Crime in Society
SOC 305: Crime & Society
Instructor: Michael Pozesny
May 7, 2012
Crime in Society
Crime is an epidemic which has plagued societies since society did not even exist. Since the beginning society has tried to find ways to deal with crime in an effective way in which everyone would receive the punishment or reparation for a crime that has been committed. There are specific things that shape the way that society handles crime in present day. These ways are education in the field of crime, a structured justice system which can hand out proper punishment, ways of deterring crime, ways of dealing with criminals who have committed crimes, ways of helping people who have had a crime committed against them, and finally finding ways to turn criminals into people who can live in society. The justice system of today has ways to deal with all of these situations but there is always room for improvement.
???The study of crime and deviance has always been one of the most theoretically fertile areas in sociology??? (Sampson, 2000). The study of crime is a way for law enforcement to understand crime who and why the crime was committed. This is a direct link to sociology of criminals understanding why they have committed a crime. To have an effective way to prevent crime the justice system has to build a way for the law enforcement to understand and prevent or even stop crimes before they are committed, and to find and punish criminals. There is also the side of proving that criminals have committed a crime. This is a lawyer??™s job to prove that the crime has been committed and why so they are able to convince a jury to convict them and give them a sentence which is suitable for the crime they were involved in.
In today??™s law enforcement field most people who are applying for the job must have a certain amount of college and it is pressed that it be in criminal justice. This is so that police officers are educated and more able to fight crime. In this day and age criminals are getting smarter so it is important for the police officers to follow by educating themselves. In the criminal justice field there are a lot of things that officers need to know and with technology the information is increasing. With all of the advancements in the field the officers have to be able to keep up with new ways of doing things. Finally officers need to be able to bring the proper amount of information to prove that the crime had happened and education helps them know what to do and when. So in the end education is something that officers need to be able to do their job in a proper way.
???The criminal justice system is the set of agencies and processes established by governments to control crime and impose penalties on those who violate laws. There is no single criminal justice system in the United States but rather many similar, individual systems??? (NCVC, 2008). The punishment of criminals is a big part of the justice system as well. This part of the justice system takes place after someone has been convicted of a crime and they have to punish this person. There are many levels of this which start out with fines in which the person has to pay a cretin amount of money for their crime. Next is jail time which can be for days or many years where a person is removed from society until they are fit to join back to society. The next level is a life time in jail where someone is deemed that they can no longer operate properly in society. Finally there is the death penalty in which a person is put to death for a crime that is horrible. It is important for the sociology of a crime to be determined a punished properly for their crime. ???The effectiveness if the criminal justice system in meeting the goals of deterrence, incapacitation, retribution, and rehabilitation depends on the coordination among various law-enforcement agencies??? (Conklin, 2010, pg. 325).
In this day and age this is where the system really starts to fail because sending criminals to jail is not having the effect that they want it to. As of right now jail is causing more problems than good, because jail turns lower crime people to turn into hardened criminals because of the environment in jail. It is so bad the police officers are told to stay away from areas so they do not bring to many people to jail because the government cannot afford it. The proper way to actually do this would be to send criminals to a place where they can reform rather than just be surrounded by bad people just waiting to get out. The criminals coming out of jail are no better than when they went in, they are actually worse.
Deterring crime is very important so that people will not fill free to commit a crime as in other countries. ???Deterrence can occur in one of two ways. Individual deterrence occurs when an offender who is responsible for taking part in illegal activities partakes in a criminal trial and legal precedence is used in order to determine the conviction and the subsequent sentence for that individual??? (Laws.com, 2011). There are many ways that deterrence has stopped a person from committing a crime. One deterrent is the punishment which is enough to stop anyone even thinking about committing a crime. Second is surveillance in which people, police, or a city watch drives around making sure that no one is committing a crime, also video cameras recorded places so that people will not commit a crime. One of the most important parts of stopping crime is the deterrence and if a person understands the sociology of crime then they can invent working ways to deter crime.
In the United States a lot of people are not afraid of the punishments so crime is high. If the United States would increase the punishments to a level where people where truly scared to get in trouble crime would drop drastically. It might be drastic but bringing in the eye for an eye aspect of punishment back into society people would really think hard about committing a crime in society. It is important for society to know that crime is going to happen but there are ways to stop people from committing crimes and the idea of making them scared to commit a crime is the best way to deal with crime.
A big part of dealing with crime is dealing with the after math of crimes and repaying victims. In the lower levels of crime there is proper punishment such as fines, jail time, and making the person who committed the crime pay restitutions. For example a DUI in which a person is found guilty of driving under the influence and getting in an accident with someone else. The victims will have the chance to confront the defendant and put their opinion on the punishment and also be awarded restitution. In major crimes such as murder the defendant is forced to confront the victims so they know that the proper punishment is done. The sociology of crime helps people understand that they will be supported and fought for is someone commits a crime against them.
It is important to protect society from crime but if it does happen society has the responsibility to help the victims. If this system starts to fail then people will start refusing to pay taxes and also start taking things into their own hands. If this happens then society can have the possibility to fail making everything worse. That is why it is so important for governments to dedicate money and time to helping victims so people feel safe and to know if a crime happens then people will help them. The only reason the criminal system works is because the whole system is dedicated to protecting and serving the public making people feel safe and if something does happen justice will be served.
Finally in crime it is important for criminals to be converted into law abiding citizens. This is where sociology is very important because knowing why someone committed a crime and to change the way they look at life. After someone has committed a crime especially a large crime people need to be converted into a better person and this is at a psychological level. This is where the criminal system seems to fail because the jail system has the ability to turn a small criminal into a large criminal. Of all the aspects of the justice system this is where it needs the help.
Changing the way criminals think should be a large priority but that is where the system fails. Criminals are not taught to be law abiding citizens but just put in jail around a lot of bad people making them even worse. This is the opposite of what should be happening inmates should have to go throw counseling, education, and held to higher standards. Right now criminals are allowed to be in gangs, be able to fight, use drugs, and even be able to have inappropriate contact with people out in the real world. If these people where put into better groups and forced to deal with their problems and become better people. If society does not do something to improve this program it is just going to get worse. If this system was better than criminals would be turned into better people not made worse by the justice system.
The justice system is organized very well but the only thing it fails at is getting all of the criminals off of the street and changing them when they are in custody. If there was more money in the criminal justice system it is possible to improve it. There is many other ways to optimize the justice system. First would be to increase the deterrence??™s for crime in society if the punishments where harsher then people would really debate committing crimes because they would be truly scared to get caught. Also if there were more ways to monitor crimes in society then people would have fewer opportunities to commit a crime. Instead of putting so much time and effort on traffic crimes and more on bigger crimes then criminal activities would drop drastically. The Next step would be to convert punishments for crimes if people are put throw more productive punishments then they would have the chance to reform instead of being in prison gangs. The justice system has the right Idea but there are many ways that it could be improved. As it stands the justice system is working but it could be working much better and more productive.
As for my personal experiences I do not really have any but my fiance has where he was involved in an accident while drinking. He was charged with DUI and aggravated assault. This was a very long process because there were a lot of situations that where considered with this situation. But in the end the justice system did what it was supposed to. Most of the work was done by my fiances lawyer who handled the situation very professionally.
The first thing that had to be handled is medical attention for everyone involved to make sure that everyone was taken care of but my fiance and the victim of the crime had to be taken to the hospital so they could get medical attention. After my fiancee went to the hospital then the police did their part by serving him with the criminal charges. But with this accident there was a mental issue that had to be handled with my fiance because of the mistreatment of a doctor earlier in the day which drove him to drink and have a mental breakdown.
Step two was for my fiance who had to find a lawyer to defend him in court so that he could be represented by someone professional. The lawyer was given the information in which he worked with so my fiance could be treated fairly. The lawyer was able to continue the case for about a year so that everything was in place so that the situation could be handled properly. After that my fiance had to go to court and defend himself and explain why things happened and how regretful he truly was. Next the victim had the chance to state her case in which she was severely injured in the accident. The judge took in both sides and issued a judgment which was fair and included fines, supervised probation, and seven days in jail.
In this process my fiance had to pay for his crime and he had no problem with this but while in the process the system did nothing to help him or anyone he met while doing this. In this they were just there to help monitor him and punish him but did nothing to help improve him. The people in jail where able to break the law, fight, do drugs, and even attack someone for just looking different. The jail system did nothing but rub bad things off on everyone there is no structure in helping people that need it just locking them away until there time is up. So the first half of the justice system that I had seen was ran very well but the second half of the actual punishment did nothing but expose him to worse criminals.
There are specific things that shape the way that society handles crime in present day. These ways are education in the field of crime, a structured justice system which can hand out proper punishment, ways of deterring crime, ways of dealing with criminals who have committed crimes, ways of helping people who have had a crime committed against them, and finally finding ways to turn criminals into people who can live in society. It is important that everyone involved in crimes is dealt with in an appropriate way. People on all sides of crimes need to be dealt with rather it is the criminals who need to be punished or the victims who need to be defended and paid reparations. The most important people are the victims of crimes but the people who commit crimes need the help so they can be changed into better people. The justice system has to find a way to help criminals or they will not get better but worse when exposed to the prison system. Even with my personal experiences I have seen the good and bad of the justice system and know that there is a lot that has to be done to improve it so that people are treated for their problems and keep them from being turned into hard criminals. So in the end the justice system works but it needs a lot of work to turn criminals into productive citizens and not turn them into worse criminals. But with a good prevention system and punishment system crimes may lessen or even disappear all together.
Conklin, J. (2010). Criminology (10th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Laws .com (2011) Deterrence at a Glance received on April 23, 2012, from
National Center of Victims of Crime (2008) The Criminal Justice system received on April 23,
Sampson, R.J. (2000). Whither the Sociological Study of Crime Retrieved on April 23, from