Criminal laws change to reflect the values of society and policymakers; therefore, public policy on crime is always changing. Acts that were once illegal are no longer prohibited by law, and misdemeanors are now felonies. For instance, from 1920–1933, it was largely illegal to sell alcohol in the United States. The recent legislative changes in some states regarding marijuana use provide another example of how the law can change to reflect societal values. Laws for prostitution and gambling have also varied significantly over time.
For this Discussion, review the Learning Resources and consider how statutory classifications of crime vary across time and place.
Post by Day 3, a contemporary example (U.S. or international) of an act that has been criminalized, legalized, or switched from being a misdemeanor to a felony in the last ten years in response to the influence of societal factors (e.g., cultural values, political pressures or public morality). Explain the development of this change (e.g., criminalization, legalization) and the societal influences that you believe provided the impetus for this change. Then, explain the challenges or benefits of the law changing as a result of these factors. Justify your response.
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