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Caderno CRH

Print version ISSN 0103-4979

Abstract

MONSALVE BRICENO, Yoana. Social control and punishment: perception of punishment to Venezuelan police officers. Cad. CRH [online]. 2010, vol.23, n.60, pp. 511-523. ISSN 0103-4979.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-49792010000300005.

The paper addresses issues of the meaning of punishment for the police and the moral justifications for its application, using data from 14 interviews with officials from two police forces in the area of Caracas, Venezuela. Although, at first glance, the exercise of the power to punish is perceived by the police as the jurisdiction of criminal judges, a more detailed reading indicates that they perceive, among the general public, a demand to act as direct executors of punishment. Thus, forms of organization and justification of illegal punishment appear, with these officers accepting a delegation or implied consent by other operators in the justice system. There is also the emergence of a "clientele" of punishment, formed by morally devalued people with little power of social demand, although both dimensions keep certain autonomy. It concludes with proposals to enlarge the scope of research and to analyze the extent and consistency of perceptions of inefficiency of the formal criminal justice system and its influence on the development of the power of direct punishment by the police.

Keywords : punishment; police; criminal justice; informal control; morality; Venezuela.

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