Criminal Act

Social Problems Versus Social Responsibility Theme

Samuelle Thomas

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Crime and Society


Saturday March 5th, 2011

Crime and Society Midterm
Social Problems Versus Social Responsibility Theme

The central subject or theme of this textbook focuses on different social problems and social responsibilities from a variety of perspectives (i.e. biological, classical thought??¦) . The social problems and the social responsibility perspectives on crime are similar in the way that they view crime as a whole; but they vary because of the way in which they feel crimes occurs. The social problems perspective states that people themselves can not be held accountable for their actions. Researchers who believe this perspective, feel that criminals actions are caused based upon a failure of society to prevent the problem. Whereas, the social responsibilities perspective states that a person chooses to commit a crime, and that it is not society or your ??? social environment??? that make this choice for you. There is a lot of research that supports both perspectives, they are still being amended today as researches get to learn more about the psychological and social theories of crime.
According to The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the term social contract relate to ???Thomas Hobbes, 1588??“1679; John Locke, 1632??“1704; and Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1712??“1778. Scholarly tradition has associated the three because of their alleged common insistence that society originated in a contract, ??¦or agreement??¦, to which each individual concerned consented and, so, removed himself from the ???state of nature??? and helped set in motion a regime of government under laws, of impartially administered justice, and of civic morality??¦???. The idea of a social contract is to unite people in a society together to agree to protect one another from civil crimes.
Natural law states that certain rights and/or values are inherited or universally know by virtue of human reason or human nature. This relates to the concept of social contract in that they both recognize that historically, we as people, fundamentally know the difference between right and wrong and should be morally responsible for the safety and wellbeing ourselves and our ???neighbors???.
Biological theory states that people commit crimes because of genetic, biochemical, or neurological deficiencies. Biological theories of crime causation more closely supports the social problems theme. This is because they both relate to the physiological factors that may induce crime. Of course, biological theorist do not believe that genetic or physiological components are the sole causal agents in behavior, they do however suggest that these component play a major role.
???Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. From this perspective, it is reasonable to attempt to prevent crime by preventing known offenders from continuing their criminal behavior??? (Sherman et al. 1998, ch. 9). Structure, Discipline and Challenge programs that use physically and/or mentally stressful experiences to change the offenders in a positive way or deter them from later crime. These types of programs are promoted in the social problems theme. Offenders may be rehabilitated by helping to find out what bought that person to commit the crime at hand. Almost every criminal??™s ???career??? can be traced to a loss of self-respect. With this knowledge it is possible to find the ???source??? of their ???criminal mind??? and help them with resources to deter their future mind set. Another (although unpopular) way to prevent criminals from committing additional crimes is capital punishment. Even with capital punishment being such a highly publicized and sensitive topic, it is indeed a deterrent for criminal behavior.
Theoretical perspectives that support the social problem approach, include but are not limited to, Criminaloids. Criminaloids refers to a term used by Cesare Lombroso to describe occasional criminals who were pulled into criminality primarily by environmental influences. Another concept developed by Lomroso is atavism, which suggest that criminals are physiological throwbacks to earlier stages of human evolution. This speaks to the concept of the social problems theme that ???you are a product of your environment???. One theoretical perspectives that supports the social responsibilities approach is the Rational Choice theory is an approach used by social scientists to understand human behavior. This theory says that ???people (freely) choose all behavior, both conforming and deviant, based on their rational calculations, the central element of calculation involves a cost benefit analysis: Pleasure versus Pain.??? (Keel, Robert, pg. 2; 2005). Most crimes are committed by reasoning (not necessarily smart), criminals who think they probably wont get caught and they will have a good payoff in return.
A violent subculture is a group of people within a larger cultural group that have violent tendencies or actions. Some subcultures stress violence with the intent to get the point across (i.e. racial or sex discrimination). While other violent subcultures may be in economical distress and feel that violence or crime is the only ???avenue??? for relief.
Most teens who choose to be in a gang, a type violent subculture, usually make that choice because they want a sense of family among their peers. Their own family may be spilt and not so close and they may be seeking a feeling of brotherhood & belonging to something. There are ways to deter individuals in a subculture of violence towards less aggressive ways. Situational Crime Prevention helps make it seem harder, riskier, and less rewarding to commit crimes. There are also programs available to the public that help individuals in a variety of ways ( i.e. family counseling, Big Brother/Big Sister of America).
In closing, rather you believe in the theme of the social problems perspective or the social responsibility perspective, we all should be responsible be our own actions as individuals. Our respect for the natural laws should always be at the forefront of our everyday decisions.

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | 1968 | COPYRIGHT 2008 Thomson Gale.

Keel, Robert; 2005, Sociology of Deviant Behavior; The Evolution of Classical Theory:
Rational Choice, Deterrence, Incapacitation and Just Desert

Sherman, L., Gottfredson, D., MacKenzie, D., Eck, J., Reuter, P.& Bushway, S. 1998, ???Preventing crime: What works, what doesn??™t, what??™s promising: A report to the United States Congress???, see http:/ /