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Boy, do not touch that plug: The table of drug use in Ecuador in the light of critical criminology. Abstract: In Ecuador, some political operators achieved a legal disposition that allows high amounts of illicit substance consumption without addressing the other parts of the production and distribution chain.
Although the defenders of the consumption table use sources of critical criminology, it is observed that such an approach is not relevant without addressing the context, that is: the criminal situation and the apparatuses of social control in operation.
This article points out the danger of: a allowing an undesirable increase of the criminal opportunity, b erroneously assuming that the consumption table will lead to abolition,c confusing the existence of a process of criminalization ofthe subordinate sectors with converting the delinquent in a political actor of democratic change.
At the same time, several researchers indicated how the relationship between the decree of the tenure or consumption table and the increase in criminal activities took place. Keywords: consumption tables of illicit substances, criminal situation, critical criminology, abolitionism, Ecuador. In Ecuador, the drug policy is constitutive to the action of the State. This is largely explained by the fact that most of the coca and cocaine in the world is produced in neighboring or nearby countries: Colombia, Peru and Bolivia.
This puts this small Andean nation at the center of the global trafficking of illegal substances. As a result, acute seizure peaks occur in coastal and border areas of the country. Main objective of domestic market of illicit substances are consumers in the most important urban locations.
This market in Ecuador is called "micro-trafficking". In this country, drug addiction is considered a public health problem, so the State is responsible for developing information, prevention and control programs on the consumption of narcotic and psychotropic substances, as well as offering treatment and rehabilitation to occasional, habitual and problematic consumers Asamblea Constituyente: The constitutional framework warns against criminalizing consumption and states the need to treat this problem from an "integral" approach.
This led to a debate within CONSEP about the nature of consumption, which resulted in the enactment of a tolerance or tenure table for consumers. Previous to this table, all tenure was considered illegal. For example, it allows possession in a single person of 20 marijuana doses, 10 lines of cocaine, 20 doses of base paste and, in the case of heroin, another 20 doses.
The table does not present limits of periodicity, nor of mixture of substances. Which would mean that, for example, a person could be authorized to consume, in a single day, 20 doses marrow or bundles of marijuana and 10 lines of cocaine, renewable the next day. Table I. The arguments favorable to this relatively high consumption table are usually taken from authors and reflections of critical criminology and other subsidiaries.
This article will analyze the theoretical problems and the evaluation of policies, based on the same critical premises, produced by implementing this consumption table without attending to relevant empirical studies. Authors who favor the current table maintain the need to tolerate relatively high doses of tenure for main illicit drugs.
The following are the basic arguments:. This follows from the practical observations of the application of the law in the case of Daniel L: Having widely exceeded the tenure allowed by the same defended table, it is considered that the imprisonment of Daniel L. Hence, the quantities for their supply can exceed the permitted thresholds according to the policies of their States. Ecuador has not been the exception. The administration of justice has reported incidents of arrests and convictions of simple users, as occurred in the case of Daniel L.
This distortion of the penal system can be repeated, since the "counter-wave" reduced the margins from to 20 grams in cases of possession of cannabis for small-scale trafficking" Paladines: , p. On the contrary, the tenure of high doses would make more difficult the criminalization of the consumer and poverty.
So it would reduce the penitentiary population. The mere fact of being imprisoned means pain, or punitiveness. Therefore, imprisonment is a penalty, a pain that possibly has no limits against reason or the same legal system In the middle of this debate, Ecuador tightened the nut of its criminal policy on drugs" Paladines: , p.
The strongest criticism points to the centrality of the punitive as a strategy that, on the contrary, it has contributed to a further deterioration of States and societies. Various sources investigated the impact of the consumption table on criminal activities, incarcerations and on the dynamics of control of territories by crime in small territories.
This was possible thanks to the fact that the validity date of the consumption table allowed a before and after on a relatively constant set of variables of criminal policy and criminometric instruments. The second was also carried out inter-agential team but this time, between the National Secretariat of Science and Technology and the Ministry of the Interior Castro Aniyar: ; In the first place, it is demonstrated, based on the dynamics of the police and military action of that period, that the crimes registered in the 20 most violent territories of the country are almost directly proportional to the activity caused by the market of illegal substances.
It happens clearly in the curves "drug cases", "seized drug", "drug detainees" and even "homicides", which we use to measure "violence": the greater the conflict, the greater the activity linked to illegal substances. These territories are not, for the most part, territories of large-scale trafficking, but are constitutive of the urban fabric of the large cities where micro-trafficking activities prevail over those of drug trafficking for export.
The described categories are shown below:. Figure 1. Figure 2. Own graph from Anti-drug Direction et al. These two tables show that the greater the large drug and micro-trafficking activity, corresponds to a greater common crime behavior, in the territorial axis. This is confirmed in another quantitative-qualitative research aimed at small territories Castro Aniyar: There it was visible that the activities of the same drug traffic in small scale generate means of strategic appropriation of the territory that facilitate the commission of crimes and their expansion in the neighborhoods and cantons of Ecuador.
The applied instruments showed that high tenures favor micro-trafficking, since the simultaneous possession of one person a day of 20 bundles of marijuana, 8 lines of base dough, 4 lines of cocaine and 20 doses of local heroin, was an appropriate context for the development of camouflaged micro-trafficking and not consumption. In this investigation, ethnographic observations, police interviews and composed cognitive maps applied showed that simulated consumers can sell several times the same amount of 10 grams, for example, of marijuana, per day.
Since each package of 10 grams of creepy marijuana can cost around 12 dollars in the neighborhood market and, since this amount, multiplied by working days, is close to an Ecuadorian minimum wage per month, the market looks attractive, this is, without considering other drugs, distribution networks, political gains, or other strategies to reduce costs Castro Aniyar: 2. Triangulating the previous information with the timeline, the same one in which it is possible to observethe concrete effect of the consumption table, it is obtained that, all the micro-trafficking activity, including the apprehensions of people, increased clearly from July of the The following figure shows how seizures increased, only at the micro-trafficking level, as of the 2nd semester of , the date on which it is possible to observe the effects of the resolution table CONSEP- CO Figure 3.
The following figure shows the before-after increase in arrests for micro-trafficking heroin the "H". Figure 4. Ministerio del Interior, Worryingly, this increase in detainees particularly affects the elementary schools of Ecuador in the period studied:.
Figure 5. Increase in Anti-Drug Activity in Schools. Figure 6. Increase of Reports on Microtrafficking from citizens. In advance we apologize for the brevity of the following strokes for the purposes of this article: Very roughly, we call critical criminology a set of authorial theories and matrices that began with the approaches initiated by the Labeling Approach and the New Criminology in the 60 and 70 of the twentieth century, which evolved into other streams such as abolitionism, left realism, critical criminology proper and minimal criminallaw.
Because this integrative intention of the same critical criminologists, it is possible to identify the previous theories with them. These common frameworks of interpretation consist fundamentally in four visible aspects:.
Opposition to positivist theory and epistemology through the epistemological integration of the object relationship delinquent and delinquency, fundamentally with the subject social control system, penal system, criminal science, knowledge-science, socio-economic structure , in addition to other transversal variables police, gender, victim, white collar, etc. This integrating vision allowed us to approach a structural knowledge of the criminal phenomenon that opens the doors to previously impertinent questions in criminology, such as: To what extent is the definition of crime and deviance affected by historical, circumstantial and situational structures of power?
How are the definition of deviance and delinquent not tautological but the result of a system of social and criminal control? How efficient is the criminal justice system and its inculturation?
How criminal justice system responds to stereotypes and needs for social control over the idea of justice? Is there another way to measure justice?
The notion of "criticality" was taken from the Frankfurt School or Critical Theory, which had allowed to develop a theory of knowledge of greater scope than the hitherto omniscient positivist theory of science. This "greater scope" comes from the integration of the new ideas about subject: iusnatualism, communication, the nature of the scientific, the investigator and the investigation and the investigated facts.
To this article purpose, main consequence of this approach would be the possibility of understanding the criminal phenomenon from the theories of power. Another source common to this criminology, although not always fully consistent with later authors, is thework of Marxians such as Michel Foucault Foucault: ; ; In particular, this author interrogates power and its institutional reflexes as an inseparable part of historically constructed knowledge, in light of prevailing modes of production and epistemic interactions, such as those derived from language.
The ideas of deviation and norm, so precious in critical criminology, have their origin in the Foucaultian approach. Some approaches of critical theory suppose, like Foucault, that the structural distribution of knowledge and power in the exercise of justice is an incontrovertible fact within epistemic time, due to the nature of the historical- symbolic structure that gives meaning to the power and its institutional reflexes Zaffaroni: Therefore, these approaches are very careful of the use of the term criminal policy Zaffaroni: In the context of this literature much of the basic reflection of critical criminology on modernity is established to date: "the growth of the crime rate, the revelation ofinvisible victims, previously ignored phenomenon, the problematization of the definition, and the growing awareness of the universality of crime and the selectivity of justice " Young: , pp.
One of the theories that flowed into critical criminology is abolitionism. In particular, this theory must be referred to understand the problem of consumption tables in Ecuador, since it is directly and indirectly referred by the authors promoting the consumption table in a central way. The arguments in favor of the consumption table in the light of critical criminology. This directly contradicts the arguments corresponding to the literal e, h and j, since police activity and criminalization processes did increase, precisely, under the influence of the defended table.
The policy of the tables, independently of its intentions, had a clear impact on the increase in police activity throughout the territory and in the number of people apprehended, which would possibly generate higher costs to the prison system, contrary to what exposed in the literal e.
From a critical perspective, it would imply an increase in the social control capacity of the State over society, since the increase in activity brings in response to a greater invasion of the police in the life worlds of citizens.
As a consequence, if the anti-drug activity, apprehensions, the police presence and, in addition, the territorial control of the criminal undertakings over the small territories grew, as can be seen from the second investigation, it is logical to presume that the policy also contributed to the criminalization of the simple consumer, both in the police-institutional imaginary, and in that of the neighbors.
In other words, the arguments corresponding to the literals c, e and f would also be contradicted, as regards the processes of social labeling Cohen: ; Becker: ; Aniyar de Castro: In relation to this angle, the defenders assign rights to the consumer 3 , as it is understood from literal b, and therefore, it would correspond to protect their "autonomy of their will or free personal development", as it is understood from literal a. But this is a contradiction from two points of view:. First, it is a falsification of the Ecuadorian doctrine, which does not interpret the consumption of illegalsubstances as an act of political freedom, but associated with addiction, which is a public health problem National Assembly: Art Second, by presuming that the consumer's right must be protected because it is an act of political freedom,the consumer is being assigned a political role as an object of oppression and, therefore, a subject of redemption.
This is extremely dangerous. In a real sense these groups were becoming politiziced, and it was and still is impossible for any sociologist to avoid trying to make sense of these developments. Cohen points out to the dangers of thinking on complexity through a mechanic and simplistic etiology.
Thus, not always restraining the causes produces consequences disappear. Micro-trafficking is not a "minor" evil, as it is understood from literal d. It is an actor-protagonist of the crime in the micro-spaces, which affects in an extended way to almost all the population of the country, above all, in the corresponding urban conglomerates.
Nueva Criminologia, La: Contribucic"n a Una Teorca Social de La Conducta Desviada