Parenti Themes Of Parenti Essay

Decent Essays
Three Themes: How the Issues Come Together
Parenti’s book sections define our systems issues, but they are not completely separate entities. Many of the issues blend together and even have cause and effect relationships. From these sections, it becomes easier to see how our system has developed into what it is today. Much like the book sections, I feel there are three general themes that flow through the work: fear, discrimination and capitalism. As Parenti has presented the information, the themes can clearly be seen both individually and especially working together at the heart of the system’s issues.

Police and prison system tools like mandatory minimums, exploited labor, SWAT teams and militarization function primarily on fear. According to Parenti (2008), “physical terror and spectacular displays of violence are still central to the state’s control” (p. 135). SWAT teams are an excellent example of this. It’s easy to think of SWAT teams using fear against their criminal targets, but it’s interesting to think how this fear can affect police. The military tactics associated with SWAT teams are
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As their budgets are cut, law enforcement is becoming more reliant on tools like forfeiture to recoup funds (Holcomb & Williams, 2011, p. 275). Forfeiture involves police taking “property derived from a crime, involved in a crime, or that which makes a crime easier to commit or detect” (Holcomb & Williams, 2011, p. 274). Civil forfeiture, in which the property and not the person is the target of the proceeding (Holcomb & Williams, 2011, p. 274), has become increasingly controversial with the concept of for profit policing. Even though forfeiture funds must be used for approved purposes, there is evidence that forfeiture is often abused in order to make profits and can lead to officers making decisions based on financial incentives and even using unethical or aggressive tactics to do so (Holcomb & Williams, 2011, p.
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