Term Paper: Corrections/Police - Criminal Justice Theories of Crime

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Corrections/Police - Criminal Justice

Theories of Crime

Distinguish the basic features of liberal and conservative ideologies and the perspectives they generated toward crime and criminals. Which would you tend to embrace and why?

Liberal and conservative attitudes towards criminals, broadly speaking, have been polarized between individuals who tend to see societal motives behind the reasons individuals commit crimes, and people that tend to blame the individual's moral conscience. Liberal theorists, because of their focus on society, believe that addressing the causes of crime, such as poverty, perceptions and realities of discrimination and prejudice, and alienated subcultures that normalize crime as a way of life, are the best methods of crime prevention. They tend to focus on social engineering and rehabilitation as a way to combat crime. Conservatives, because of their focus on the individual's ability to choose a moral or an immoral path, tend to focus on increased policing to create less of an incentive for individuals to commit crimes. They believe this will result in a decreased chance of criminals 'getting away with it' and that retribution will act as a deterrent.

Obviously, neither side is 'perfectly' correct. If social programming alone caused crime, than all individuals within certain subcultures would be deviant -- although it is persuasive that individuals within certain contexts are more apt to commit certain crimes, such as selling drugs in the inner cities during the 1980s cocaine epidemic, unethical behavior within certain corporate firms, and even petty juvenile delinquent behavior. Alleviating the circumstances that foster these crimes may be a positive crime-reduction strategy in the long-term. But in the short-term, some retribution is necessary, as society cannot wait for holistic improvement, and ignore the element of moral choice in the commission of crime.

Police corruption is common throughout the United States and around the world. Discuss different types of police corruption and deviant behaviors and offer an explanation for why it is so widespread. Do you trust the police? Why or why not?

Just like crime can be interpreted as the product of a deviant culture, the 'police mentality' can also give rise to an endorsement of corruption. This rationalization may be as simple as believing that someone is entitled to a bribe because of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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