Crime Control Theory Understanding Criminal Inclination Thesis

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Crime Control Theory

Understanding Criminal Inclination in Society

The Cost of Crime

Crime is one of the most expensive drains on public funds and other resources in the United States. In California, it is particularly costly as result of various factors including widespread gang activity, disaffected youth, the physical proximity to Mexico and the economics of the foreign influx of drugs, as well as the state's tough criminal laws and mandatory sentencing guidelines (Roback Morse, 2003). The cost of maintaining the state's inmate population exceeds 5 billion dollars annually (Roback Morse, 2003), representing a tremendous amount of money that could be better spent on education and infrastructure repair and maintenance, among many other worthwhile public projects and services.

Significance of the Problem

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Despite overwhelming evidence that a "lock 'em up" approach to crime control is not conducive to substantially reducing crime in society (let alone eliminating it), legislators in many states still emphasize the punitive aspect of criminal justice rather than focusing on its root causes in society (Schmalleger, 2008: 111). As a result, crime rates continue to grow, requiring ever-increasing resources and funds for more prisons at the expense of society. Meanwhile, long-established concepts of sociology and the underlying causes of crime provide at least a framework for a much better approach to crime reduction (Macionis, 2003: 213). In particular, the differential association and routine activities theories suggest an alternate approach to crime reduction that would likely achieve much better results and at a greatly reduced cost (Schmalleger, 2008: 101).

The Sociological Problem of Criminal Inclination

Introduction

Thesis on Crime Control Theory Understanding Criminal Inclination in Assignment

Generally, crime is a function of social deviance in conjunction with specific needs (Macionis, 2003: 204-205). Many factors are believed to contribute to social deviance and criminal inclination, but several in particular would seem to suggest a plausible approach to reducing crime in American society by addressing those underlying issues that typically contribute to criminality in the individual. More specifically, differential association theory and routine activities theory relate to the evolution of criminal inclination in a manner that could also provide a better means of addressing crime than strict penal enforcement.

Differential Association Theory

According to criminologists Edwin Sutherland (1883-1950), crime is largely a function of the persistent exposure of the individual to criminal deviance (Schmalleger, 2008: 101). More particularly, children are tremendously susceptible to the influence of the adult role models to whom they are exposed and, more generally, to the overall dynamics of social interactions and routines in their homes, immediate neighborhoods, and their communities (Pinizzotto, Anthony, Davis, et al., 2007: 2-3).

Therefore, when children are raised in the high-crime, criminal gang-oriented urban areas typically associated with inner-city poverty in the U.S., their constant exposure to criminal deviance and social dysfunction, (often simultaneously in the home and the community environment), naturally results in a high incidence of the evolution of criminal inclination in generation after generation. In that regard, the epidemic absence of intact nuclear families and fathers who are positive role models also exacerbates the problem tremendously (Pinizzotto, Anthony, Davis, et al., 2007: 3-4; Roback Morse, 2003).

Routine Activities Theory

According to Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson, another significant cause of crime in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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