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Zero Tolerance

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The term "zero tolerance" is a criminology term that imposes an automatic punishment for a rules violation. Zero tolerance eliminates discretion in the handing out of punishments, requiring pre-determined outcomes for particular transgressions. The first use of the term came in 1972. In 1973, the idea was put into practice in New Jersey in their Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Act. By 1982, the idea was popularized by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an article in The Atlantic Monthly magazine.Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Zero Tolerance that follows your guidelines.

Critics of Zero Tolerance

Critics charge that zero tolerance gives police agencies carte blanche when dealing with various social problems, which are defined in terms of criminality rather than social ills. Critics further charge that zero tolerance does little to deter or lower crime rates, but instead provides a feel-good factor for citizens.

Zero Tolerance and the War on Drugs

Zero tolerance has been applied to the US War on Drugs, imposing harsh, mandatory penalties on drug users in an effort to reduce demand. Under zero tolerance, the following may be applied:

  • All drugs are treated with equal harshness in the handing out of penalties.
  • A second popular application of zero tolerance has been in the area of drinking alcohol and operating a motor vehicle.
  • Some European nations have zero tolerance laws for any consumption of drugs and alcohol and driving
  • The United States has tended to focus on lower legal limits of blood alcohol for adults,
  • Zero tolerance for underage drinking by minors

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