Morality and Criminal Justice Policy

  • Hans Boutellier


According to Max Weber, renowned sociologist of modern-day society, a bureaucracy is generally characterized by an aversion to the irrationality of religion. It combines this aversion however with an acknowledgement of the useful purpose religion can serve “for controlling the people” (quoted by Bourdieu, 1987). Today the relevance of this ambivalence to religion on the part of the modern state would seem to have been totally revived. There is not much room in the management of the modern state for religious ideologies of any kind. Yet there is a growing call for a revival of the world views of old in the field of social administration. This chapter addresses the trends in the Dutch policy on crime in relation to the issue of morality.


Criminal Justice Social Control Criminal Justice System Crime Rate Social Inequality 
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  1. 4.
    The policy plan entitled Samenleving and criminaliteit (Society and Crime, 1985) reserves the amount of 45 million guilders for this purpose for the period from 1986 to 1990. On these grounds, a department steering group makes subsidies available for prevention projects initiated by the municipalities.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    He adds that reducing the unemployment rate would be far more effective than any preventive or repressive steps that could possibly be taken (Roethof, 1984, p. 67).Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    There is no legal basis for the distinction based on frequency; it does not coincide for example with the distinction between a minor offence or violation and a criminal offence. Steenhuis (1990) and Schaffmeister (1990) propose allowing the frequency of an offence to also play a legal role.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Hirschi himself expresses a certain extent of doubt about the independence of another variable, i.e. involvement (Hirschi, 1969, p. 190).Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See Cohen and Felson (1979); according to Hirschi (1986), his control theory is compatible with the opportunity theory and the rational choice theory.Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    For this evaluation, see also Fijnaut (1988). From the very start, he has consistently criticized the criminal justice policy. He describes most criminology researchers as policy servants and refers for example to Hood’s reproach that policy criminology has been “intellectually domesticated” by the state.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    (…) by this I mean exactly what it means in popular usage, i.e. that the severity or leniency of the way crimes are dealt with by the police, the Public Prosecutor and the judiciary is informed in part by the social position of the perpetrators“ (Jongman, 1982, p. 81).Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    After noting that crime has become structurally embedded in the lifestyle of deprived adults, Jongman makes a reference to what he calls “Mickey Mouse measures”.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    The question remains as to whether the victim surveys do indeed provide an accurate picture of the extent of victimhood. See Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    “There is the danger that crime prevention will come to rely more and more upon situational control and will be less and less able to depend on social norms or the self-control (ethics/conscience/fair play/trust) of or between individuals” (Ruimschotel, 1988, p. 102).Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    This is comparable to the classical communication theory example of a double bind, “Be spontaneous”. After all, if you follow a command, you are not being spontaneous.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Boutellier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of JusticeThe HagueNetherlands
  2. 2.Vrije UniversiteitAmsterdamNetherlands

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