1. The broken windows theory says that physical deterioration and an increase in unrepaired buildings lead to increased concerns for personal safety among residents living in such areas and may contribute to heightened crime rates. If this is true, how do run-down conditions in a neighborhood translate into criminal activity? Are such conditions the cause of crime? Explain.
2. What is strain theory?
3. How does labeling help create criminals?
4. According to Hirschi’s social bond theory, four elements of a social bond work together to promote law-abiding behavior and prevent involvement in crime and delinquency: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. How can youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and 4-H Clubs (or similar groups) work to strengthen these four elements of the social bond and encourage members to engage in normative behaviors.
5. Marx defined the bourgeoisie as wealthy capitalists who owned the factories of his day. The proletariat were the workers. It was the struggle between these two classes of people that led to social change and, others would later say, to crime. Is the concept of social class still relevant to criminology today? Does the Marxist perspective hold any significance for contemporary American society? Why or why not?
6. Peacemaking criminology aims to end human suffering as a way of stopping crime. It’s an idealistic theory, but can it work? If you were the victim of a crime, would you be more interested in revenge or in peacemaking?
7. What would happen if the socially disenfranchised made the laws? What kinds of laws would we have? Would we have a better society? Why or why not?
8. Is our society in general, and the criminal justice system specifically, operated under a social conflict
perspective or a consensus perspective? Explain your answer.
9. Restorative justice promotes healing and repairing the harm that was done through the criminal act.
Restorative justice seeks negotiation and cooperation rather than the adversarial approach of retribution. Do you think that many victims of crime would welcome a restorative approach? Or are crime victims seeking vengeance and retribution?
10. Sykes and Matzaʹs techniques of neutralization theory are usually applied to delinquent behavior. However, one could see the application of the theory to adult criminality. Give examples of how adults would justify or neutralize their criminal behavior.
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