Social Decisions Of Crime And Punishment Criminology Essay

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There are many different excuses for people to use for making poor decisions. Some social and even personal factors pose an especially strong influence over a person's ability to make the right choices. Drug and alcohol abuse is always a common factor when it comes to some crimes. Many recovering drug addicts say the urge to commit crime to support a drug habit definitely influences the decision process. Many prisoners in jail are said to not be able to read or write above elementary school levels, if at all. The most common crimes committed by these inmates are robbery, burglary, automobile theft, drug trafficking, and shoplifting. Because of their meager educations, their employment histories will consist of mostly low wage jobs with frequent periods of unemployment due to educational restrictions. People must make a choice between long-term low income and the prospect of high profitable crime. No one really knows why criminals are what they are or do what they do. So since there seems to always be crime, there is always a need for a solution, Justice.

Clearly, a technological revolution that has been sweeping the nation and better yet the entire world has not spared the criminal justice system from its broad stroke. Like most areas of public and private endeavor, the work of police agencies, court systems, correctional institutions, community groups and the other institutions that collectively constitute our response to the twin challenges of crime and justice are caught up in the hurricane of technological changes which is wonderful but costing tax payers a fortune. This technological revolution is moving at such a rapid pace that breakthrough technologies of yesterday seem commonplace today as well as their price tags. Police officers now routinely wear vests or even body armor that can stop the larger caliber and more advanced bullets used today. Judges routinely order electronic monitoring or ankle bracelets as a condition of probation. Prisons administer health care without moving prisoners through the miracle of telemedicine where someone far away gives instructions to the prison staff on completing a procedure. Community groups can assess the incidence of crime in their neighborhoods with sophisticated computerized crime maps, as well as find where the local sex offenders are living and so on. All of these advances are a huge burden to tax payers but all of these advances are very necessary to save lives and fight crimes as we know of it.

Expectedly as the unemployment rate rises, cities' revenues will decrease because fewer people are spending money, because they don't have jobs. This causes cutbacks in city emergency services. So a rise in criminal activity may not be due to a lack of police presence, but rather the rising unemployment rate. Another means of discouraging people from choosing criminal activity is the length of imprisonment. Many long term prisoners coming out after too many years of being locked in prison has proven to be more difficult for some former prisoners to be reintegrated in the society and easier for them to resort back to crime. Troubled households where children are neglected or abused are more likely to commit crimes later in life than others. Similarly, sexual abuse children are often victims to become sexual predators as adults. There is always peer pressure which a person's friends or so called friends strongly influences a decision to commit crime. For example, there are some young boys and girls who do not fit into expected standards of academic achievement can sometimes become lost in the competition for the top paying jobs and so forth. They then feel the need to fit in, and they get that satisfaction from those that are out to persuade and recruit young minds into a life of crime and so forth. The desire to have all of the riches usually sucks them in totally.

Modern day technology is a way to perform our daily tasks better and more productively. Modern technology should be seen as the best way to solve and study the ever present problems of the crime and justice system. Without the knowledge gathered from the studying of crimes and their effects on society, the criminal justice system would never be able to evolve. In this sense, knowledge is a kind of rigorous, scientific training that only good research can produce is our most powerful defense against crimes. And our ability to study that knowledge about crime and way to serve the justice for the crimes is also advancing rapidly; yet, we need to ask the same questions about the tools for gathering that knowledge how do we invest in it, how do we use it, how do we harness it to maximum utility for the good of society.

In the area of criminal justice, the availability of a relatively simple, relatively inexpensive and significantly powerful drug test to determine recent drug use has opened a wide range of issues that reach into uncharted realms of law, policy and practice. The issue is that the criminals aren't paying for the tests, the tax payers are, so it becomes another bill handed down. We should dwell only briefly on the rapid advances of the technology itself, but look at how it can help us make our society so much better and the enormous price tag. Urine testing is quite cheap, can produce virtually immediate results and has achieved widespread acceptance in criminal justice. But there are limitations to all the testing, most notably the relatively short window of detection for cocaine compared to a longer window for marijuana and most importantly, the costs of these tests to the tax payers. More powerful than in the past and for the immediate future more expensive technologies such as hair tests, sweat patches, and other bioassays can detect drug usage over a longer period of time, often with less intrusion into the subject's realm of privacy.

We can almost predict the cost that with the ever evolving technological advances within a decade, police officers, court security officers and other enforcement officials will be able to use. In some instances police officers may even be able to ascertain whether an individual is carrying a firearm. Again, the implications of these technological developments for everyday practice carry a stunning price tag. Imagine if a police officer had a hand held device that could, at relatively short range, ascertain whether a suspect was armed. When would we want that police officer to use such a device? What would be the legal threshold for its use? How would this technology be used in a world where carrying concealed weapons is often legal? Can we imagine a practice of "gun stops" that would resemble DWI stops that are now commonplace? Now we have to really think about how much it costs to keep us safe. Would public events such as concerts or ball games be routinely accompanied by sophisticated weapons detection apparatus? Would schools routinely have entrances that incorporate unobtrusive weapons detection systems or even metal detectors? How would we balance our concerns for public safety with our nation's respect for privacy and our constitutional safeguards against unreasonable searches? These questions need to be debated before the technology overtakes our policy deliberations and the financial burden simply over powers the tax payers' wallet.

In many ways, the technological revolution that is most familiar to us is the information revolution. With the click of a mouse, we can enter the libraries of the research institutions of the world, retrieve a document in foreign language, have it translated into English, and print it in our home. Police officers responding to a 911 call can access the crime history of a particular location, check the background of a particular suspect using fingerprints, fill out what we used to call paperwork in the squad car by using a hand-sized computer or lap top and return to patrol. Probation officers can track the movements of probationers using mobile electronic monitoring devices; victims of domestic violence or stalking can be alerted when monitored individuals get within a specified range; community groups can access computerized crime maps to understand the patterns of crime and disorder in their neighborhoods; investigators can quickly scan hundreds of databases to learn about the most intimate details of people under investigation. So, yes, we stand at the forefront of a revolution in technology. And yet this revolution still presents the same issues that other technological advances have presented in the past except that the cost is simply outrageous. We have to keep our values in mind as we integrate technological advances into day to day practices.

Laws are designed to have a punishment when someone violates a written rule or ordinance and a law is officially broken. The purpose of punishment is to discourage a person from committing a crime at all. Punishments for crimes are supposed to make criminal behavior less attractive to would be criminals and more risky to commit a crime in general. Long imprisonments and loss of incomes are major hardships to many people who make the choice accepting a criminal life. Another way of influencing choice is to make crime more difficult or to reduce the opportunities. This can be made by improving lighting, locking bars on auto steering wheels, the presence of guard dogs, or high technology improvements such as security systems and photographs on credit cards and bank cards, and also by increasing the number of police officers on the streets.

A crime can be defined as any act that violates a law or ordinance (Davenport, 2009). Crime is also any act or omission of an act in violation of a public law forbidding or commanding an action. Criminal laws vary significantly from state to state and not all laws or ordinances are the same. For an action to be considered a crime there must be a defined punishment. If the law does not set forth the details of the punishment for the action being done or omission of the act, then it is not a crime unless the state has enacted some type of provision in which sets forth punishment for violation of law in the absence of a specific defined punishment for the particular action or omission of the act.

The lists of possible crimes include felonies which are more serious offenses like murder or rape and misdemeanors less serious offenses like petty theft or jaywalking. In most cases felonies are usually crimes which are punishable by imprisonment of a year or more, while misdemeanors are less serious crimes which are punishable by less than a year (Stewart, 2006).

Criminal Law or better known as penal laws, are laws that involves prosecution by the government of a person that has been involved with or has knowledge of an act that has been classified as a crime (Taylor, 2010). It is the body of legislative and common laws that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. There are four theories of criminal justice: punishment, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. It is believed that by imposing sanctions for the crime, society can achieve justice and a peaceable social order. In the United States today, criminal laws are entirely a product of constitutional authority and the legislative bodies that ratify them. These laws are also affected by common laws or case laws that have been an interpretation by some administrative or regulatory agency's decisions. Constitutions usually provide for the formation of legislative bodies empowered to perform criminal and other laws. Our U.S. Constitution creates Congress and gives it lawmaking power. The Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, which are the original ten amendments, as well as similar amendments to state constitution, also describe procedural laws that dictate how substantive laws are to be administered (Founding Fathers.Info). Constitutions are important to the substantive criminal law because they set limits on what can be defined as a crime. Criminal law involves prosecution by the government of a person for an act that has been classified as a crime. In a criminal case, the state, through a prosecutor, initiates the suit, while in a civil case the victim brings the suit. Persons convicted of a crime may be locked up, or fined, or in some cases both. However, persons found liable in a civil case may only have to give up property or pay money, but are not incarcerated. All involved in the arrest, prosecution, defense or judgment of a suspect intend to be fair and swift. However, this goal is not always met, accounting for the flexibility in the application of laws, the changes to laws that are unfair, and the judiciary power of interpretation, it makes it impossible to always achieve the goal of always serving due justice.

In Conclusion

Crimes happen for many different reasons, some reasons make sense and some are totally senseless. Reasons for committing a crime include greed, anger, jealously, revenge, or pride. Some people decide to commit a crime and carefully plan everything in advance to increase gain and while trying to decrease risk. These people are making choices about their behavior; some even consider a life of crime rather than a regular job while believing that crime brings in greater rewards, admiration, and excitement that is at least until they get caught. Others seem to get an adrenaline rush when successfully carrying out a dangerous crime. Others commit crimes on impulse, out of rage or fear. There are social and economical reasons as well for committing crimes too. Excuses fly from all over the place when it comes to crime. Single parent or broken households where children are neglected or abused are more likely to commit crimes later in life than others. Similarly, sexual abuse in childhood often leads these victims to become sexual predators as adults. There is always peer pressure which a person's peer group strongly influences a decision to commit crime. For example, there are some young boys and girls who do not fit into expected standards of academic achievement can sometimes become lost in the competition. They then feel the need to fit in, and they get that satisfaction from those that are out to persuade and recruit t young minds into a life of crime and so forth.