Crime Philosophy Paper Collin Davis CRJ 451 Professor Griffin May 2014 Crime Philosophy Crime control, consisting of many elements of prevention and punishment, is a widely debated and often contentious topic. Myriad agendas occur in government and society, depending upon the kind of organizational or philosophical objective trying to be met. Political differences are present within the criminal justice system that draw upon certain models, techniques, and methods associated with crime prevention. Society functions as another element in crime control, as often an underlying fear creates a pressure to enact programs and laws. The media enters in as a forum to present conservative and liberal opinions to enact and enforce criminal laws and punishment.
Crime is considered to be one of the most appealing topics in popular culture and because of that the public obtains a distorted version of crime. The public unfortunately lacks some knowledge when it comes to the whole overall subject of criminology, the difference amongst blue-collar and white-collar crime as well as the broad awareness of the frequency of crime occurring in the United States. The public needs to understand the different specifics of law enforcement as well as be able to differentiate between what is real and what is not. According to (Schmalleger, 2009), typically a dictionaries definition for a criminologist would be an individual who studies crime, the individuals who are committing these crimes known as the criminal
Strain theories of criminal behaviour have been amongst the most important and influential in the field of criminology. Taking a societal approach, strain theories have sought to explain deficiencies in social structure that lead individuals to commit crime (Williams and McShane 2010). Strain theories operate under the premise that there is a societal consensus of values, beliefs, and goals with legitimate methods for achieving success. When individuals are denied access to legitimate methods for achieving success, the result is anomie or social strain. This often leads an individual to resort to deviant or criminal means to obtain the level of success that they are socialized to pursue.
The court system seems to think that by using public shaming a criminal will not do the crime again. In some cases that may work but in other cases the criminal will continue to do crimes. Public shaming will not solve any of the issues in society that creates criminal nor will it decrease crime rates. Criminals will not stop committing crimes because they are put to shame in the public eye. In fact criminals who are shamed in the public will probably commit more crimes now that they are labeled as criminals.
People may feel that they con not report crimes like rape because it is uncomfortable to talk to the police about it. If research showed this then police could be trained to deal with victims in a more caring manner. My hypothesis I expect to find that the official crime statistics in my area do not reflect the actual crime rate. I expect this because it is obvious that not all crime is reported to the police. Many people do not report crime that they feel is too petty and where they cannot gain anything from reporting it (e.g.
Society has also developed many myths or misconceptions about crime itself, and has distorted the realities to fit their mythical beliefs. HOW SOCIETY DEFINES CRIMINALS Most individuals in America will define a criminal as being an individual that commits
Agnew also points out another factor which contributes to criminal behaviour but which does not fit into the life domains; the factor of prior crime. I feel this factor is not analyzed enough in theories except for the labeling theory which explains that by attaching a stigma to an individual's life their deviant behaviour will only escalate. We focus on the steps which lead to crime but not the after affects of having already committed the crime. Agnew believes that although having engaged in crime the probability of future engagement foes increase, it does not always lead to further crime explaining that there are two factors which effect prior crimes; 1. how others react and 2. the characteristics of the individual (Agnew 2011, Pg 608). Each reaction to the crime will lead to a different outcome, for example if the offender gets away with the crime that fear of being caught slowly diminishes giving them confidence to continue with their delinquent behaviour.
Hate Crimes and The Mitchell v. Wisconsin Decision The American Heritage Dictionary defines hate as intense dislike or animosity. However, defining hate as the basis for a crime is not as easy without possibly jeopardizing constitutional rights in the process. Hate crime laws generally add enhanced punishments to existing statues. A hate crime law seeks to treat a crime, if it can be demonstrated that the offense was a hate crime differently from the way it would be treated under ordinary criminal law. Since the 1980s, the problem of hate crimes has attracted increasing research attention, especially from criminologists and law enforcement personnel who have focused primarily on documenting the prevalence of the problem and formulation criminal justice responses to it.
There are several different theories on the cause of crime such as heredity, gender and mental defects, but each one is not substantial enough to explain crime and why it takes place. The theory on heredity as being the source of crime is based on the idea that criminal activity is predisposed by human genes. Gender being the root of crime suggests that testosterone, the male hormone that causes aggressive behaviour is encouraged in male-dominated societies, thus leading to criminal behaviour. Both heredity and gender are based on "nature", but in effect, lead to "nurture". Beginning mental defects can be caused during pregnancy (i.e.
Control theory, Anomie theory and Strain theory provide very different explanations of why people commit crimes based upon assumptions about how humans function. Control theory suggests that humans are naturally drawn to breaking the law. Humans are driven to fulfill their needs and desires. Crime provides one method by which humans can reach their goals. Control theorists would thus ask why everyone does not turn to crime to meet their wants and needs.