Errors of impunity
is a term used in 's book Errors of Justice
and in Robert Bohm's introduction to a special edition of The Journal of Criminal Justice
on miscarriages of justice
. They are defined as lapses that result in criminal
either remaining at large or receiving sanctions that are below a socially optimal level.R. M. Bohm (2005). "Miscarriages of Criminal Justice: An Introduction". Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 21
(3), 196 – 200.B. Forst (2004). Errors of Justice: Nature, Sources and Remedies
. Cambridge University Press. If convicting a innocent man, called a miscarriage of justice
, is a Type I error
for falsely identifying culpability, then an error of impunity would be a Type II error
of failing to find a culpable man guilty.
Forst divides errors of impunity into two categories. The first category is made up of those that are like car accidents
: the community may be able to do more to prevent them, but generally prefers to consider them beyond the reach of the criminal justice system to do so. About half of all felony victimizations in the U.S. are not reported to the police, and many of those that are reported are committed by skillful, elusive offenders. The second category is made up of those errors that are real, unambiguous, significant, and avoidable. Examples include failures of the police to follow up leads to capture dangerous offenders and inmate...