Discretion on the other hand is the right of a person to act based on own judgements. Social control and discretion are important terms in criminal justice system. This paper analyses Social control and discretion in terms of criminal justice system and its impact on gender.
The problem with social control and discretion
Social control helps societies to streamline the functioning of an individual or group in such a way that the rights of the individuals and the groups are well protected whereas discretion helps people to protect their interests. It is difficult for social control and discretion to travel in parallel direction always. In other words, one’s discretion to do certain things may not be in line with the social norms and principles. No two individuals are alike either physically or mentally. Because of the differences in mental processes, different people think differently. The rights of one person need not be the right of the other person. Same way the wrongs of one person need not be the wrongs for other people. It is impossible for a society to safeguard the interests of two people who have contrasting opinions or perceptions about a particular topic.
For example, in the case of a rape crime, the offender tries to satisfy his needs. On the other hand, the victim suffers lot of humiliation while the offender satisfies his needs. In other words, the needs of the offender and the victim in this case are totally different or the rights of the offender and the victim are entirely different in this case. No criminal justice system can stay away from punishing the offender in this case, citing the rules related to discretion. In this case the victim and the offender have contrasting discretions and therefore a criminal justice system cannot take decisions based on discretion in this case. Social norms or principles will be taken as the base point in this case by the criminal justice system. Christians consider Jesus Christ as their saviour whereas Muslims consider Prophet Mohammad as their saviour. Hindus believe that the concept of saviour is illogical and people get rebirths after deaths and this process will continue infinitely till a person does enough good things to get salvation. It should be noted that UK is a country in which plenty of people from different religions are staying together. Because of globalization, people from different parts of the world are currently migrating to UK. In UK, it is the discretion of a person to believe in a particular religion. However, he may not have the right to ridicule the beliefs of others while living in a diverse UK society. Criminal justice system in UK like secular democratic countries is keen in safeguarding the interests and beliefs of all the people irrespective of the religion in which they belong. There are plenty of situations in which the society knowingly or unknowingly encourages rule breaking. Situations where social control contributes to, or even generates, rule-breaking behaviour include: Escalation (by taking enforcement action, authorities unintentionally encourage rule breaking); Nonenforcement (by strategically taking no enforcement action, authorities intentionally permit rule breaking) and Covert facilitation (by taking hidden or deceptive enforcement action, authorities intentionally encourage rule breaking) (Marx, 1999) For example, drug abuse is prohibited in UK. However, plenty of people in UK are drug addicts at present. “Forty years after the introduction of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, more than 2.8 million people report using