Neither Justice nor Crime (We are all Criminals Now)

Jeff Shantz


We have entered a period in which it must finally be recognized and admitted that criminal justice systems in Western liberal democracies are neither, in any real or meaningful way, about justice nor, even, about crime.

While it has perhaps long been recognized, at least by those subjected to its numerous inequities and biases and excesses (among critical theorists and certainly among the oppressed) that criminal justice is not about justice (this awareness represented in oppositional voices, particularly by poor and racialized communities that speak of “injustice system” or notions of “just us”), it is a more recently glimpsed (perhaps only partly) reality that criminal justice systems are not now (if ever) directed at addressing (in some vague way, never mind stopping) crime. They do not even live up to that minimal claim to legitimation.


liberal democracy; class; street crime; G20; criminal justice systems

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