Myths and Reality of Crime
Imagine asking 100 strangers to describe a criminal.
Predict whether those descriptions would be likely to focus on street criminals, or the variety of topics covered in the Crimes of the Powerful
Evaluate how society defines crime.
Do not provide a definition – instead, explain how the definition is reached.
Present a clear statement about a particular crime, something we know to be absolutely true.
Illustrate how we know that this is an accurate statement.
Present an example of a widely-held myth or misconception about crime and society.
Determine how we know that this is a myth. Explain why this myth is so difficult to abandon.
Myths and Reality of Crime
Common misunderstandings include the notions that harsher penalties will deter crime, that incarcerating children in adult prisons will scare them into good behavior, and that judges are sympathetic to criminals. Although some evidence supports the first two concepts, the latter is not. A broad spectrum of people, including criminal justice experts, law enforcement officers, victims of violent crime, judges, parole officers, and juvenile offenders, examine the crime problem in the world. Solving a problem like a crime as quickly as possible often leads to the creation of new problems. In the absence of increased financing for jail construction or other alternatives to incarceration, current correctional facilities may become unmanageably overcrowded.
It's vital to remember that the definition of crime shifts across time and place.For example, in the United Kingdom, sexual relations between consenting adults are now permissible (Aird, n.d.). However, additional practices that were previously permissible are now prohibited. For example, only in 1991 did the United Kingdom enact a law prohibiting rape in the context of a marriage. In certain countries, specific actions are prohibited, whereas, in others, they are not punishable. Determining who has the power and authority to define what is and is not a crime is a political question. For example, crime in the UK is defined as vast numbers of small events that would score relatively low on severity ratings. Examples include occupational health and safety infractions, which directly influence public health and safety, and environmental pollution and state aggressiveness, both of which have little or no control. Even though each of these factors has a significant impact, this is nonetheless the case.
Rather than being an objectively carried out activity, the act of designating anything criminal is considered socially subjective. No correlation exists between what a criminal does and what constitutes a crime as defined by the law (Søreide, 2013). Not all crimes are unlawful, and it is essential to remember this. To be clear, this does not mean that some criminal behaviors do not have harmful effects. Murder and sexual violence against women and children are only a few examples of bad behavior. The response of any civilized society to such atrocities should match the gravity of the situation. As a result of these myths and misconceptions, crime continues to be discussed in contemporary discourse, whether in politics, popular culture, academic institutions, or public policy. The roots and impacts of the activity, as well as the core activity itself, should take precedence over the conventional definition.
Methodology underpins the public discussion of crime as the dominant narratives continuously deny people the ability to distinguish between myth and reality. As a result, these narratives are political projects designed to achieve specific goals for their desired consequences, including race-based narratives. Individuals cannot adequately classify illegal conduct until they know what it is and is not. It is time to dispel the myths about criminal activities. The widespread belief is that those who commit crimes should be held accountable (Vandiver & Braithwaite, 2022). For example, the crime of murder is committed if one shoots and kills an unidentified individual who disobeys an order in public. Thus, society tends to assess people more harshly for who they are rather than what they accomplish.
In the United States, popular storytellers have made a distinction regarding morality. White supremacist ideology will continue to thrive if crime becomes a function of privilege (Minter, 2020). The havoc wrought on society by President Trump and Officer Derek Chauvin is incomparable to the harm a 16-year-old drug dealer produced. For example, this shows how many people in the United States view punishment as a privilege they can bestow upon others based not on the specific offenses they have committed but on their social status as part of the white power structure. A typical day is likely to include a wide variety of social contacts for people of all ages, from infants to seniors. These relationships enrich their lives, which are at the core of what it means to be human. The foundation of society is built on these psychological elements.
Since patriarchy was established in most modern and pre-modern countries, men have always maintained an advantage over women. Racism and xenophobia are based on the philosophy of racial hatred and xenophobia, which has been prevalent throughout history (Tulkens, 2019). For most of human history, those in high positions of social rank have habitually used their power to oppress others who are less fortunate, whether they are employers who abuse their employees or tenants who take advantage of tenants. When people talk about conflicts of a specialized and technological nature, they refer to acts of violence, robbery, and other law violations. Crime refers to any behaviors the legal system considers illegal or unethical.
Many studies have shown that quick remedies do not work in lowering crime. Police and community involvement in street patrols and Neighborhood Watch programs, attention to victims' rights, and the creation of alternatives to incarceration are all being studied as long-term solutions to the crime problem. Juvenile offenders may benefit more from wilderness camps and other rehabilitation programs than heavier punishments, which merely serve to harden them into adults. One example of this type of program is a wilderness camp. Rather than judges, criminologists, or the general people, representatives of the administration and parliament set the bounds of criminal law. As a result, the definitions of criminal acts reinforce the underlying political order and social balance that are being studied.
Aird, J. C. (n.d.). Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation: A comparison between the United Kingdom and New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.26686/wgtn.17009609
Minter, S. (2020). An ideology online: Explaining the causes and proliferation of white supremacist terrorism. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3790829
Søreide, T. (2013). Summary of symposium organised by the faculty of law, University of Bergen on 30 October 2013: Changing conditions for fighting economic crime: What constitutes an efficient criminal justice system? Bergen Journal of Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, 1(2), 141. https://doi.org/10.15845/bjclcj.v1i2.534
Tulkens, F. (2019). Fra’s efforts to combat hatred, xenophobia and racism. Human Rights Law and Evidence-Based Policy, 143-157. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429197727-11
Vandiver, D., & Braithwaite, J. (2022). Theories about sex crimes and persons who commit sex crimes. Sex Crimes, 21-48. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003031444-2
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