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Victimless crimes - Research Paper Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Victimless crimes are the most controversial subject in the United States more so because they involve consenting adults hence no complainant. Intense debate goes on as to whether the government should criminalize or legalize victimless crimes and the opponents and proponents have strong points that cannot be ignored…
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Download file to see previous pages Victimless crimes include such activities as; prostitution, abortion, drug use, gambling, assisted suicide, not wearing a seatbelt, consumption of pornography among others. In some circumstances, the crime is an individual act such as not wearing a seatbelt and sometimes it involves consent by two or more adults to commit a criminal offense such as prostitution in which no other person is involved hence are referred as consensual crimes (Fernandez, 11). Although they are considered victimless, the persons involved are harmed in one way or another hence it is considered a serious public health issue which should be dealt with. Criminalization of victimless crimes has often been considered as a waste of state resources as the desired effects are in most cases not achieved. Hardaway Robert argues that the costs involved far outweigh the benefits since the results are counterproductive. For example, the war on drugs has done little to curb drug abuse as US comprises 5% of world population and consumes 50% of cocaine produced not forgetting the ruined lives of those incarcerated (7). He also notes that Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world despite legalizing abortion whereas Romania has the highest abortion rate in Europe despite its criminalization policies. Richards (1218) also notes that the moral arguments advanced by the proponents of criminalization do not hold any ground as they are contestable. This paper will discuss the legislations passed pertaining to criminalization and legalization of victimless crimes as well as the harms and benefits of such legislations. Left to act like a free market without any form of government interference, victimless crimes can lead to health problems for the individuals involved as well as costs to the society as a whole hence minimal intervention is required to correct failures and achieve public order. History of Victimless Crimes The issue of victimless crimes arose with the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco. The 18th amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, import and export of alcohol for beverage use (Fernandez, 14). Alcoholic beverages are consumed widely and prohibition thus resulted in search for illegal means of satisfying their needs. Illegal taverns were therefore set up to manufacture the illicit beverages in uncontrolled manner leading to loss of lives, blindness and increased violence. Legitimate brewers were kicked out of the market and the price of the product escalated as the mafia class emerged which controlled the trade. To be able to purchase the illegal drink in the black market, some users resulted to crime hence the growth of organized crime in the US (20). Violence also increased as gangs fought for the control of the lucrative business. Corruption was also evident as government officers aided cartels to operate their illegal businesses without interruptions. Violent criminals were handed down reduced sentences to allow space for convicts of alcohol Due to these negative consequences; the amendment was repealed in 1933. According to Friedman (445), in the early days, prostitution was not criminalized. However, owning a brothel was considered a crime. Adultery on the other hand, was a crime that attracted corporal punishment (Gaines & LeRoy, 5). Fornication was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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