The Article by Shaila Dewan (2015) is devoted to a prominent issue of criminal justice system (CJS), that is, the collateral damage. Another issue (that is not included in the title) is concerned with the suggested bias of the system. It is illustrated through the lighter penalties for the “corporate wrongdoers,” the collateral damage of pursuing which can be considered too significant (Dewan, 2015, para. 1). Another illustration is the discrimination of CJS with respect to African-Americans, but the key issue is still the damage that an individual can suffer and typically does suffer as the result of the flaws of the CJS and other institutions.
The article provokes speculations, especially in a person concerned with the issue. CJS is indeed capable of producing significant collateral damage for convicts and their family, taxpayers, victims, and the society in general (Levshin, 2011; Heck, 2014). Dewan (2015) begins illustrating this case with faulty accusations that, nonetheless, cause collateral damage. Then the author emphasizes the fact that the damage plagues convicts and their families before and, especially, after they have received the punishment. Dewan (2015) cites Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut who points out that rehabilitation for the former convicts is difficult in the modern society due to this culture of “permanent punishment” (para. 5). The problems that the author describes include the hiring difficulties that cause the absence of money, which, in turn, makes subsequent crimes more likely. Dewan (2015) also mentions the cases of unclear connections of the crime and the consequences, for example, prohibiting criminals from voting (para. 6). The author also mentions that the issue has been addressed, for example, by limiting the hiring background checks, on the state level.
In the article, a particular emphasis is placed on the sufferings of the children who are deprived of their parents. Moreover, Dewan (2015) asserts that these children are more prone to depression and delinquency as well as asthma and other problems. It is children that Dewan (2015) compares to corporate stakeholders, asserting that the innocents are innocents regardless of their numbers, which is an arguable point, of course, but a humane one. The author also mentions the “Sesame Street” videos that are meant to help young victims of collateral damage.
The strong points of the article include the fact that the author does not attempt to neglect the possible counter arguments. For example, the author agrees that the primary culprit most situations, which are similar to the ones described above, is the convicted people, who would be expected to take into account the collateral damage that their families would suffer. Apart from that, the article demonstrates the evidence of research. For example, the author tends to provide the data concerning the steps that are being made to rectify the issue. Indeed, Dewan (2015) emphasizes that the problem is recognized, demonstrating a pleasant impartiality. In general, while pointing out the flaws of the system, the author also emphasizes the flaws of the society and, instead of searching for the guilty party, shows what can be done (and what is being done) to deal with the problem.
Ethical dilemmas have always been correlated with criminal justice, and, just like any issue connected to ethics, relative and unstable as it is, they cannot be resolved in a single way (Chauhan & Srivastava, 2009). Instead, the system attempts to provide guidelines while the individuals occupied in the criminal justice do their best to take into account all the aspects of a case. The question of the extent of their success will always remain open. Levshin (2011), for example, suggest utilizing cost-benefits analysis in the situation of a dilemma. Heck (2014) devotes an article to the protection of children that includes the collateral damage mitigation and mentions the creation of a national database for collateral damage that should provide the cases for study and possible policies development. Still, as the article by Dewan (2015) demonstrates, the issue persists, and much is left to be done: by the CJS, the government, and the society itself.
Chauhan, B., & Srivastava, M. (2009). The Importance of Ethics in Criminal Justice. The Journal of Legal Awareness, 4(2), 6-18.
Dewan, S. (2015). The Collateral Victims of Criminal Justice. The New York Times. Web.
Heck, M. H. (2014). Criminal justice: Advocates for child victims in an era of new beginnings. Criminal Justice, 29(2), 48. Web.
Levshin, V. (2011). Is It Worth the Costs? Using Cost-Benefit Analysis to Minimize the Collateral Consequences of Convictions. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 24(1), 80-81. Web.