Today’s generation is equipped with highly advanced and sophisticated technology that are very useful in many ways particularly in keeping and obtaining information. The internet serves not only as stock files of information but also for commercial advertisement, and for publication of all sorts of both scholarly and worthless articles as well as biased and non-biased piece of writings. This sort of complexity however, gives as a wide range of option and choices as to what one intends to do. For those who seek quality information scholarly and journal articles provides a strong references.
The only thing that needs to do is evaluate the source whether its content are scholarly. In view of these, this paper will attempt to evaluate the articles listed above whether they are biased or non-biased sources by discussing the main issues raised by these sources. At the end the paper will conclude whether these sources are biased or not, based on the careful analysis of the content of each of these articles. Discussion of the articles In the first article, the main issue is the mandatory minimum sentence imposed on persons convicted of possessing half a kilogram of cocaine powder or more to at least five years imprisonment.
The authors cited that this mandatory minimum have a strong bipartisan support from elected representatives and even from presidential candidates. While there are pros and cons in this issue, in view of the authors the mandatory minimum sentence can be viewed as means of attaining the country’s drug control objectives (Caulkins, J. P. ; Rydell, P. ; Schwabe, W. L. ; & Chiesa, J. 1997, par. 3). Controlling drug use in the country could be a welcome objective as often times; guns and violence are linked with drug use.
According to Scott Newark in his article entitled “The 2006 Crime Stats Analysis- Time for the Truth” drugs like cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth are astoundingly 21% up over the past five years (Newark, par. 17). While the authors discussed and considered other available alternatives on easing drug problems, their opinion were focused on reducing drug consumption rather than its impact on the society. Thus, they put more emphasis on treating heavy users than on the criminal offenses associated with the use of illegal drugs.
The Second Article, written by Steven Levitt, primarily deals with the decline of crimes in America. Levitt pointed out that while most experts are predicting an explosion of crime during the early and middle of the 1990s, crime rates plunged precisely at this expected period and authorities were not anticipating it to happen. Levitt refused to attribute this decline to the popular perceptions like increased imprisonment, tougher gun control laws, strong economy, and so forth. Levitt was not surprised by this turn of events rather he questioned why the decline of criminality did not happen earlier. (p. 164).
According to Levitt, what is remarkable with the decline of crimes in the USA during this period was it magnitude from the 1950 to 2001. Of all the criminal offenses, Levitt identified homicide as the most serious crime that had experienced the biggest drop between 1991 and 2000, from 9. 8 to 5. 5 or a drop of forty-four percent. While Levitt focus in his article was to identify the real causes of the decline of criminal offenses in the US during the period from 1991 to 2001, he seemed to have to fail to categorically identify the real causes of such decline.
Instead he shifted his emphasis on the remarkable aspect of this decline. He noted that this decline appeared unusual compared with other countries in the world, in which most of the most common criminal offenses such as homicide, robbery, and burglary experienced sharp decline from 1991 to 2000. The author also discussed the universality of this drop in crime citing decline in each subgroups for all crime categories (p. 167).
However, at the end of the article, the author recognizes six factors namely, the strong economy, the changing demographics, better policing strategies, gun control laws, laws allowing the carrying of cancelled weapons, and increased of capital punishment that according to Levitt, played little or no role in the crime drop. He also acknowledge the four factors that explained the decline of crime such as the increase in number of police, the rising prison population, the receding crack epidemic and the legalization of abortion.
The last article, by Scott Newark, deals with crime statistics which was accordingly “disappointing without critical analysis by the media” (par. 3). Contrary to the article by Steven Levitt, Newark’s Crime Stat Analysis reveals the other side of police records of criminal offenses. While Newark was talking of the crime rates in Canada, he noted indirectly that recorded crimes are only the most serious ones suggesting that there are more crimes unreported, aside from those that were not recorded by the statistic gatherer.
This means that Levitt’s account of crime drop in the United States is clouded with doubts, indeed, according to the United States Crime Rates 1960-2007, in 2000 United States was ranked as “22nd having highest Criminal Index” (United States Crime Rates). From the way it looks, Newark’s article was a fair assessment of the reality of criminal offenses and offenders. He emphasized that it is unrealistic to spend billions of dollars with the rehabilitation of serious offenders who when released, will commit the same crime again. Conclusion
The three articles discussed in this paper provided basic ideas about criminal offenses. Although the paper did not give a clear stand in each of the articles discussed, it leaves the paper a debatable issue regarding the seemingly contradicting views between the reality of crimes and offenses in Canada and the United States as revealed by Levitt and Newark respectively. However, while the three authors have different views and emphasized on different aspects of criminal offenses, it was clear that their common objective is to shed light on issues that they deemed needed to be pointed out to the public.
Quality of Sources The first article entitled Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers’ Money by Jonathan P. Caulkins, C. Peter Rydell. William L. Schwabe and James Chiesa, was biased in the sense that the authors appeared to one sided in their opinion. They seemed to focus merely on reducing drug consumption without giving due consideration to the implication of drug related offenses. This seemed to promote sympathy of the heavy user, rather on the consequence of violating the law.
This is quite tantamount to tolerating the use of illegal drugs and then rehabilitates the users later on. The second article, Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Deadline and Six that Do not by Steven Levitt is not biased article in view of its critical and balanced presentation of facts and evidences. Although The article appeared surprising given the sharp decline of crimes in the US amidst the proliferation drugs in the inner cities of America as cited in an internet article entitled “Operation SOS.
” The article noted the proliferation of drugs in the city causing violent crimes in the neighborhood (Operation SOS) yet the author was able to shed lights on all sides affecting the issues being discussed. The third article The 2006 Crime Stats Analysis-Time for the Truth by Scott Newark is also not biased article on the ground that this source was a realistic point of view. With out pretense, the author reveals the other side of the crime statistics release by law enforcers which in view of the author, is often selective and statistic gatherer are watering down their statistics to include only the most serious offense.
The source is not bias because the writer was very objective and open minded in perception of the realities behind the law enforcements records of criminal offenses.
References Caulkins, J. ; Rydell, P. ; Schwabe, W. L. & Chiesa, J. Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers Moneyhttp://www. fathom. com/media/PDF/2172_ss. pdf Levitt, S. (2004) “Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Deadline and Six that Do not” Journal Of Economic Perspectives—Vlume 18,Number1http://pricetheory.uchicago. edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004. pdf Newark, S.
The 2006 Crime Stat Analysis- Time for the Truth Prime Time Crime July 23, 2007http://www. primetimecrime. com/contributing/2007/20070723newark. htm United States Crime rates 1960 – 200 http://www. disastercenter. com/crime/uscrime. htm “The Operation SOS” Division of Citizen Services City of Buffalo 2001- 2008http://www. ci. buffalo. ny. us/Home/City_Departments/Special_Programs_and_Agencies/Save_Our_Streets/OperationSOS