but reinforced in prison and/or temporarily suppressed around figures of authority.

No comments:

Post a Comment