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Right Realism Essay

1507 words - 7 pages

Right Realism

Right realism advocates ‘small’ government and considers the phenomenon of crime from the perspective of political conservatism. Right realism assumes it takes a more realistic view of the causes of crime and deviance. Right realists believe crime and deviance are a real social problem that requires practical solutions. It is said that right realism perpetuates moral panics as a means of swaying the public to agree with their views. For example, the media claims that elderly people are scared to be attacked when venturing out, when in actuality crimes against OAP’s are minimal. (0.3 against men 75+ and 0.2 against women aged the same).

Right realists believe that ...view middle of the document...

Some argue that this is because society is more liberated, while Marxists argue it is the result of the working class being more enslaved.

In 1990, Murray wrote about how the growing social underclass fuels criminal activity. They are poorly controlled as they lack male role models and authoritative figures in their lives. They live in a culture of dependency that exists due to over generous welfare state. A dependence on benefits has eroded a work ethic.

Research by Wilson (1975) claimed that crime is linked to a breakdown in social order in some communities. Disorder in certain neighbourhoods has bred more crime and deviance as sense of community civility is lost and informal social control along with it. Wilson believes that architecture affects the way people in a particular area behave. If they are an underclass and permanently surrounded by damaged and run-down buildings, they see it as an excuse to commit crime because the property is already damaged. This underclass also develops the belief that they are by themselves as no one in authority cares about them.

Research by Cornish and Clarke in 1986 found that crime is linked to the situations in which deviants find themselves. Individuals engage in crime when opportunities present themselves and where there seems to be little risk involved. Usually, there is a lack of social control when such situations present themselves. This may explain why so many participated in the August 2011 riots in certain English cities. Cornish and Clarke believe that crime is seen as ‘attractive’ by some mostly because of a “lenient” criminal justice system which offers “soft” social control. The belief that community sentences are not ‘proper’ sentences for those caught committing criminal offences fuels others to do the same and for prior offenders to repeat what they have done before.

Cornish and Clarke believe that criminals make rational decisions when deciding when to commit a crime or not. They cite burglars as a classic example. Cornish and Clarke believe that the majority of burglars go through a very rational process that includes the following questions: which house offers the best target? Do the neighbours watch out for each other? How hard will it be to gain entrance? What sorts of goods are inside? How will I get out in a hurry? What chance of success do I have? Cornish and Clarke believe that some will be put into an opportunistic situation when they will have to make a snap decision. However, they believe that most criminals are rational and only decide on a course of action after going through a rational process.

Wilson and Herrnstein believe that it will take a real transformation of society to bring down crime rates. However, they do not think that such a transformation will lead to a decline in the freedoms expected by everyone in society. They put their faith in ‘three strikes and you’re out’ and a zero tolerance of all crimes.

Wilson and Herrnstein see family and...

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