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Jurisprudence

Evolving Standards of Decency

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Evolving Standards Of Domination: Abandoning A Flawed Legal Standard And Approaching A New Era In Penal Reform, Spearit Jan 2015

Evolving Standards Of Domination: Abandoning A Flawed Legal Standard And Approaching A New Era In Penal Reform, Spearit

Articles

This Article critiques the evolving standards of decency doctrine as a form of Social Darwinism. It argues that evolving standards of decency provided a system of review that was tailor-made for Civil Rights opponents to scale back racial progress. Although as a doctrinal matter, evolving standards sought to tie punishment practices to social mores, prison sentencing became subject to political agendas that determined the course of punishment more than the benevolence of a maturing society. Indeed, rather than the fierce competition that is supposed to guide social development, the criminal justice system was consciously deployed as a means of social …