A Colony in a Nation - Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Hayes, Chris
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Summary

Chapter Six focuses on American attitudes about punishment. Hayes notes that the United States delivers far more severe sentences for all types of crime than do its European counterparts. The primary cause of this, he argues, is that American voters exercise considerable electoral control over the judicial system, electing prosecutors and judges in most cases. This encourages official to aggressively prosecute and sentence criminals, reflecting a mob-like desire for punishment. The trend also has a philosophical and historical basis. While oligarchic European nations once had a separate judicial system for the rich, the United States was more egalitarian, punishing all criminals with similar sentences to demonstrate that no one was above the law. As Europe reformed and democratized, it opened its aristocratic system of more lenient punishments to everyone, while the United States continued to deliver harsh sentences. Further, Americans tend to have a...

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This section contains 1,854 words
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