Crime Prevention: Theory, Policy And Practice by Daniel Gilling

By Daniel Gilling

This paintings summarizes and synthesizes the vast crime prevention literature to supply an approachable and complete textual content for college kids. It units out a serious research within the context of the politics of legal justice coverage.

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These limitations, however, have not prevented the employment of the theories to justify certain preventive approaches, and in this regard their scientific utility is considerably less important than their political utility. However, the perceived post-war rise in crime has damaged their political utility, and has rendered the recycling of traditional theories and criminal justice practices more problematic. There has been increased political and scientific dissatisfaction: “nothing works” refers as Theories of crime prevention I 31 much to the theory as it does to the practice, even if it is an exaggeration.

This detaches the subject from the wider social and environmental context, and in this way classicism was never interested in the causes of crime, beyond seeing it as a hedonistic choice. But this wider context affects the circumstances of the offender, and may endow them with an altogether different rationality, or a bounded one in so far as they may be constrained by virtue of such factors as age, education or mental health. We do not all think or act like the rational man of utilitarian thought, and therefore we are not all equally responsive to the deterrent messages of criminal laws and punishments.

Early positivist theories tended to agree that criminals were degenerate and deficient, but they disagreed over the nature of the cause. Thus, for example, Lombroso’s theory might have set a paradigm, but it was not itself very influential in practical terms, especially after in England Goring found that the “criminal stigmata” of the supposed born criminal were just as common among university students and the armed forces (Garland 1994). In England, then, there was considerable scientific scepticism regarding general theories of crime such as Lombroso’s, and official mistrust for preventive interventions or technologies which strayed too far from the neoclassical orthodoxy which dominated the period.

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