Thinking About Crime And The Justice System Criminology Essay

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In the James Q. Wilson's essay: Thinking about crime, Wilson gives us a question; that is, criminal justice system does not reduce crime rate, and the government did not pay attention to the best method to prevent crime. Wilson gives us a ball to us to ask what deterrence is. There is a stereotype idea that strict punishment prevents people from committing crime. For example, Bartley-Fox law was to decrease the number of people with gun without license; however, the law was to reduce the number of drug dealers arrested. Even if policy makers and legislators put a strict punishment on criminals: one subject, other criminals will not receive attack from police. The Michigan Felony Firearm Statue did not work well because judges did not give the severity of sentences to criminals (Wilson, 1983). Rehabilitation theory is not aiming for criminals because some job-creation programs do not solve social problem; that is, people commit crime again. TARP (Transitional Aid Research Project) was one of failure programs to rehabilitate ex-convicts. The projects did not encourage the ex-convicts to get employment. Even if they receive only financial aids, nothing changes in their life. On the other hands, MDRC (Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation) supports and trains ex-convicts for employment with sympathetic supervisor in daily life (Wilson, 1983). To reduce crime rate, it is very important to use statistics data for the purpose of making a preventive policy. Wilson has a question that the statistics is subject to enough differing interpretations that they end up being of little value. The deterrence data has a bias to calculate; for example, victims report is not unified because the victims tend to forget the incident or hesitate answering; as a result, we cannot help using police data. According to above contradiction of criminal justice system, Wilson has meaningful discussion about whether criminal justice system is not ready to prevent people from committing crime as much as the government can. Even if the government provides us with strict punishment, it is not a real deterrence. Deterrence requires people to associate punishment with crimes they commit. If criminals do not make that association, they are more likely to commit more crime in the future. A long delay between the arrest and imposition of a sentence negates the deterrent effect of punishment. The criminals can persuade themselves that they are not responsible for their crime. Wilson encourages us to focus on determining the causes of crime. Why do some people become life-long criminals while others become productive members of society? If we can answer the question, we can figure out some ways to prevent crime. According to the rational choice theory, people generally make rational decision about choices in their lives, including decisions to commit crime. A person assesses the potential rewards and risks and then acts accordingly, in the act of illegal. As society's value change over time, the passage of new criminal laws and the repeal of old criminal laws reflect these changes. "Deterrence doctrine identifies certainty, severity, and celerity of punishment as key elements in a rational decision-making process aimed at deciding between criminal and noncriminal paths of conduct (Brown et al., 2010, p182). Wilson have a question about whether economy is related to crime rate. The United States goes into a recession and people lose their jobs in large numbers. As a result, the crime rate rise? It seems logical that unemployed people would be more likely to steal or commit other crimes just to survive. However, Wilson does not agree to the theory. It is interesting to see that rhetoric is not based on much evidence. Wilson's view also pays attention to statistics bias. Arrest statistics provide another tool for evaluating crime rates: Tracking the number of arrests helps track certain crime trends for crimes that people usually do not report. Tracking the number of arrests has its shortcomings. Sometimes people misunderstand that a decrease in the number of arrests for a certain crime may have several explanations as Wilson explains. Fewer people are committing the crime. Police are putting fewer resources into investigating the crime. Criminals have figured out ways to commit the crime without being caught (Wilson, 1983). Statistics data is very important to analyze the figure of crime; however, we should use it and analyze from different angles. In conclusion, to prevent crime, what should we do? Wilson in the essay insists that statistics data, punishment, criminal justice system, and so on… not make sense to think about deterrence. there are lots of theories that people commit crime. Each theory has pro or con. In reality, nobody clings solely to one of theories as the only reason for punishment. When deciding on how and why to punish criminal offenders, policymakers consider and adopt components of all these theories. Society should provide effective treatment when it can. Criminal justice system is not perfect to reduce crime rate. however, as time passes, we can know what we need from the past. In the nineteenth century, the government was no swifter or more certain in its operation, compared with today. As we know today, swifter and more certain sanction and better opportunities will improve matters in criminal justice system.

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