Assess the Sociological Perspectives on Crime Prevention. [20 Marks]

778 Words May 12th, 2013 4 Pages
The effectiveness of crime prevention strategies has increased in recent years and many sociologists believe that this is the result of society instilling tougher punishments upon its’ members. Despite this, there are many other approaches that attempt to reduce crime. However, they also have their limitations. Clarke believes that situational crime prevention is an approach that focuses on reducing the opportunities for crime to occur rather than improving society’s institutions. This is largely based on the rational choice theory, which demonstrates how criminals decide if they are going to carry out a crime based on its costs and benefits. Thus, situational crime prevention aims to reduce the benefits of crime and increase its’ …show more content…
Many try to decrease crime rates through punishment. Firstly, there is the idea of ‘reduction’ where crime is reduced through deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation. For example, punishing individuals deters them from reoffending. Next is the idea of ‘retribution’, which justifies punishing criminals as a way of them ‘paying back’ to their society. Durkheim supports these punishments as he argues that they function to maintain social solidarity and reinforce shared values by making punishments made public. In doing so, the shared values are reasserted as the consequences of crimes are made public and this therefore deters them from wanting to commit a crime. Thus, a sense of unity is brought upon the members of that society. This is known as ‘restitutive justice’. Marxist theorists on the other hand believe that the function of punishment is to maintain existing social order and the inequalities between social classes. This is represented in the Repressive State Apparatus. For example, punishments and policies to deter crime are made by the ruling class, and thus protect them against any punishments of crime, reflecting the economic base in society. Melossie and Pavarini also see imprisonment as reflecting the capitalist relations of production. For example,

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