According to NSW, theft is a crime categorized under property offenses. Over the last five years, minor offenses have been reported, including stealing personal belongings, motor vehicle theft, retail, and shop stealing, among others. However, the recorded statistics on these crimes do not portray society’s actual crime level. All this results from some aspects that affect the numbers simultaneously and are unmeasurable (De Coninck, 2022). The willingness of the public to report crime is critical since minor crimes may occur in the community and end up being unreported. A good example is retail and shop theft, robberies that have not been fully reported to the police. This essay will analyze the Effectiveness of incarceration on minor crimes.
Decisions on committing a crime from an economic perspective
Crime is diverse and not limited to a particular class or society. Anyone can commit a crime. The persons who commit crimes are rational decision-makers whose main target is to benefit at the end of the criminal activity. However, minor crimes are not categorized to be of rational behavior. Some are a result of socioeconomic aspects (Åslund, 2019). Economics is the study of how the aspects of demand and supply allocate limited resources to satisfy the different needs in society. The argument of economists is linked to being the same in that crime results from individuals making choices of using the limited resource of time and effort on legitimate or illegitimate activities. In the decision-making, they choose to go with their self-interest by selecting options that offer excellent benefits that exceed the costs. Guidelines wereDuring the pandemic, guidelines were given, and anyone who went against them would suffer a risk of contracting the disease or be punished by the set costs. Becker’s model defines benefit as a positive function of income. Individuals look at the benefits by comparing the benefits of crime and those of legal activities. Risk in returns for legal activities being zero, an individual will engage in crime only if the benefits are positive.
Factors influencing crime and its reduction
Crime rates have been seen to vary because of poverty and inequality that exist in society. Increase in the income gap where one group is poorer and the other neighbor is rich, the property theft level increases in the more prosperous block. The choice is influenced by inequality and the difference in wealth; hence they decide on the opportunity on the block with a more significant income (De Courson et al., 2021). To solve the crime, poverty can be used to reduce minor crimes by enhancing the living standards of the poor and, in the long run reducing their involvement in criminal activities. Unemployment is another major factor that leads to crime. The considerable sum of money spent on the education of many youths and later being unemployed leads to frustrations. The feeling of resentment towards the system among many young people who opt to commit minor crimes such as theft for survival (Mazorodze, 2020). Property crime rates are usually high in times of unemployment, and to come up with a solution to this, the education system should accommodate a curriculum that equips learners with skills and implementation of new technology to cultivate the idea of innovations and creativity hence a low level of theft and other property offenses.
Benefits and incentives associated with incarceration
Incarceration as a form of offender punishment can be characterized as an effective way of reducing the crime rate. Incarceration has created a safe environment by ensuring protection from violent and dangerous criminals in society. This offers the criminals enough time to reflect on their wrong actions and a time to reform and change their lives for the better in their behavior. Incarceration is an effective way of reducing crime since the time spent in jail can prevent the occurrence of future crimes, and in the process, rehabilitation takes place. The offenders are not only jailed but offered skills through vocational training programs that enable them to participate in legitimate activities after the incarceration period and to benefit without risk (Dahl & Mongstad, 2020). However, incarceration can lead to recidivism and unemployment due to human capital depreciation, exposure to hardened criminals, or societal and workplace stigma. It can also affect the offender’s close family and relatives or the criminal’s networks. The effects largely depend on the prisoner and the conditions of the prisons. The prison record on release makes it hard for one to secure a job which may result in him or her going back into crime.
Unintended consequences of incarceration for minor crimes
Incarcerated, as a way of reducing criminal activities in today’s world, might have negative consequences time. Children and family are a vital part of society, and the dissolution of the family can significantly affect the children (DeHart et al., 201Children’s regular duties and ren with their parents can be affected if the parent has been convicted of incarceration. The effects are emotional and material; the difficulty of child care and financial support being classified under material leads to a change of school and even a lack of financial security. Emotionally the children can face stigma, feel shame, and lose social status depending on the age of the child. Incarceration also leads to economic inequality; a good example is the United States, where the gap between the poor and the rich is increasing, establishing the role of inequality in crime. Incarceration lowers an individual chance of securing employment and even life chances which results in a change in economic resources from urban to other locations (Amacher et al., 2019). The lowering of chances creates a gap where individuals exposed to incarceration live on low standards, affecting their families and society at large and lowering their economic status.
As the population in prisons and jail continue to increase, lawmakers have proposed alternative means of incarceration. The law requires the judge to employ other alternatives as long as the crime does not involve mandatory sentences (Farchi et al., 2022). The alternatives include; issuing of fine, issuing a house arrest, probation, community service, and restitution, among others. For an individual judged with a theft crime, it is good for the court to use the alternative of exemplary, community service, or restitution. The fine can be paid to the government, pay restitution to the victim, and offer some community service hours. This has been significantly implemented in the United States to avoid the growing prison population (Ariel & Bland, 2019). Due to growing technology, prisons and lawmakers have adopted and opted for the idea of house arrest to replace incarceration for minor crimes. It involves the offender wearing a gadget on his or her ankle that is electronically monitored and wirelessly connected to the main center, which can notify the authorities whenever the defendant goes outside the expected range.
Incarceration is one of the ways to reduce minor crime cases being reported today (Tadros et al., 2021). With the significant shift that happened during the pandemic, it is a wake-up call for the lawmakers to come up with alternatives other than incarceration, which will reduce the material and emotional effect on family and the criminal network of the individual as well as give a second chance for one to reform and bounce back hence creating a positive impact on the economy.
Amacher, R., Tollison, R. D., & Willett, T. D. (Eds.). (2019). The economic approach to public policy: selected readings. Cornell University Press.
Ariel, B., & Bland, M. (2019). Is crime rising or falling? A comparison of police-recorded crime and victimization surveys. In Methods of criminology and criminal justice research. Emerald Publishing Limited.
Åslund, A. (2019). Economic causes of crime in Russia. Russia’s rule of law and economic reform (pp. 79–94). Routledge.
Dahl, G. B., & Mogstad, M. (2020). The benefits of rehabilitative incarceration. NBER Reporter, (1), 18-21.
De Coninck, D. (2022). Fear of terrorism and attitudes toward refugees: An empirical test of group threat theory. Crime & Delinquency, 68(4), 550-571.
De Courson, B., & Nettle, D. (2021). Why do inequality and deprivation produce high crime and low trust? Scientific reports, 11(1), 1–11.
DeHart, D., Shapiro, C., & Clone, S. (2018). “The pill line is longer than the chow line”: The impact of incarceration on prisoners and their families. The Prison Journal, 98(2), 188–212.
Farchi, T., Logue, D., Fernandez, P., & Vassolo, R. (2022). Freedom behind bars: the central role of emotions in naturalizing an analogy for social change. Organization Studies, 43(10), 1651-1675.
Mazorodze, B. T. (2020). Youth unemployment and murder crimes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Cogent economics & finance, 8(1), 1799480.
Tadros, E., Hutcherson, R., & Greene, A. (2021). Advocating for an incarcerated informed lens in therapy. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 65(5), 631–643.