Posted: October 17th, 2013
Criminology is the scientific study of defined patterns of criminal behavior, the nature of crime, its extent and causes. The study is of profound necessity as it provides recommendations on how to control the vice and prevent future occurrences. There is a general feeling that criminology has failed in its role of rightfully influencing social policy. Current research indicates an alarming un-relation between research on the deterrence of crime and the enactment of social policy. Policy makers employ enact policies that are not based on research in an attempt to curtail crime. The current trend in policymaking is the enactment of harsher punishments and rules that are more punitive as a means to deter crime. This is however opposed to the strong skepticism and criticism by criminologists on the trend (Abbring, and Heckman, 2008).
However, an ideal situation would entail a complete change of the social policies. Criminologists, based on criminology research, have forwarded recommendations on how the social policies. The recommendations involve a decrease on the overdependence of incarceration as the primary resort to criminal behavior. Research indicates there are other measures in crime alleviation that are more effective and less costly as opposed to imprisonment. These avenues include alternative programs such as community service and house arrest. Criminologists advocate for a change to the war on drugs with a policy aimed towards harm reduction. This new policy involves the collaboration of police officials with health officials to curtail illegal drug use. This method treats the vice as a public health problem as opposed to the current treatment as a criminal justice problem.
Another recommendation involves the treatment of criminal justice spending like other public expenses. This means a cut on expenses that do not provide results and invest on prevention programs that have proven to be effective. This shows a complete difference on ideal impacts of criminology on social policy. When criminology plays its ideal role in influencing the enactment of social policy, only then will there be a control of criminal practice and behavior. Research indicates countries that have adopted criminology into social policy have high crime deterrence rates (Gilboa, 2009).
Abbring, J. and Heckman, J. (2008). “Econometric Evaluation of Social Programs, Part III: Distributional Treatment Effects, Dynamic Treatment Effects, Dynamic Discrete Choice, and General Equilibrium Policy Evaluation”. Handbook of Econometrics. Amsterdam: North Holland. J. Heckman and E. Leamer.
Gilboa, I. (2009). Theory of Decision under Uncertainty, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
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