Crime and underprivileged populations are issues that have been intertwined throughout history. These two issues are complex and multifaceted, and various social and economic factors influence them. This paper will explore some of the prevailing theories associated with Crime and underprivileged communities, historical and current criminal justice system (CJS) efforts deployed to impact this complex relationship, and insights gained from the research project and how they will be applied in the career.
Some of the prevailing theories associated with Crime and underprivileged communities
There are several prevailing theories associated with crime and underprivileged communities. One of the most prominent is the social disorganization theory, which posits that Crime and delinquency are more prevalent in areas with weak social networks and inadequate social institutions, such as poverty-stricken neighborhoods (Fuquea,2021). According to this theory, residents of these neighborhoods have a more complex challenge of forming stable and effective social bonds, which can disrupt the community’s ability to regulate behavior and maintain order.
Another theory is the strain theory, which suggests that individuals living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods may turn to Crime to cope with the strain of economic hardship and limited opportunities (Sampson & Wilson,2020). This theory proposes that individuals in disadvantaged communities may feel frustrated and hopeless due to a lack of access to legitimate means of achieving their goals and may resort to criminal activity as achieve financial success or social status.
A third theory is the cultural deviance theory, which proposes that Crime is more prevalent in underprivileged communities due to the cultures that value criminal behavior and devalue conventional norms and values (Sampson & Wilson,2020). According to this theory, individuals in these communities may be more likely to engage in criminal behavior because it is seen as a normative or acceptable behavior within their subculture.
Lastly, the labeling theory is vital in understanding Crime and underprivileged communities. This theory argues that individuals may become labeled as deviant or criminal due to the actions of others and the societal reaction to their behavior rather than the behavior itself (Fuquea,2021). This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, where those labeled deviant may internalize the label and engage in more conduct.
Historical and current CJS efforts deployed to impact this complex relationship.
Historically, the criminal justice system (CJS) has employed some efforts to address the complex relationship between Crime and underprivileged populations. One of the most prominent is the “broken windows” theory, which proposes that addressing minor offenses, such as vandalism and loitering, reduces more severe Crime (Jones & Pridemore,2019). This theory has been used to justify several policing strategies, such as stop-and-frisk and zero-tolerance policing. These have been heavily criticized for disproportionately targeting communities of colocolo low-income communities.
Another historical effort is the “war on drugs,” which began in the 1980s and was intended to reduce drug-related Crime by increasing arrests and incarceration of drug offenders. This approach has been heavily criticized for disproportionately targeting communities of colocolo low-income and failing to reduce drug-related Crime effectively (Jones & Pridemore,2019). In recent years, there has been a growing recognition that traditional CJS approaches, such as heavy-handed policing and mass incarceration, have been ineffective in addressing Crime and underprivileged populations. As a result, there has been a shift towards more community-based and restorative justice approaches.
One example is the community policing model, which aims to improve community-police relations by increasing police accountability, transparency, and community involvement in policing. This approach encourages police officers to build relationships with community members, understand community concerns and priorities, and work together to address crime and safety issues.
Another approach is problem-solving courts, such as drug and mental health courts, which aim to address underlying issues contributing to criminal behavior and provide defendants with treatment, services, and supervision rather than traditional punishment. Using natives to incarceration, such as diversion programs, restorative justice, and community service, can also effectively address Crime and underprivileged populations (Bender & Cortés-Ciriano,2021). These alternatives aim to reduce recidivism; pro allows offenders to repair the harm they have caused and make amends to the community.
Overall, various historical and current efforts have been deployed to impact the complex relationship between Crime and underprivileged populations, with an increasing shift towards community-based and restorative justice approaches (Bender & Cortés-Ciriano,2021). These approaches aim to address the underlying issues that contribute to criminal behavior and provide offenders with the opportunity to repair the harm they have caused, reduce recidivism and provide opportunities for reintegration with the community.
Impact of the research project on my career
The research project on Crime and underprivileged populations gave me insights into the complex relationship between these two issues. One of the key insights is the importance of understanding the underlying social and economic conditions that contribute to Crime in underprivileged communities. Theories such as social disorganization, strain, cultural deviance, and labeling all highlight the role of poverty, limited economic opportunities, and weak social institutions in driving Crime in these communities.
Another insight is the need to move away from traditional criminal justice approaches, such as heavy-handed policing and mass incarceration, which have been ineffective in addressing Crime and underprivileged populations (Johnson et al.,2020). Instead, community-based and restorative justice approaches, such as community policing, problem-solving courts, and alternatives to incarceration, are more effective in addressing underlying issues and reducing recidivism.
The research also showed me the importance of considering the intersectionality of race, class, and gender in understanding Crime and underprivileged populations. The over-representation of people of color, particularly Black and Latinx individuals, in the criminal justice system highlights the systemic racism in the criminal justice system. This is particularly important for the police department, and it is essential to address the racial bias and discrimination that often leads to the over-policing of minority communities.
In terms of my career, these insights will inform my approach to working with underprivileged communities and individuals impacted by the criminal justice system. As a criminal justice professional, I will strive to understand and address the underlying social and economic conditions contributing to Crime in these communities (Loft,2020). I will also prioritize community-based and restorative justice approaches and consider the intersectionality of race, class, and gender in my work. Additionally, I will strive to be aware of my bias and work to reduce discrimination and promote equity in the criminal justice system.
In conclusion, this research project has highlighted the complexity of the relationship between Crime and underprivileged populations. Addressing Crime in disadvantaged communities requires understanding the underlying social and economic conditions contributing to Crime in these communities and shifting away from traditional criminal justice approaches. Community-based and restorative justice approaches, such as community policing, problem-solving courts, and alternatives to incarceration, are more effective in addressing underlying issues and reducing recidivism. The intersectionality of race, class, and gender must be considered in understanding Crime and underprivileged populations.
Fuquea, F. (2021). The Threat that the Prison Industrial System Poses to the Health and Safety of Prisoners and Underprivileged Communities Throughout the United States. https://digitalcommons.sacredheart.edu/acadfest/2021/all/83/
Sampson, R. J., & Wilson, W. J. (2020). Toward a theory of race, Crime, and urban inequality. In Crime, inequality and the state (pp. 312–325). Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003060581-24/toward-theory-race-crime-urban-inequality-robert-sampson-william-wilson
Jones, R. W., & Pridemore, W. A. (2019). Toward an integrated multilevel theory of the Crime at a place: Routine activities, social disorganization, and the law of crime concentration. Journal of quantitative criminology, 35, 543-572. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10940-018-9397-6
Bender, A., & Cortés-Ciriano, I. (2021). Artificial intelligence in drug discovery: what is realistic, what are illusions? Part 1: How to impact and why we have yet to arrive. Drug Discovery Today, 26(2), 511-524. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2020.12.009
Johnson, A. J., Zheng, J. J., Kang, J. W., Saboe, A., Knights, D., & Zivkovic, A. M. (2020). A guide to diet-microbiome study design. Frontiers in nutrition, 7, 79. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2020.00079/full
Loft, A. (2020). Understanding accounting in its social and historical context: the case of cost accounting in Britain, 1914-1925. Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781003052494/understanding-accounting-social-historical-context-anne-loft