Justice Is it really bieng served






Justice: Is it Really Being Served ?
Crime is a very serious issue in today’s society that is
talked about through many different methods, media, television
programs, etc.. Clarence Darrow’s speech, “Address to the
Prisoners in the Cook County Jail” displays a very strong feeling
on whether or not “criminals” in jail our really at fault for
their crimes or if it’s the fault of those people on the
“outside”, those not in jail. Once being a lawyer himself and
defending criminals like Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, both
notorious murders, Darrow has a strong insight on hard core
criminals and the legal system. He utilizes his experience and
knowledge along with the appeals of pathos, logos and ethos, to
gain the respect and opinions of his audience.
Darrow’s main purpose in this speech is to state his
feelings of disregard for the justice system. He feels as though
jails do not serve a true purpose and that people are not in jail
because they deserve to be but rather because of unavoidable
circumstance. Those who obtain money hold the power and those who
are poverty stricken will be punished, no matter who was at fault
or who did the crime.
This piece was a speech to prisoners in a Chicago jail and
therefore, it seems as if his targeted audience must have been
the criminals themselves. However, he must have also been
targeting the politician’s and legal personnel for the tone of
his sentences and the beliefs he stated would do no justice for
those already in prison and must have been intended to influence
those people on the “outside”.
Darrow strikes the pathetic or the emotional appeal
instantly in his first paragraph: “ I do not believe that people
are in jail because they deserve to be. They are in jail simply
because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which
are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no
way responsible” (862). This statement alone could create an
uproar in any prison. Darrow uses great diction in this quote,
using it as, a persuasive tool, to slip past the scrutiny of
readers and sway them toward particular responses. With a
statement as powerful as that one how can a person not begin to
ponder on why these people are in jail and if the prisoners are
really at fault for their crimes.
Through the use of tone Darrow triggers the mind into
believing that the people that are on the outside are the ones
that create the havoc and those on the inside, the prisoners, are
mere victims of their ruthlessness. “If it were not for the fact
that people on the outside are so grasping and heartless in their
dealings with the people on the inside, there would be no such
institution as jails” (863). The words seem to creep into your
mind making one feel as though he is correct in what he is
saying. It is as if one can hear the power and persuasiveness in
his voice speaking to the prisoners allowing one to have no
choice but to believe him.
Darrow targets the emotional appeal in his closing
paragraph, “ The only way to abolish crime and criminals is to
abolish the big ones and the little ones together. Give men a
chance to live. Abolish the right of private ownership of land,
abolish monopoly, make the world partners in production, partners
in the good things in life” (872). With his style of using harsh
and abrupt sentences Darrow produces the feeling that if we would
create an equality amongst us all that people would not
experience hardship, there would be no crime, hate and
competition. The length of Darrow’s sentences seem to bring about
different attitudes and feelings. His shorter sentences seem
blunt or terse, where his longer sentences, that delay closure,
posses more of a dramatic effect.
In addition to stimulating ones emotions, Darrow appeals to
the logical reasoning side of the audience:
Whenever the standard Oil Company raises the price of
oil, I know that a certain number of girls who are
seamstresses, and who work night after night long hours
for somebody else, will be compelled to go out on the
streets and ply another trade, and I know that Mr.
Rockerfeller and his associates are responsible and not
the poor girls in the jail cell” (866).
He leads us to believe that it is the fault of the rich and not
that of the poor. If the rich would not be so money hungry and
greedy they would not raise the prices of oil and create these
girls