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Can Social Intervention Really Reduce And Prevent Crime Or Are Tougher Prison Sentences The Best Strategy?

994 words - 4 pages

Anxiety about crime is not a newly found phenomenon. The academic analyses of crime firstly began in the nineteenth century through some biological and psychological explanations. It was then shifted into a more sociological approach in the 1950’s (Bilton, Bonnet & Jones, 2002:384). The existence of the criminal justice system as an instrument to prevent crime has also been developed for many years. However, later findings likely show that crime prevention needs to be put to practice not only within, but also outside the criminal justice system. It is commonly known as social intervention (Gilling, 1996:11). This essay will show that social intervention seems to be the best strategy to reduce and prevent crime. This essay will also discuss some major causal factors of crime, the social intervention and criminal justice system strategic approach to crime control, and how each strategy fulfils the main goals of crime reduction and prevention.

Bilton, Bonnet & Jones (2002:386) point out that according to the delinquent subculture theories, external social influences may have significant impacts on human behaviours. Graham (1998:7) identifies some of those external social influences as the ‘risk’ or ‘causal’ factors of crime. They include: poverty, poor parenting, poor education level, generational crime, and constant interaction with delinquent associations. Apparently, the way social structures are organized might be considered crucial in determining whether a society will have the tendency of committing criminal actions or not. As social problems are more likely the cause of most crimes, social intervention would seem to be an appropriate way of preventing it.

The basic purpose of social intervention is to try keeping the social circumstances in a good order. Thus, they might become conducive (enough) to restraining the possible growth of criminality in potential offenders. Social intervention initiatives could be put to practice through the mediums of family and education (Graham, 1998:8). Family-based intervention plays an important part in crime prevention. It is because families are likely to be the primary source of basic norms of life. Those norms will then develop and finally be part of individuals’ personal behaviours. The parents’ role is to make sure that the children are brought up in a non-criminal environment, verbally and physically. This initiative is also supported by the second initiative that is through education, which is mostly delivered at schools or other educational institutions. An example of success for these types of initiative is the High/Scope Perry Pre-School Programme (Graham, 1998:9) in the early 1960s. The programme involved 58 black children from low socio-economic families. They were provided with a two year high quality pre-school education programme (education initiative), whilst their mothers got home visits (family initiative). The statistics then demonstrate that the number of people arrested at the age of...


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