A growing society is one that will continue to transform its way of thinking and facilitate new methods of controlling social order. As society continues to expand its knowledge of politics, crime, medicine, daily task, and technology the need for social control consistently changes to adapt to behavioral differences, laws, rules, and economic growth. Due to behavior and actions changing as society grows, each official follows a standard procedure to ensure people are following the laws set in place. Police officials within Seattle have established Banishment, a social control that is supposed to reduce and provide a solution to social and criminal problems. Banishment represents a change in Seattle it is also questioned whether it is the best alternative for society, and if not, what is.
Social is a term based on people or organizations, controls are solutions or approaches that resolve social predicaments, and a proliferating society adapts to an individual lifestyle. Circumstances can implicate an individual’s perspective on what is deemed morally right or wrong without the use of a law or rule. Gestures such as smiling, criticizing, being sarcastic, and gossiping about others are examples that can implement or deter individuals from doing something or enable them to carry out an action. This social control is known as informal, informal social control uses television, religion, life circumstances, and an individual’s domain and or environment to govern actions and views on society and various topics that affect political laws and regulations.
In contrast, another social control known as formal social control is used with law enforcement officials and within the criminal justice system to adjust the behaviors of individuals. When laws are broken, punishments are imposed upon the individual who broke a rule or law. An example of punishment would be paying a fine, facing imprisonment, placing the individual on probation, or restricting the person were about to confirm the person’s behavior and turn him or her into a productive member of society. Punishing the person, would encourage the person to live a better lifestyle and deter him or her from a life of crime.
A social control technique known as Banishment has reemerged, the term Banishment is considered a punishment for getting rid of or exiling someone from a place. Banishment is being used as a social control method in various states within the United States. One city mentioned in Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America is Seattle, Washington. Seattle is using banishment to reduce deviant and obtrusive behaviors within the city limits. With Seattle using this technique as a form of social control, it is punishing criminals by excluding them from a town, city, state, or country for a specific period (Beckett & Herbert, 2011). The intent of banishment is to exile a person due to an offense that is deemed uncivil or criminal. Such as selling or purchasing narcotics, having a drug addiction problem, and being homeless.
Banishment influences geographic locations within a city or state, crime rates, the lively hood of individuals, and how police officers administer rules and regulations. This social control practice is becoming widespread and represents changes within not only communities and societies but in the uses of social control. Banishment was amended to a city, Seattle, where individuals had to adapt to the changes and live with the consequences of what the social control entailed.
An interview was conducted by Beckett and Herbert (2011) to showcase how banishment has changed Seattle residents’ livelihood for the better or worse. The interview is a platform to truly understand how to select individuals’ lives before banishment, during, and after. Some of the interviews that took place were with different ethnic groups and genders to give an understanding that banishment was not limited to affecting one type of individual or group of people. Forty-one interviews were conducted and only five had a positive experience from banishment (Beckett & Herbert, 2011). Of many of the interviewees, eighty-eight percent had a negative experience from the exclusion order.
A resident that experienced a negative experience includes Tom a thirty-year-old Native American homeless man, and Jose a Latino man in his late thirties who has bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction (Beckett & Herbert, 2011). The thirty-year-old Native American was given a park exclusion order for drinking alcohol inside a park. His actions were a violation of the park’s rule and the police officers were within their rights to provide the exclusion order. The first issuance gave a one-week restriction to Tom where he would not be able to go to the park, this limitation restricted Tom from being around his peers, a public restroom, and an area he deemed safe. Due to these reasons he violated the exclusion order before the week ended and received another violation that was now ninety days long eventually leading to an exclusion that was yearlong. Tom also received another exclusion order for possessing alcohol while on the metro bus system, this order makes it difficult for him to travel (Beckett & Herbert, 2011). Due to Tom being arrested several times and spending time in jail he eventually had no choice but to leave Seattle and move to Nebraska to live on
Geography is changing due to banishment and exclusion orders reducing and limiting the amount of homeless, Native Americans, and African Americans that frequent the downtown Seattle area. Downtown is usually an area where tourists, professionals, and wealthy individuals frequent very often with an increased amount of vagrancy and minorities trespass, and park exclusions are given to those individuals to reduce nuisances (Herbert & Beckett p.83). exclusion influences those who are banished to relocate thus creating an area that is strictly off-limits, when an individual is caught in a specific area he or she is arrested for trespassing.
Banishment changes the focus of social control by not regulating laws and crimes but to control what type of people can enter an area, one of the goals of banishment is to remove disorder and improve the quality of life for residents within Seattle who work and live in the specified area. Social control is to suppress chaos within society; however, banishment doesn’t necessarily meet that condition because although it punishes individuals from entering a specific zone it does not deter the person from taking a chance. Many individuals will continue to take the risk and revisit the prohibited location because of specific reasons, whether that’s for a job, shelter, to see family, or simply because of feeling at home. The individuals who were given exclusion orders were not arrested for committing a crime which is why he or they received an admonishment, but the officer who gave the admonishment had probable cause that he or she may commit one, he or she was considered trespassing or violated a park or metro regulation. Once a person violates exclusion, he or she is then arrested thus increasing crime rates and causing a rise in Seattle’s population. Social control is a set of laws, rules, or regulations society must adhere to reduce and suppress crimes and punish those who do not obey. Banishment is not a law that individuals know of or can follow to not receive, banishment can be given to anyone by any authorized official such as police officers, transit police, and security officers. Banishment represents the change in social control because an individual does not necessarily have to disobey a law, rule, or regulation to be punished by an authorized official.
A few alternatives were proposed by Beckett and Herbert (2011) that would be deemed effective. The first alternative involved confronting how banishment was recreated regarding the legal system. The second method is to use therapeutic courts to help individuals rather than punishing them with the form of banishment. The third choice involves the combination of harm reduction and the housing first movements (Beckett and Herbert, 2011). The purpose of finding an alternative route to banishment is to help individuals who are at a disadvantage while using proper means of social control to reduce and suppress actual criminal behaviors.
Banishment in the legal system gives individuals who were ordered to stay out of an area any justification to plead their case in court. Police officers are given the ability to restrict individuals from places without having to consider due process, police officers have the right to use their discretion to decide who is deemed worthy to enter an area or establishment. Individuals who are ordered to stay out of an area have no rights to plead their case in court, banishment in the legal system makes it difficult for defense attorneys to win a case because the defendants are willing to accept an agreement from the prosecutor and sometimes the jail sentence is short so the individual finds no reason to endure a long process. Even if the case made it to court, winning a lower court-level case will not be effective to change the law pertaining to banishment; this alternative would be considered the least effective of the three mentioned previously.
Therapeutic courts as an alternative can make a positive and effective difference within Seattle, therapeutic courts focus on personal behavior and if mental illness or an addiction affected his or her inhibitions. Drug courts, mental health courts, and community courts are implemented to focus on the defendant’s case, not on the criminal case, the purpose of the courts is to create a plan of action to ensure the person can become successful without having to endure incarceration (Beckett and Herbert, 2011). Specific services are provided to the individual and treatment is developed for the person to follow that will reduce the amount of time that is spent within a courtroom. Another key element that is important and can help defendants is having court personnel follow the individual’s progression regarding the treatment plan. Therapeutic courts help not only the individuals that need treatment, but it is a positive change for Seattle because it reduces the number of individuals who are incarcerated, reduces crime rates, and allows individuals to stay out of areas without police officers providing an exclusion order.
Unlike therapeutic courts, the last alternative suggests that harm reduction and housing first allow offenders to partake in their activity while giving them a place that will condone their behavior as well as give them a place to sleep without having to be on the streets of Seattle. This method would not intervene with the criminal justice system as much, but the goal is to hope that the individuals will gradually stop their deviant behaviors and gain stability within their lives. The behaviors and actions of the individuals are not those that can be helped by the criminal justice system but by health care and social services officials. Diminishing the use of punishment and providing a safe area for a trusting relationship with care providers will help those who have illnesses to abstain from disdainful behaviors. Enabling individuals to partake in their actions will not showcase their actions are wrong, it may increase their usage and allow them to feel comfortable, and give them a sense of security that they don’t have to worry about being arrested or punished for being themselves. This method is not connected to the criminal justice system, but it does exhibit a problem if one can participate in these actions without any consequences.
In conclusion, banishment is not an effective social control, it represents the change in a negative limelight not only for residents but for the city of Seattle as well. It increases the number of people who are excluded from a geographic location as well as increase the number of arrest and jail time for the city. Although the purpose of it is to act as deterrence it simply is not effective because people reside within the city and have attachments to the areas in which they can not visit. Based on the three alternatives Beckett and Herbert suggested the most effective choice is the therapeutic courts that focus on the individual and not the crime he or she has committed. The court allows the individual to take responsibility for their actions while creating a treatment or plan for him or her to regain stability in their life without relying on criminal or unmoral acts.