As old as human life itself, crime has seeped through civilizations. Punishment in varying forms and degrees are implemented with the impression that such actions are a social and moral deterrent to criminal behavior thereby limiting criminal behavior and violence in a society. Several approaches have been advanced in an effort to provide behavioral modification in a multi-disciplinary approach that prevents the incidence of criminal deviation among individuals. Criminal justice promotes concern for everyone by lodging on preventive theories and focusing on the individual capacity to control and restrain errant behavior.
This is the positive essence of a healthy society that does not disregard common morals and conventions for personal gain or for retribution. However as criminal activity refuse to abate, any preventive means were trashed in favor of arresting and punishing the perpetrator. In the midst of greater chances to educate people, crime evolved into a higher level and law enforcement had to respond with means driving away from the preventive measures of crime. Renewed interest has been given on the preventive premise with strict emphasis on enforcement agencies and their preventive efforts of crime incidence in the society.
This study will dwell on how to approach efforts to treat crime and prevention within the social context based on individual theories in relation to how man perceives himself in relation to his social structure. Crime Prevention Premise Under the belief and influence that crime is inevitable in a society, the family as the basic unit of the society should be the main target of any and all crime preventive measures. One should understand that the primitive need inherent in the animalistic nature of man is existent in everyone.
Discovery of these primitive needs develop in different individual personalities as rational decision is overridden by the greater need for self-gratification that may portray unacceptable behavior offensive to a civilized society. As a learned behavior (Sutherland; 1964), crime is learned in association and during interaction with others even in ordinary communication. • When teenage individuals are exposed to the society, they should be equipped with the moral knowledge to identify deviant behavior and the different punishment associated with errant behavior.
• Peers and other close companions are often the source of information of deviant behavior as an individual strives hard to belong to a social group. • Peer pressure is also one factor that drives one to commit a criminal act. • Glorifying deviant and criminal behavior leads to the belief that crime is acceptable and temporarily rewarding. The home should be the initial venue for all moral teachings followed by the community. Communication should easily pass through between family members and each one should have the impression that moral actions are a deterrent to criminal behavior.
The general theory of crime makes three claims about self-control: that it is acquired in childhood, it is not simply a synonym for criminality, and can be defined independent of criminal behavior, and it is the major explanatory variable in crime (Longshore, 1998). People with low self control (Gottfredson and Hirschi: 48) exhibit an “impulsive, insensitive, physical, risk-taking, short-sighted, and non-verbal” which are compatible with the attributes of criminal behavior –that is, “short-lived, immediately gratifying, easy, simple, and exciting”.
Akers (1991:204) however observed that the assertion that low self-control causes low self control does not necessarily point out that low self-control is directly responsible for criminal behavior. The elements of opportunity can include ease of access to the target in the likelihood of being observed or caught, and the expected reward that comes with committing the crime according to Vold et al (1998:153). Therefore it is always the best course of action for teenagers to acquire knowledge in relation to errant behavior, the awareness of its relative punishment and how best to avoid them.
Goal: At the end of this activity, High School Students will be able to identify the different criminal behavior and its effects on the individual. They should be able establish and enumerate ways to avoid them and the define the different punitive measure established by law enforcement against criminals. Duration (1) 45 minute period each activity Activity “1” –sharing experiences in a written form Students will write about the best influential person in his/her life that they can openly share their ideas and experiences.
State the capacity of this person, whether he is a family member or a friend and how this person was able to gain the student’s trust and confidence. Enumerate other individuals who could aid them in their personal problems or who could offer a listening ear and if they are available or not. Share a past written experience when one was subjected to an incidence of a crime or a similar incident (whether being victimized or aided in a crime). State the consequences which can be freely expressed in a written form. Explain how the incident was resolved and if such resolution was justifiable.
Names of actual persons need not be mentioned. The teacher may call on a student to share the experience with other students if she is willing. Activity “2” –Group Discussion Students are grouped according to their adherence on crime and punishment. An open discussion within the group with similar ideas will discuss the best approach for crime prevention. The approaches should be segregated for crimes against properties and against persons. A point of discussion will focus on whether discipline and punishment in the form of incarceration and infliction of pain and even death in extreme crimes are acceptable or not.
Provide suggestions on ways to cope with crime incidence and punishment. Activity “3” -Role Play Students present different short role plays on the scope and intensity of crimes within their society and identify the efficient standards of the criminal justice systems. The role play must start with the individual experience of the crime perpetrator and what led him to his errant behavior. At the end of the role play the class will pause to discuss any measures undertaken or neglected that could have aided in correcting the deed.
Alternative approaches to reform and behavioral modification will also give rise to a discussion on a multi-disciplinary approach and theories to prevent the recurrence and incidence of criminal deviation before it has a chance to spread itself. Summary Gilligan (p. 104) said that education is the key to prevent or at least reduce the incidence of crimes by providing tools needed to acquire knowledge and skills, self-esteem and respect for others. Foucault’s principles endorse that the society “…cannot fail to produce delinquents (Foucalt, 1976: 266).
Although reform model promotes the efficient scientific principle of the “positive” school by expanding treatment to low risk offenders and attempts at separating the violent prisoners form the non-violent ones. Viable education and behavioral modification programs should be made available to the population demographics who are likely to become perpetrators of the criminal act. Childhood is still the most important age group across the lifespan when it is easier to train and attain the advantages of a strong self-concept and practice internal controls, while improving chances for social bonding and social networks.
According to psychiatrists, (Akers, 201) they have seen a higher percentage of children brought in for consultation and treatment that predisposes this age group to low self-control as actively seen through behavior observed in school and at home. Though it may be highly unlikely for these kids to turn into criminals, but it is likely that such children will do something else indicative of low self-control. Works Cited Gilligan, James. (2003). Reflections from a Life Behind Bars: Build Colleges Not Prisons. Mc Graw Hill, 104-107. Foucault, Michel. (1975) Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison.
New York: Random House. Akers, Ronald L. (1991). Self-Control as a General Theory of Crime. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 7. (2), 201–11. Hirschi, Travis and Gottfredson, Michael(1993). Commentary: Testing the General Theory of Crime. Journal of Research on Crime and Delinquency. 30: 47–54. Longshore,Douglas. (1998). Self-Control and Criminal Opportunity: A Prospective Test of the General Theory of Crime. Social Problems 45(1):102–13. Vold, G. B. , Bernard, T. J. , & Snipes, J. B. (1998). Theoretical Criminology. New York: Oxford University Press.