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Socioeconomic Theories of Poverty Essay

Recidivism is a problem in Texas. People are going to jail and upon being released people are going back. Some of the causes in this problem include unemployment, luck of education and poverty. The jail to job program was intended to address the problem by building capacity and creating opportunities to the ex-convicts. Socioeconomic theories of Poverty helps to show the success of jail to job program (Watkins, et al., 2004). Inmates are placed in realistic work conditions, paid at market rates, and given the opportunity to learn marketable skills that will help them find meaningful work once they are released. Each method makes a significant addition to our understanding of poverty, but no theory is sufficient to itself.

There are two major sociological theories that explain why an individual or a family is poor. The first, known as the individual pathologies theory, holds persons who live in poverty responsible for their circumstances. This concept, which is generally founded on perceptions of persons who live in poverty, guarantees that there are individual flaws that prompt those who live in poverty to their circumstances (Sanchez-Martinez, 2015). For example, being addicted to the government assistance, being apathetic, having low knowledge, or having some psychological or physical disability are some of the characteristics distinguished in this theory to clarify why an individual can’t make the most of chances that have permitted the non-poor to flourish.

Hernstein and Murray’s famed bell curve theory from the 1990s is an illustration of such work. This perspective has been chastised for neglecting to perceive that an individual isn’t generally a free specialist with limitless work prospects (Sanchez-Martinez, 2015). Rather, institutional hurdles prevent individuals from benefiting from possibilities to escape poverty. In this frame of mind, policy solutions tend to focus on treating individual pathologies by delivering targeted help to the person, such as weaning the individual off welfare benefit.

The focus on the community and family as the root of poverty is a contrast to this individualization of poverty thinking. This is also known as the poverty mindset culture. Poverty is embedded in socially constructed belief systems, according to the book’s fundamental theme. Poverty reproduces itself through intergenerational reinforced behaviors as a result of socialization the transfer of values, attitudes, and abilities. A youth on welfare assistance, for example, is frequently perceived as being indoctrinated into this subculture and will most likely grow up to live in poverty as an adult. While providing a different perspective, this mode of thinking has been chastised for racial stereotyping and a failure to comprehend the structural variables that influence the creation of subcultures (Sanchez-Martinez, 2015). An alternative theory concentrating on the structural reasons of poverty evolved, based on a critique of culture of poverty and individual pathologies narratives, respectively. This argument claims that structural impediments within the capitalist economy generate poverty, and that political systems may also cause poverty that leads to crime.

The jail to work program help the inmates by giving them skills that help them to work. In some correctional facilities there computer repair program, carpentry, making license plates. So the prisoners are trained for this jobs so that when they leave prison they have valuable skills that they can apply upon release (Watkins, et al., 2004). Prisoners are also taught about social skills through things like guiding and cancelling. Part of this social skills include values such as integrity honesty and this will help them become better citizens and avoid crime.

Conclusively, Poor mental health, lack of education or skills, and poverty can lead to recidivism, or the repeating of criminal action. The number of people in prison continues to rise as more people get re-arrested. However, there are strategies for preventing recidivism in these populations. The jail to work program is one among other program that help minimize recidivism. Inmates are given valuable skills that increase their chances of employment after prison. Prisoners are kept busy in the process in training how to do work and their relationship with others in the societies by embracing integrity. So the program is effective in addressing unemployment which will reduce the poverty levels and reduce recidivism problem in Texas.


Davis, E. P., & Sanchez-Martinez, M. (2015). Economic theories of poverty. Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Lambert, E. G., Reynolds, K. M., Paoline III, E. A., & Watkins, R. C. (2004). The effects of occupational stressors on jail staff job satisfaction. Journal of Crime and Justice, 27(1), 1-32.


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