Chapter 10



Our Captive Culture
and the Bio-Social Forces that Will Free Us

Bruce Stewart
Copyright ©2005 by John A. Stewart

Readers should read the Forward and Chapter 1 before this chapter.

Start End Table of Contents Bib Discuss

There has long been public concern about the level of violent crime.  The epitome was reached when children were found to be carrying guns to school and on occasion using them. The most recent survey (by the CDC l0/98) found that about 20% of teen-agers in the U.S. carried weapons with them. The answer to such problems is usually treated as a matter of opinion, but science is able to produce a more objective and independent interpretation, which transcends the usual conflicting opinions and can be tested against the facts.  More accurate understanding is the first step.  We now have the anomalous situation that although complaints and casual prescriptions are loud and varied and persistent, the fact is that things have not changed very much over the last few decades. This will be demonstrated and explained.

Violent crime represents mental bondage insofar as the victim is obviously trapped by circumstances and the perpetrators trapped by previous conditioning.  Most people are enthralled to ancient attitudes and beliefs--retribution, emotional and moral judgments.  These are not transformed just by ethical appeals or condemnation or even by reasoned arguments.  We are committed to seeking quick fixes, whereas changing minds and behavior requires human  time and money, neither of which we are yet ready and able to spend in the necessary amounts.

  Biological science interprets criminal behavior much as medical science interprets disease, identifying causes, along with whatever correction is possible.  Prevention is a high priority but headway has been slow on both counts.  The Nobel scientist Richard Feynman complained about this as follows:  "We have obviously made no progress, lots of theory but no progress in decreasing crime by the method that we use, yet these things are said to be scientific.”  Feynman of course is not opposed to theory as an essential part of science, but it involves more than mere debate. It leads to operational testing, then to the most success possible in changing behavior (or to its revision and replacement).

The 1993 report of the National Research Council, set up by the National Academy of Science to investigate the problem, acknowledged some advance in understanding criminal violence, but concluded "We are frustrated to realize that it is still impossible to link these fields of knowledge together in a manner which would provide a strong theoretical basis on which to build prevention and intervention programs.”  After about a century of study by criminologists, this must be an embarrassing admission.

Scientists cannot change mass social behavior, but they can test their theory by (1) explaining more consistently the events to which it relates, (2) making predictions as to the circumstances under which significant change would occur, (3) identifying what is probably the most fruitful course of action (without advocacy, or assuming that this will then be promptly implemented), (4) making no moral judgments about what ought to be done, but identifying the probable consequences of alternatives more successfully than in the past.

The public is concerned first with "doing something" about crime and spends little time with causes--for reasons to be seen, so we may start out with some common, confused and long-standing beliefs on this subject.  There is the usual divergence between the conceptions of liberals and conservatives.  The former believes that social reforms and therapeutic treatment will work, deprecating punishment, especially capital punishment.  The conservative deprecates social reform and therapeusis, believing that we just need to get tough increase punishment and "lock ‘em up".

Gary Wills, a liberal writing in THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS said the prison system is a failure on all the counts by which we attempt to justify it--revenge, deterrence, rehabilitation.  He sympathized with the prisoners, but offered no alternative, or prospects of implementing change.  Kilpatrick, a conservative, said we should have sympathy only for the victim.  The purpose of criminal law, he said, is to seek justice and punish offenders.  Rehabilitation "misses the point”.  The main idea is not to "turn the prisoner into a good citizen" but to incarcerate him.

Punishment, unless used properly does not change people at all, or for the better, and may be counterproductive.  Unless some change is made in offenders, Kilpatrick's advice leads to the possibility of keeping them locked up indefinitely; it ignores causal analysis and treatment.  Both of the foregoing reveal stereotyped thinking.  Moral sympathy and lack of alternatives are not very helpful.  Most criminologists hold little hope for rehabilitation of criminals, and seem to think it is a waste to try and cure (socially) sick people.  The reasons will be addressed later, nevertheless it is logical to continue research on the subject because some success has occurred.  Some prisoners would be beyond help and unsafe to release.  Then society faces the alternatives of keeping them incarcerated for life or eliminating them.

The second option, astonishingly, is called "capital punishment", a phrase in pure contradiction, because the word punishing, by the usual definition, means that the subject learns from the aversive experience.  Carrying out the death sentence isn't punishment at all.  It is elimination.  The prisoner isn't around any longer to learn anything; nevertheless the Supreme Court soberly heard arguments on the death penalty as "cruel and unusual punishment.”  Logically considered, if conviction was (practically) always accurate and the person beyond correction, and if people voted that the 30 thousand per year, per person was taking too much away from more fruitful uses, then elimination would be indicated. Warden and Protess detail a case where four innocent men were convicted of capital punishment (but saved by a persistent defender).  Such mistakes are rare. If the execution rate was too undependable, then life sentence without parole would be routine.

Punishment of humans to be effective must be prompt, dependable and appropriate.  Unfortunately the actual legal cases seldom conform to these requirements.  They are often long delayed, they often represent one extreme or the other and the perpetrators are actually apprehended and convicted at such a modest rate that the deterrent effect on others-- who might be contemplating crime--is not very great.

The psychiatrist Menninger concluded that the usual concept of punishment is harmful because it is based on emotions of vengeance, fear and even hate.  He approved the concept of penalties, which presumably avoids the above defects.  In his book THE CRIME 0F PUNISHMENT, Menninger concludes, "All the crimes committed by all jailed criminals do not equal in social damage that of the crimes committed against them.”  Carl T. Rowan, cited a paper on "Psychology and Crime Control" by Dr. Richard Schwartz, a Cleveland psychiatrist, who contended that rehabilitation doesn't work, that most prisoners can't get regular employment when they are released, an essential for becoming "good citizens"--a negative conclusion, leading nowhere.

It appears that psychiatrists can't agree on prisons, rehabilitation or what to do about crime.  One suspects that like other people their thoughts are more influenced by social attitudes instilled during early, formative years.  Menninger the liberal and Schwartz the traditionalist get themselves in the same predicament as seen with Wills and Kilpatrick.  We can be reasonably confident that the true social scientist will not write off the possibility of understanding and then controlling criminal activity more successfully, however deficient they may be at present.  The road ahead is long, but it will be traveled.

The subject of causation in crime may be unattractive to most people, but that is no measure of its importance, and its necessity in any analysis that can be considered even quasi-scientific.  Therefore this convoluted and unwelcome subject must now be addressed.

Etiology Start End ToC Bib Discuss

One might expect that authorities on criminology would have long ago focused on the main causes of crime, and there would be general agreement, but there continue to be differences not only as to the magnitude and combinations of these causes but even if it is of first importance to study them.  When the nation became alarmed about growing crime rates, a presidential commission was appointed to study the problem and make recommendations.  This brought disagreement to public attention.

Most of the social scientists on this commission took the position that crime was primarily the result of depressed living conditions--poverty, unemployment, discrimination, broken homes etc.  Other students objected, for example Wilson, who polled some criminologists and asked them to name the most important books on their subject.  Two ranked far ahead of all others: PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINOLOGY by Sutherland and Cressey and DELINQUENCY AND OPPORTUNITY by Cloward and Ohlin.  It was pointed out that neither of these treatises supported the depressed living conditions theory.  Sutherland agrees that crime is concentrated in the poor, urban areas, but "poverty as such is not an important cause of crime”.

Wilson contended that during the last several decades, living conditions had been rising steadily, but crime had not been going down significantly.  These facts seemed to present an insoluble difficulty to the environmentalists.  Wilson claims that "ultimate causes" of crime cannot be changed.  For example, most crimes are committed by young males, but we cannot do anything about their age or their sex.  We must concentrate on something we can rectify.  It is more fruitful to relate knowledge to operations.  Theorists sometimes do get lost in academic details nevertheless a sound theory in science precedes systematic and successful diagnosis and prescription.

  Any proposed treatment is based, consciously or unconsciously on some hypothesis as to cause.  It is true that we can do nothing about the age or sex of most lawbreakers, but we must assume there is a reason for their lawbreaking that can be discovered and changed to some degree.  This implies certain procedures especially appropriate for young males who possess the other attributes associated with criminality, promising to modify their behavior.  Criminal behavior is facilitated by many factors, and the particular constellation of these depends on the kind of crime and the nature of the person or group involved.  Poverty and other elements detailed by writers like Ramsey Clark must be included.  While poverty alone does not cause crime, it and the other depressed conditions do help to provide a "favorable" environment for its growth.

 It is no accident as Clark points out, that the areas on a map of some metropolis designating poverty, unemployment, sickness, poor schools, decrepit housing are the same areas where crime is at a maximum.  Any differences between the contentions of "classical" thinkers like Wilson and "liberals" like Clark on the causes of criminal behavior are not difficult to reconcile in terms of the present theory. Some forms of crime were going up simultaneously with the living standards of most people, but most people are not involved in crime.  For most of those who are, the young, male, blacks of the urban ghetto, and increasingly beyond, the living standard has not been rising, at least not significantly.  Blacks are the same percent of the poor in the 1990s as the 50s.  It does no good for Wilson to respond that these young American blacks are better off than most blacks in African nations, true is it may be.  The American blacks do not compare themselves to African blacks, or even those in non-colonial countries.  Being a part of American culture, they tend to compare themselves to its other members.

A warning is in order against thinking that the trouble is strictly an economic one.  In fact, Clark frankly admits, "You will not eliminate crime by eliminating poverty, ignorance, poor health and ugly environments.”  The self status of the lawbreaker is about as important as the low income, and in some cases it may be more so.  Money is only one way the self may be fulfilled but it is the American culture which has put such an unusual value on it.

Poverty contributes to crime, but some criminals had affluent backgrounds and many of the poor "overcome" their handicap.  Obviously criminals have defective values, mostly from past experience.  Biological factors, such as age, gender, I.Q. etc. do have some correlates with crime, but little can be done about them, and indeed Wilson and Herrnstein direct attention to more operative forces in their extended account.  Some criminologists think "thrill" (appeal of exciting new experiences) may play a role because people have a need for escape from boredom, and when they can't get it constructively, they may do so destructively.

Hirschi summarized three main kinds of theory:  (1) the strain theory holds that the offender is frustrated in satisfying legitimate desires and thus turns toward deviance, (2) the control or bond theory says a person who breaks with convention is freer to engage in deviant acts, (3) according to the culture deviance theory, the criminal conforms to a standard not accepted in the surrounding society.  There was also the hypothesis that the larger the rewards for noncrime (and the less for crime)--or presumably the greater penalties--the more improbable it becomes, which is difficult to challenge.

These theories are reasonable and there is no necessary disagreement among them.  It is the frustration that produces the strain; it also breaks the bonds.  As for theory #3, the question is: Why does the offender depart from social norms in the first place?  An obvious answer is defective socialization and consistently un-fulfilled drives.  When the rewards of noncrime are sufficiently fulfilling, as compared with deviance, the person has little motivation to break with normal behavior.  Causal factors outlined in the National Research Council report emphasized mostly learning, e.g., the cognitive behavioral theory which stressed the importance of "aggressive scripts" learned from the past.  The frustration-aggression theory holds that frustration may elicit violent responses.  Finally Gottfredson and Hirschi stress the importance of developing what they call "self control”.  Unfortunately this name is misleading because it ordinarily refers to what a person does for him/herself, whereas these authors refer to what has been done TO the person in earlier life, which ties in with learning and behavioristic processes.

In terms of the bio-social theory used here, crime can be conceived by the scientist, and is perceived by the criminal, as a mechanism for satisfying basic drives of the lawbreaker, which is injurious to others, and therefore at the expense of their fulfillment.  This is quite obvious with robbery, organized crime, mugging or rape.  In the case of murder, which is often a crime of passion, the murderer's frustrations are so intense that he finds satisfaction only in eliminating the relevant person.  Then the automatic mechanism of rage is often triggered, as described by Cannon.  Normal thinking and other cognitions are drowned in an emotional wave associated with the outburst of adrenaline.

The foregoing elements may be subsumed and augmented as follows:

The above interpretation is consistent with the subculture theory because crime in that environment is rewarding.  It is consistent with the social control theory because control is only the pattern of reinforcement to certain values and practices harmonious with the functional group.  When this reinforcement is weak or fails, and criminal behavior is perceived as succeeding, or even possibly succeeding, then it replaces normal, legal behavior.  Finally it is quite consistent with the goal frustration theory.  What a person has set up as a goal is worked toward because it represents fulfillment of basic processes.  To the degree severe and sustained failure is encountered, the individual is more likely to try another avenue for reaching that goal--an illegal one.

The Vital Factor Start End ToC Bib Discuss

Considered operationally, defective socialization is the main source of most criminal behavior. It begins early, but continues in later life.  Gottfredson and Hirschi stress the importance of the first eight years in preparation for constructive, noncriminal behavior.  This is when the authors claim the vital process of “self control” develops. They conclude, "The major cause of low self control thus appears to be ineffective child raising”--about equivalent to the general admission that defective upbringing and neglect in the home is the primary cause of crime.  The foregoing leads to the conclusion that the role of parent in controlling crime is strategic, but often neglected operationally.

Unfortunately the traditional (but vital) women's role has been one of cultural captivity, relegating them to a socially inferior position.  From the perspective of social evolution, the source of male superiority is obvious.  Superior strength, size, and speed, with which the males are endowed not only promoted survival but social pre-eminence.  But does that not imply that the role of the traditional role of the female (caring for the offspring or preparing food) was less important to survival?   Was its importance not recognized even in early humans?  Certainly it promoted the survival of the species, but early men did not think in those terms.  They thought only of immediate challenge, get the provender, fight off predators--human as well as animal--and they were the ones who did it.

As social evolution led to a different basis for success in life (what we are proud to call "civilization") the essential attributes changed, but the old roles and traditions changed much more slowly.  (Even in the modern family, strength could still prevail).  Before the advent of household technology, women were more severely handicapped in spending any substantial amount of time and energy outside the dwelling.  It is therefore not surprising that child rearing and home maintenance came to be regarded as "unskilled labor" and therefore of secondary importance in the social hierarchy.  This is especially the case in a culture whose chief values and aims are to make money.  Women in the homes usually made no money.  They were therefore in a sense “at the mercy" of men; they could be left without adequate means of subsistence.

The main female response was to fight for equality in social relations and opportunities.  The traditional society was not set up to encourage this, not only because of ancient values but the lack of alternative care for and socialization of the young...functions traditionally falling to a high degree on the mothers.  Without adequate provisions there are serious costs to the society that have been "coming due"--reduced care for and oversight of children, and their greater "freedom" to engage in destructive activities of many kinds.  Most women struggling upward will not be paid well enough (in consideration or money) to afford replacement care of adequate quality.

There is little attention to an alternative that would reduce the problem somewhat, simply to raise the status and reward of those women who choose (or are required) to devote their time and abilities to socializing the offspring and maintaining a productive least as long as necessary--facilitating their change to a career at a later time, if that is their intention.  In other words, getting motherhood out of the doldrums as cheap, unskilled labor.  If adequately performed it requires knowledge, hard work and preparation.  It would receive formal remuneration equal to that of the other associates.  It would be essential to develop more techniques for recognizing and augmenting the maternal function.

Many of the enthusiastic equalizers, however, seem to be unaware that they in effect have accepted the male view of female functions--as inferior and unworthy of elevation.  They have concentrated on trying to outdo the males at their traditional games, and abandoned their kin to a lowly state.  In a paternalistic culture, the male games seem more exciting and are made more rewarding in recognition and advancement.  None of the above is an objection to females engaging in the traditional male pursuits, but to the neglect of the function they have been required to perform.

What has been said to this point does not suggest that only women can function as the socializing parent and care- giver.  Males can do everything but produce children.  They can share equally in this process, i.e. joint preparation and responsibility for the young.  Indeed, they can give full attention to the homemaker role, releasing the female, as long as necessary, providing an agreement has been established in the beginning.  Even now a few more males are sharing the time spent in preparing the next generation, thus helping to elevate female functions.  The captivity at both ends of this spectrum will be reduced, to the benefit of all, however great the early resistance.

Parents often shortchange their children in time and attitudes and the necessary socialization, as a result of the pressure to get ahead and make more money (or just to make ends meet).  This is another segment of culture that is not revolutionized quickly by appeal and exhortation.  Episodes of homicides among schoolchildren in Arkansas and Colorado shocked the nation. The question as to causes arose repeatedly but seldom received any adequate answer.  Some reports idealized the home and parents of these students, but there could be no question that their values were defective--even pathological in some respects, and constructive socialization had been aborted by various factors during their previous years.  It would require a detailed study to provide the most dependable analysis of these forces.  There were other, less extreme, but similar cases during that period. Defective parenting cannot help but have been an important influence.  This has been recognized and discussed by some of the most eminent sociologists

In his presidential address to American sociologists, J. S. Coleman contended that the part played by the "primordial" family has been deteriorating, and will be replaced by other individuals--"actors" receiving "bounties" for performing this role--of properly socializing the young.  The term "bounty" has more of a negative implication than positive, and would seem to open the door to fraud.  It is probable there will be increasing use of trained personnel to assist in the preparation of offspring--for those who can afford it, but it is unlikely this can be a majority response.  It can be said that even now the lower half (at least) of our population is being squeezed economically.  The cheapest method of preparing the young is undoubtedly the family.  There would seem to be some increasing motivation to upgrade the family and make it more functional.

The Impact of the Media Start End ToC Bib Discuss

An important element aggravating any susceptibility to criminal behavior must be the failure of some parents to "get the children out of TV land" and into closer contact with the real world of causes and consequences, and empathy with their peers.  GLOBAL MEDIA cites a study showing that children's weekend programs remain saturated with violence, with more than 25 acts of violence per hour. Media have been playing an increasing role in child socialization, which is not entirely new.  Talk is easy but we must examine the real motivations at work and try to perceive under what circumstances they are most likely to change.  The role of parenting is probably more basic than the media, nevertheless the latter must be examined and clarified.

We shall restrict the analysis of media violence and crime to television, because they cannot all be examined, and TV has been in the forefront of the controversy. It can represent the issue most vividly and presumably it is typical.  The essentials of this problem were well presented twenty, or more years ago and are practically unchanged.  Many critics blame TV for encouraging criminality by portraying violence excessively.  The opposition to this charge, which consists largely and not surprisingly, of media executives, producers and writers, claim the public demands it, and condemns censorship of any kind as undemocratic and contrary to human rights.  While the debate rages on (and on) several conclusions are well nigh incontestable.

Gallup reported finding a majority of people in agreement that there is too much violence on display, but Neilsen and other rating systems record that the programs involving violence have high audience appeal, therefore are prominent on video.  This pattern has long been dominant.  R.L. Kirschner, a CBS vice president commented as follows:  "It’s a strange animal out there.  They talk out of both sides of their mouths, saying they don't want violence, but they're not buying the shows without it.”  Producer Rhodes concurred:  "No violence, no viewers.”  Another producer, Aaron Spelling extended the argument:  "People expect it.  It’s part of the fun of watching.  It’s something your average viewer can't experience.”  Spelling perceived a danger in present restrictions.  The producers were in high dudgeon over the charge that they were dominated only by the profit motive, but they watch ratings like eagles.  No morsel associated with a high Nielsen escapes them.  They know action is in big demand (for action, include violence).  That is the way to be successful in this culture (for success, include money). Producers promised to reduce violence and identify it properly in advance, in the l970s. That has a very familiar sound in the year 2000.

Of course it is not considered proper for the consumer to admit all this, so it will affect his responses to pollsters.  In terms of the bio-social theory this "action" satisfies a need for excitement in routinized lives of the people in our mass, impersonalized culture.  How much does it contribute to crime?  An exhaustive study of British youth by Belson, at the London School of Economics concluded:  "Stories that present violence in a very realistic fashion tend to produce more violence.”  TV Guide reported interviews with penitentiary inmates, asking them whether they watched programs of violence and crime, if so, why and with what result.  The responses were almost unanimous.  Not only was this type of show at the top of the convicts' hit parade, but they reported watching it to learn new techniques.  This is evaluation from experts.

It is indisputable that the overall effect of violence and crime in the media must be to encourage, not discourage it.  The degree of effect depends upon the individual.  Viewers reinforced with sound attitudes are less influenced by violence from the fantasy, or real world, depicted in the media.  Unfortunately the evidence seems to favor the conclusion that people are mentally drifting away from reality, as described by Bennis and Mitroff in THE UNREALITY INDUSTRY.

The Problem of Guns Start End ToC Bib Discuss

It is surprising and perhaps meaningful that none of the books on criminal violence referred to here made any mention of the National Rifle Association, as a proponent of complete gun freedom, and as a powerful lobbyist for that cause.  A report in the journal Science described how the Center for Disease Control was making studies of homicides by hand guns, interpreted as epidemiology.  It was found that gun attacks on friends were twelve times more likely to result in death than attacks by other weapons, and that women killed with guns were five times more likely to be either related or close friends than strangers.

Kellerman compared two cities, Seattle and Vancouver.  He found them to be about the same on burglary, robbery and assault, but Seattle was 500% higher than Vancouver on homicide with guns (which was related to the fact that guns were easier to get in Seattle).  The National Rifle Association pressured Congress to stop the studies by the Center for Disease Control.

The NRC panel raised the question of how the availability of guns is associated with robberies, home burglaries, assaults and homicides using guns, and responded:  "The discussion above has established that greater gun availability is associated with... more homicides using guns.”  The panel concluded that efforts to control the sale of guns won't have much effect, but it reported that one case, the 1977 District of Columbia Firearms Control Act (which “prohibited handgun ownership by virtually everyone except police officers, security guards and previous gun owners”) did result in reducing robberies, assaults and homicides by about one fourth.  The NRA objected to this study as “biased”.  The chief arguments of the NRA may be summarized and analyzed logically--a process largely foreign to individuals so perfectly illustrating a special interest, with an ax to grind--or rather guns to defend.

1.      "The constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, therefore all Americans are entitled to have guns, according to the highest law in the land.”  Answer:  This passage came at a time when the colonists had just taken up arms to discharge the British and win national freedom.  Its authors were not talking about Saturday night specials and assault weapons, to be used in conflict with other Americans.  They expected the law and the police to handle such differences.

2.      "Gun control legislation will not remove firearms from the criminals, who are the real threat.  They will get guns in any case.”  Answer:  Most homicides are not carried out by recognized criminals but by "ordinary" people under strong emotion and often on "the spur of the moment".  We have already noted that rigorous gun control does reduce homicides about one fourth. We would expect the NRA to argue that saving this many lives (at least) isn't worth the trouble.

3.      "Everyone must have access to a gun for self-protection".  As indicated, this is a job for a strengthened police and legal system.  Shoot-outs between criminals and citizens, gambling one's life over some money or goods are bad risks--to any thinking person.  If fewer of them can get the guns, fewer of them can shoot people

4.      "Guns don't kill, people do.”  The point is well taken, so far as the importance of destructive emotion in dangerous individuals is concerned, however concluding that concern about guns is therefore needless merely displays the customary rationalization.

5.      "Taking away hand guns and assault weapons will lead to taking away shotguns and sports rifles".  It hasn't done so, and no responsible legislator has proposed it.  Logic plays little part in restraining special interests, and the control of guns is subject to what the NRC called "a public sense of helplessness" and a feeling that "gun related violence is inevitable.

The gun control advocates keep asking: “Why do so many Americans fall for the NRA propaganda?  Why do they not discharge those representatives who let the guns run so freely?  What does it take in the way of gun violence to change their minds? Apparently killing the Kennedys, shooting at the Pope, shooting at Reagan--wounding him and Brady, plus the repeated school massacres were not sufficiently convincing. (It didn’t convince Reagan). Would shooting the Pope be enough? Local “militias” are of course encouraged by this popular response.  Perhaps they will eventually shoot enough people to “educate” the public.

Hysteria on Drugs and Crime Start End ToC Bib Discuss

Drugs are a significant cause of crime.  That is a sound, but quite exaggerated conclusion on the part of the public.  Individuals who are hooked will do almost anything to sustain their addiction, including murder on occasion.  This cause of crime generates an unusual degree of fear, which can merge into hysteria, as represented by the legislative response to marijuana.  The explanation for this extremism lies in over-generalization: "All drugs are equally dangerous and require the same response-- punishment to the full extent of the law.”  Therefore, it is argued, the congress must make new laws that will magnify this punishment. It did so enthusiastically, with politicians, of both parties competing to see who could be the toughest on crime.  We then had the 1986 Anti Drug Abuse Act, which established mandatory minimum sentences and also transferred the power of decision from the judges and gave it to prosecutors. They in turn, joined in the competition to see who would be the least "soft on crime".

The above response ignores the fact marijuana is relatively harmless and its use accounts for only the smallest fraction of crime statistics, represented by commitment to obtain it or committed under its use.  Schlosser described the extremities of this "Reefer Madness" in the Atlantic of April, 1997, where possessors of a few grams or a cigarette were given life sentences without parole, while the system set murderers free, sometimes after six years, perhaps to recidivize.  In 1980, there were about half as many inmates convicted of marijuana as for violent crime.  Most recently the ratio has become nearly reversed.  Schlosser points out: "In 1992 the average punishment for a violent offender in the U.S. was 43 months in prison.  The average punishment under federal law for a marijuana offender that same year was about 50 months in prison.”  The famous California law of "three strikes and you’re out" imprisoned twice as many people for marijuana offenses as for murder, rape and kidnapping combined.

As a result prisons all over the country are being overcrowded with minor violators and prison construction has become a growth industry... with no more objection to this "government enterprise" than there is to government spending 250 billion a year on the arms business.  Then the critical question arises: Does it work; does it reduce the use of marijuana, of addiction and crime?  The number of marijuana arrests has increased by 43% since 1992, nevertheless the rate of marijuana use continues to grow.  Supply matches demand.  Schlosser points out that in Indiana "the value of the marijuana crop now rivals that of corn, and in Alabama it rivals that of cotton, which is not to suggest that there is no problem and that constructive action is not needed.

The present legal and operational program is so contrary to both the evidence and logic that only the most dogmatic and committed will defend it.  A bio-social analysis predicts that the supporters will begin to back off and try another approach.  Indeed, that movement has already begun, thus turning attention from prediction to explanation.  In Pennsylvania, a state senator (Greenleaf) who started the rigid, mandatory sentencing law now concludes: "These laws just haven’t worked out as we planned.”  He is ready for change.  Arizona passed a proposition legalizing medicinal use of marijuana (over Clinton's objection) and Ohio now has a liberal marijuana law

A technically feasible and effective program would be to increase prevention by (a) strong drug education programs in the schools, not preaching, but displaying real suffering addicts, their personal and social costs and records; (b) better border checking and heavier penalties for importing drugs. Correction could be increased by (a) jailing drug users and “washing them out”, and for repeaters, increase the jail-and-treatment time. (b) fine the parents of young drug users each time the latter are apprehended—at an increasing rate. It might require modifying the laws to permit the above (properly supervised) but it would be less costly than addiction.  If the public resists, let them keep paying the price of uncontrolled use—-regularly calling these cases to their attention.  Nations like Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands have emphasized decriminalization and treatment as a health problem, therefore have the lowest rate of marijuana use in Europe.  As with other such problems, the costs of error eventually become high enough to "decondition" the established policy and practitioners.

Normative Criminologists Start End ToC Bib Discuss

Social scientists and other students  recognize a long list of factors which are contributory to crime and another list of potential preventives.  Hidden within their analyses is usually the assumption that the contributory factors can't be reduced or the preventive ones expanded unless our ethical and moral commitment is activated willfully.  On occasion, this assumption will be made explicitly--as in the report of the President’s Commission on Crime, which declared: "No system, however well staffed or organized, no level of material well being for all will rid a society of crime if there is not a widespread ethical motivation and a widespread belief that by and large the government and the social order deserve credence, respect and loyalty.”

The ethical motivation is assumed to lie behind whatever steps are taken, and also behind the respect and loyalty.  This thinking is found in the very beginnings of sociology.  For example Stanton Wheeler observes that "Durkheim's discussion of the universal elements in crime stress the feature of moral condemnation of the community.”  It is sufficient only to consider the negative consequences.  The difficulty with this view is not only the great diversity of moral sentiments in America and the world, but as societies grow large and people around us become faceless and unknown, Durkheim's condemnation almost disappears.  What a given culture considers moral differentiates and is clearly learned in that culture.

  Jean Piaget, an authority on the subject, defines moral as follows:  "All morality consists in a system of rules and the essence of morality is to be sought for in the respect which the individual acquires for these rules.”  But American street gangs and the criminal Mafia in Italy certainly have rules to which they adhere--or get shot). Many cultures have regularly upheld some values such as taking heads, slavery or cannibalism.  These destructive activities can only persevere in relative isolation where nothing "better" is known (i.e. more satisfying to most people's basic drives) and also where power concentration permits it to survive under those circumstances.  Wilson concludes, "One theory of science says we can never have knowledge, as opposed to mere opinion about morality.” On the other side, Nobel scientists such as Monod, Prigogine and Rabi conclude that these values can have an empirical, nonmoral base, which is testable and adaptable.

A similar manifestation of faulty semantics and normative attitudes is seen in Gottfredson and Hirschi's book where the term "self control" implies that willpower and commitment by the self can overcome more basic motivations.  In actual operation, this phrase covers the conditioning of the young during the first eight years--a time they (correctly) perceive as crucial.  The authors also fall back on "choice", and "conscience", for example, the actor "chooses between criminal and noncriminal acts.” They identify "immediate consequences, pleasurable or not, as the basis for choosing...other things being equal.”  Even if the external forces of conditioning are set aside, self control is also more accurtely conceived as a product of internal forces shaping our behavior--which is probably what Wilson had in mind as negating free will.

Wilson and Herrnstein contribute to the semantic confusion in these words:  "Free will is part of our idea of a proper system...even though we do not believe that behavior is literally and wholly “free' in any scientific sense.”  Then in what sense, and how can it not be inferior to science?  They also speak of “the moral justification" of punishment, but they only take punishment to be an aversive stimulus to diminish the likelihood that the offender will repeat this behavior.  The suspicion that Wilson is ambivalent and in conflict between two basically different conceptions of behavior is supported further by examining his later book entitled THE MORAL SENSE.  Here Wilson sets his aim: "To help recover confidence in virtue and morality.”  He comes quickly to a definition of moral sense:  "By moral sense I mean an intuitive or directly felt belief about how one ought to act when one is free to act voluntarily.”  This is a claim for subjective, and therefore untestable, beliefs and other personal preferences.  People "ought" to act in a particular way because they have a "binding obligation to do so.”  The source of this obligation –as well as its implied power- are not identified by Wilson.

Representing a supporting moralist interpretation, the psychiatrist Menninger stands up for sin, blame and guilt.  It leads him to this conclusion:  "The inescapable conclusion is that society secretly wants crime, needs crime and gains definite satisfactions from the present mishandling of it.  We condemn crime, we punish offenders for it, but we need it.  The crime and punishment ritual is part of our lives.  We need crimes to wonder at, to enjoy vicariously, to discuss and speculate about and to publicly deplore.  We need criminals to identify ourselves with, to secretly envy and to stoutly punish.  Criminals represent our alter egos, our ‘bad' selves--rejected and projected.  They do for us the forbidden, illegal things we wish to do, and like the scapegoats of old they bear the burden of our displaced guilt and punishment.”

  The stereotyped, psychoanalytic interpretations are unnecessary and superfluous.  It is simpler to assume that many people have built up resentments at mistreatment by the government or business, so when some ingenious robber is successful at victimizing them, we can identify with him and gain vicarious satisfaction.  Of course when we are the victim and when the costs of crime come home to us at a high enough level, our perceptions are altered.

Even if we go back into American history to Revolutionary times where crime was less of a problem (because of the frontier nature of society plus the closer personal relationships) and compare it with today, we have the following critical questions:  "What is moral condemnation in objective terms?"  Why did it work then?"  What equivalents produce the effect of beneficial constructive behavior now?  Perhaps a paradigm of normative thinking about crime can be found in a book by Evans and Moore entitled THE LAWBREAKERS.  It well represents the conservative view, blaming the liberals as being "influential members of society setting out to tear down the standards of morality, preach that there is no objective measure of right and wrong, that religion is mumbo jumbo and that deviant behavior should be looked on with toleration.”  Included in deviant behavior for them were departures from orthodox Christianity and capitalism, as well as murder and rape.  The authors had no real comprehension of science and wanted no "objective measure of right and wrong".  They wanted an orthodox, authoritarian measure.  The idea of science getting into the act horrified them and as they see it, this is the cause of all the troubles.

It is informative to return again to the cases of conservative vs. liberal.  Although they come to different conclusions, both of them appeal ultimately to volition.  Rejecting any root causes in the environment, Wilson declares: "Behavior derives ultimately from human volition.”  He concludes that people cease criminal behavior simply by their own will--helped along with some appropriate rewards and punishments.  Clark on the contrary, contends that defects in society and in the conduct of justice cause criminal behavior.  Making the necessary changes in these depends on our volition.  In Clark's words, "It is only a question of will.  How much do we care?"

Obviously the concept of will and volition does not help much to decide on causes, consequences, policies and procedures, at least in any objective fashion.  This is usually drawn in ex post facto to explain something we have done for other anthropocentric illusion that persists because of its pleasantness.  Improvement in living conditions and other anti-crime essentials, result from a variety of causes--chiefly the effects of technology and industrial growth, organized protest and the threat of interference with the system.  Even in those cases where reforms have been successful, their "will" blossomed and was able to be effective because of the favorable dynamics

People who "took the bit in their teeth" and decided to reform or refrain from crime did so for identifiable and testable causes, not because of any internal self generated spiritual power.  Reform through willpower often goes to absurd extremes.  A prime example could be found on the cover of Clark's book CRIME IN AMERICA in the form of the following blurb from Life Magazine:” A book that could stir people of conscience to demolish the courts, the prisons and the police networks and replace them with a system that is decent.”  This sounds like Life Magazine had Bakunin or some other anarchist on its writing staff.  The system is not going to be demolished and urging this is a waste of time.  It is an unpleasant fact, usually ignored, that there is a high degree of social acceptance of bank robbery, forging checks, gambling, prostitution, rackets, white collar crime etc.  Cohen in CRIME IN AMERICA describes some of this.  The Brinks robbers who successfully made off with millions in cash were regarded by the public as a kind of folk heroes.  The success of books and movies on Capone, Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and other criminals proves the existence of some kind of appeal--not, however like that described by Menninger.  It is the appeal of the basic need of excitement or new experience to routinized workers.

While these criminals are seldom shown as heroes, they are dramatized.  We can be sure that the consumer is not attracted primarily by an interest in scientific analysis and behavioral diagnosis.  He finds these careers exciting and full of action.  When the pollster asks people outright if they approve of admire such practices, the majority will give a negative answer, but this is the response considered to be proper" and they cannot publicly admit their fascination. 

Reducing Crime Start End ToC Bib Discuss

Proposals for reducing crime are usually perceived to involve improvements in police, courts, poverty, employment etc.  It is informative to start with comparisons to medicine.  Improvement in bodily functioning is somewhat homologous with replacement of destructive behavior, but of course there is an important difference.  In the latter case the treatment is of two kinds:  (1) Punishment--the use of strong negative stimuli to "decondition" the transgressors and motivate them in the direction of normality, and (2) the effort to rehabilitate the offender by retraining, cognitive psychology and positive reinforcement for improved behavior.

We have noted earlier the psychiatrist Menninger's reaction to punishment.  At the other extreme there is the New York University sociologist G. R. Newman who contended that punishment (for crime) must be of "dehumanizing" intensity.  In his words, "The criminal must recognize the error of his ways.  The only method of making the transition is through a long process of suffering.”  He set the minimum prison sentence at 15 years.  He also believed there should be a limit to the sentence.  Most important was the pain and suffering.  Whipping, electric shock and other forms of severe punishment were also approved.  Lesser stimuli would not be effective.

Although support for this extremity might be detected in our early chapters as being necessary for significant social changes, the two are by no means strictly comparable.  Newman's punishment reflects what is imposed on one individual by another. Bio-social motivation comes from social breakdowns and costs from mass behavior.  They are policies that were not planned or imposed. They were in effect "self generated".  Newman fails to recognize that punishment requires certain pre-conditions to make it work.  It must be prompt, certain and appropriate.  In our legal system, these requirements are seldom fulfilled.  The NRC panel concluded that prison punishment has "apparently very little effect on violent crime.  While average prison time tripled from 1975-1989 levels of serious crime varied around 2.9 million per year.”  Williams points out that punishment “is not an ineffective way of changing behavior” if certain (listed) requirements are fulfilled.  The recidivism rate does not have a close correlation with punishment because the requirements listed are seldom encountered.

Turning from treatment to rehabilitation, this corresponds with medicine and is logically based, but unfortunately not very practicable for economic and political reasons.  It will work for some people (which has been done in cases as reported from the Vienna Correctional Center) but not as a general practice because it is too consuming of time, human skills and money to receive public and legal support.

Progress on rehabilitation is reported by Gilligan, a psychiatrist whose study has concentrated on violence in prisons.  His procedures resulted in marked improvement.  Gilligan is first of all interested in getting a guidance theory that will work and avoid the errors and failure of traditional policies.  He uses medicine as a model for analyzing and correcting pathology, of personality as well as of the body.  Tradition has focused on blame and shame, which he says destroys the sense of self.  Those who resort to violence see themselves as imposing justice in the face of retributive punishment (a la Melville's Ahab).  This normative view of behavior is the cause not only of our failure to cure violence but to prevent it.  Gilligan refers to Menninger's views on crime, but only to the idea that our mistaken treatment of criminals damages society more than what the criminals do; no reference to Menninger's recommendation that we be guided by the idea of sin and evil.

Gilligan's concentration on prison populations, helpful as it may be, does not address the problem as part of the larger culture.  We cannot expect much change in the crime picture--violent or not--unless substantial changes occur in the culture itself.  The vital process of early socialization gets little attention in Gilligan's treatment... except as child abuse, and little attention to how changes in the home environment could or will come about (except for some horror stories).

Gilligan asserts" "It is possible to eliminate most of the violence that now plagues us if we really want to”.  "We are limited more by lack of will than by lack of knowledge.”  This traditional retreat raises the question of why we don't activate the will which Gilligan does not address to any extent, but science must do so, however difficult and painful it may be.  The book's conclusion:  “Violent behavior is an understandable response to an identifiable, specifiable set of conditions... it is the end product of a series of irrational, self destructive and unconscious motives that can be studied, identified and understood" (and changed).

In the medical mode, the subject of prevention arises, where it is logical for authorities to concentrate attention to stop illness in advance--with great savings in money and suffering.  Again, the economic/political difficulties intervene and are beyond feasible prevention because it means altering the social system that generates most crime--defects in the family, the economy, education etc.  These are seldom subject to planned intervention.  There may be unplanned “intervention” as in Japan where the social structure is sufficiently well knit to greatly reduce crime.  Parke points out that the homicide rate in New York is ten times that of Tokyo and New York's robbery rate is 200 times greater.  It is obvious that more effective socialization makes a pronounced difference.

When American criminologists talk about prevention, they are usually referring to a sufficient number of trained police and associated forms of readiness to avoid the occurrence of crime.  They may also refer to various educational efforts. It is perhaps worthy of comparison to point out that assuring sound food habits can avoid the ailment of malnutrition, which results in more serious illnesses. This is comparable to Hirschi's sound socialization which will prepare people to be unaffected by the appeals of criminal behavior.

Two Perceptive Analyses Start End ToC Bib Discuss

Two books by non-academic criminologists offer perceptive insights into crime in the U.S.  A.V. Bouza, chief of police in Minneapolis, presents an antithesis of the traditional police (and public) answer of "Just lock more of them up and get tougher". He points out that tripling the prison population did not stop the increase of murders in 1991 however the "stampede to toughness" continues.  Gallup on Dec. 4, 1993 found that three- quarters of the people said the courts, "were not harsh enough". Bouza concludes that prisons can contribute to deterrence, if accompanied by supporting measures correctly used, but just packing more inmates into them and building more prisons does not address the real problems and will not work.

The chief's book reflects wide personal experience, extensive reading and clear writing.  He is a severe critic of a system that permits, even causes criminals to develop.  Criminal behavior is primarily a product of being reared under social conditions that are defective in many ways, offering little hope for normal life, leading instead toward drugs and recidivism.  It is no accident, says Bouza, that a very high proportion of criminals are black.  As for the offenders themselves, Bouza's approach is often referred to as "tough love", appropriate, serious punishment, but along with it reward and encouragement for progress in attaining responsible behavior.

"Affluent Americans" he said "have fatuously dismissed the underclass as shiftless and unpromising" Corporations have been notable for their "general absence" in the war against crime, and Bouza concludes it is actually an internal war.  For example, the Viet Nam conflict cost about 4,000 American lives a year.  In 1991 over 24,000 were killed in our "internal war"--which we of course classify differently.  Bouza reports some productive programs of prevention and improvement such as the Job Corps--which Reagan "tried to eliminate--twice" presumably because it was action by the hated government.  His conclusion is that it will take cooperative action by all individuals and agencies if we hope to control crime.  Unfortunately Bouza retreats to the normative mode when he concludes that to conquer crime "we need moral regeneration", a workable program requires "courage to vote against bad legislation" and we lack the "political will" to deal realistically with episodes of violent crime.

Another book, which probes the crime question with great insight is CRIMINAL VIOLENCE, CRIMINAL JUSTICE by Silberman. It cuts through the misconceptions of both conservative and liberal schools of thought.  He gathers a great deal of very chilling evidence on how the system is failing--the prisons, the cities, the family, the law enforcement process.  Silberman told Time magazine that his original assumption ("The criminal justice system could make a huge difference") had to be abandoned.  He added:  "Actual operations bear little resemblance to the image that people, even criminal justice professionals, have of them.  Hence attempts to change the police, courts and prisons often backfire.”  Silberman concluded that "we know remarkably little" about the inter-relationships between the above factors”.

Sutherland is reported as saying "When the mores are adequate, laws are unnecessary; when the mores are inadequate the laws are ineffective".  For mores we may read socialization of the young in sound and workable beliefs and attitudes.  Sound mores and workable laws are complementary.

Silberman like Bouza found no support for the belief that "getting tough", giving longer and mandatory prison terms will work. He clearly perceived that the people who turn to criminal activity do so because the road of normal behavior seems unclear, or closed to them, offering no rewards.  It is therefore to be expected that the young blacks will commit a disproportionate share of the crimes as a means of fulfilling needs.  Another of Silberman's sound but rather painful conclusions relates to why blacks have this high crime rate, in comparison to hispanics who are equally poor and discriminated against. Hispanics in general have a stronger, more supportive family and religion to bear them up under adversity, however blacks suffered much longer from violence at the hands of whites.  " For most of their history, blacks were the victims, not the initiators of violence.”  Then in the middle of the 20th century, they turned on their persecutors.  "After 350 years of fearing the whites, black Americans have discovered that the fear was the other way.

Silberman points out that the more successful blacks could exert a leavening influence but unfortunately they have moved out, as a result of desegregation, so that as often happens, early degrees of progress may seem to worsen the problem...  Silberman's conclusion is that until these criminal elements are brought into society's mainstream, there can be no great change in the crime rate no matter how well the police and courts function, no matter how much liberal reforms may be pushed, the basic difficulty will remain.  Avenues for more success of constructive behavior must be provided, if troubles are to be reduced.  This requires more effective conditioning toward sound belief systems and behavior, all of which takes more money, time and human energy than we now seem to be prepared for.

Unfortunately Silberman's book lacks a comprehensive theory to which his deductions can be related and errors explained, predicted and increasingly avoided. Without it, his conclusions will tend to remain in the nature of opinions, which some will like and others not.  He makes little effort to explain why major changes have occurred or to predict when and why others will be made, even though he undoubtedly believes that such alterations will eventually be forced upon us.  A better understanding of science would have helped.

Conclusions Start End ToC Bib Discuss

The crime problem in America continues to gnaw at the public psyche.  Many causes have been recognized for this social pathology and the particular mix varies somewhat from one type of offense to another, and even among the individual offenders.  Reid in CRIME AND CRIMINOLOGY emphasizes the need for research on these, saying: "All of the research today is plagued with an increasing lack of public interest in what caused the behavior”.  People are more concerned with punishment and lockup.  It is much the same with rehabilitation and prevention.  These are high on the priority list for medical science (as well as for some criminologists) but not for the public. The first is seen as too expensive and the second as not manageable.

The call for research is unexceptionable, but mostly for what might be called micro-criminology.  There is also macro-criminology, which addresses large scale issues and procedures, being based on theory that is consistent with (explains and predicts) relevant facts of mass behavior, which is the function here.  It is not subject to experimentation and controls but is testable by correspondence with events.  We have reviewed a series of theories and interpretations in various books on the subject leading to some general conclusions about the present and future.

We can say in general that people engage in criminal behavior when they perceive it to be more fulfilling, to basic drives under their circumstances, than ordinary mechanisms.  We have recognized general attributes, but many cases require analysis of particulars, just as the physician must analyze the etiology for individual ailments.  A critical question is always: What creates the circumstances, in general or in particular?  Few behavioral scientists doubt that causes for most criminal behavior operate early in life, but changing people and values in their daily lives is difficult and occurs slowly.  It is little subject to systematic and conscious control by individuals, by the government or by any other agency.

If crime prevention was high enough on American priorities, i.e. those which are real and operational, what would be an indicated procedure most likely to produce results?  As noted earlier, Hirschi stresses the importance of the early years in setting the behavioral patterns and values, therefore it becomes a matter of promoting parental preparation to perform this function more successfully.  The common assumption is that anyone can produce children. No preparation is needed, or even the ability to care for them in a way that leads to constructive rather than criminal behavior.  The very suggestion that prospective parents be made more aware of the requirements will raise cries of government interference in private lives.  It is only necessary to point out that when abandoned children are assigned to foster parents, the court, and social workers, are expected to, and usually do, carefully check into the appropriateness of the proposed parents (and children).  They may even do some preparatory education.  The same may be done for adoptions, so there is nothing new in authorities attempting to insure that the job is properly performed.  Applying this to regular parenting, there would be some education in which the realities and requirements would be presented in a down-to-earth, perhaps even dramatic way...the benefits of success and the costs of failure. An example would be the experiment where teen age girls were bound to a baby-like doll and required to minister constantly to its needs.

This is not likely to be done, even though it would be indicated procedure according to bio-social theory.  At least there is little prospect of it unless circumstances change considerably.  Such a program would only decrease the probability of failure and criminality in the next generation.  As for the failing parents, the parties would confer and lay out the costs of continuation, for both parents and offspring.  These costs would be described graphically and on a graduated scale, with options for treatment and rehabilitation, if the community was ready to subsidize it, which few are at present.

As Feynman said at the outset, there is a very limited  improvement on the crime problem in spite of hundreds of books on the subject.  The reasons are because (1) the necessary changes are large scale, and (2) they are costly and unwelcome. We are subject to illusions about treating crime and criminals, in particular believing that incarceration is the most effective response--which has recently led to a spate of prison-building during the next couple of decades.  An AP report of Oregon's plans by the State Corrections Department was headlined as being "A Growth Industry". There were no complaints about government spending by the conservatives. More to the point of this analysis is the subjection to a life style that diverts necessary attention from socialization of the young by (1) enlarging an underclass and (2) short sighted concern for monetaraism and entertainment often found in the higher class.

Students of criminology tend to focus on a "favorite" cause and prescription, and spend more time considering differences rather than commonalities.  As we have seen, many of these apparently conflicting proposals can be reconciled and harmonized.  The shortage we face is not in more sophisticated data and theories.  We know enough now to bring crime down dramatically.  The obstruction is that we don't want to go to the trouble and expense of making these changes, nor are we able to make changes of this magnitude with sufficient ease.  It means revising cherished beliefs and practices in which we have a vested interest.

The sociologist Barnes wrote long ago, "The answer is easy in theory but the possibility of introducing a rational system for treating criminals is highly remote.”  Even if the experts formed a more united front on policy and the necessary programs, it is unlikely that the public would accede to their prescriptions because it would probably say, "The cure is worse than the disease.”  If that is the case, then the disease will intensify until their perceptions are changed. We cling to incarceration and retribution because this makes fewer demands on us. Far sightedness doesn’t come easily.  In conclusion, some forecast of future developments must be offered.

Prognosis Start End ToC Bib Discuss

There is no anticipation of early and signal changes in the crime scene. McLennan predicts "In the long run undoubtedly only broad social policies can have a great impact on the extent of crime in this country”, but what kind of policies?  Will they be implemented, and how?  It is easy to compose a list of constructive things to be done if much progress will be made, including Wilson's constructive proposals,

In prisons we can and will segregate first offenders; we can and will have increased gun control (which when employed in Philadelphia made a marked reduction in murder and robbery); we can and will institute several kinds of preventive and educational programs for juveniles; we can and will better help released prisoners get ready for employment and a "new start"--in some cases therapy to help them cope more effectively, If they elect these opportunities.  We can reduce poverty, racism and similar handicaps, but probably at about the same rate as over the last several decades.

The prospects for crime reduction, as seen by Bennet (in CRIMEWARS) are quite optimistic, e.g., police become more effective, courts less crowded, street crime down markedly, adding the prediction that "We will inherit the best of both traditions"--the conservative morality and the liberal freedom.  The prospects mentioned will require (the usually resisted) increase in investment, at least as much as we are now spending on alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

As for the future of families and child socialization, Hirschi says one might logically deduce that deterioration of the family will result in more defective children, resulting in further family deterioration and therefore more criminal activity in the next generation--a process of circular causation.  However Hirschi predicts this is unnecessarily gloomy, for one reason, because the Gluecks' study showed that significant recovery proceeded even in their "failed" cases, so some learning does occur.

Since factors causing crime range well beyond those usually dealt with by the criminal justice system, it cannot be significantly reduced without addressing these causes.  From the economic aspect, women (and men) must concentrate on increasing their incomes, which might help reduce poverty, but often deprives the young of vitally needed attention.  It suggests less control, and when coupled with the threatening impersonality of mass society, seems to favor deviant subcultures.

It introduces the growing need for other agencies to supplement or replace the family function as described by Coleman.  Best known among these alternatives is the Kibbutz, however in its special issue on the family, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences characterized as a "major error" the belief that "the family is a weak organism, constantly under attack, largely inert and incapable of warding off powerful bullies, whether world- shaking events or more parochial forces.” “Bullies” is of course pejorative.  The family statistics have been against the Academy. Hopefully they will change, along with the necessarily underlying causes.

Pursuing the economic problem, the question is raised as to whether recession increases crime.  Steven Box reviewed the research and concluded that there is a weak positive correlation between recession and crime, but a much higher correlation between income and crime.  This implies some basis for forecasting future developments, although not for major changes. When we enlarge our perspective internationally, the critical evidence is before us.  Some countries-- poorer than the U.S.--have much less crime, therefore the change is possible without great expenditures and will have to be made--although with considerable pain.  Business Week suggested the disturbing possibility that “Americans would rather live with crime than fight it.”  A more accurate prediction would probably be that people prefer to live with a certain level of crime than to pay for real success.  Operationally then we will have to discover what that level is, but expect no great changes until the requisites identified earlier have been approached.

A critic complained about the foregoing analysis because at one point it was stated that great monetary and personal investment would be required to really change the American criminal scene (equal to what was spent on alcohol/ drugs/ tobacco.)  Then later it was suggested that we could emulate less crime-ridden cultures without great expense.  Is that not contradictory?  The latter occurrence is possible in theory if we changed our values and practices fundamentally, but this would take a great deal of time and trouble, to which we would be very resistant.  We had earlier reviewed some less sweeping operational changes to be made, ones that would be helpful in reducing crime, but required large social expense.  Such would not in themselves entirely transform the basic values and practices but would be a significant contribution to crime reduction.



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Feynman, R.  SURELY YOU’RE JOKING, MR. FEYNMAN, Norton, l985, p. 340

Reiss, A. & Roth, J.(eds)  UNDERSTANDING AND PREVENTING VIOLENCE, National Academy Press, National Research Council, l993, p. 21

Wills, G.  “Do We Need Prisons?”  New York Review of Books, 5/9/75, p.13

Kilpatrick, J.  Column, April 7, l975

Warden, R. & Protess, D.  A PROMISE OF JUSTICE, Hyperion, l998, ( Rev. Lerner, P.  Wash. Mon. 9/98)

Menninger, K. THE CRIME OF PUNISHMENT, Viking, l968, p. 28

Rowan, C.  Column, April 7, l975

Sutherland, E. & Cressey, D.  PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINOLOGY, Lippincott, l955, p. 114

Wilson, J.  THINKING ABOUT CRIME, Basic Books, l975, p. 44,50

Clark, R.  CRIME IN AMERICA, Simon & Schuster, l970, p. 57 and 66

Hirschi, T.  THE CAUSES OF DELINQUENCY, Univ. Calif., l969, p. 3

National Research Council, Op. Cit.

Gottfredson, M.  & Hirschi, T. A GENERAL THEORY OF CRIME, Stanford, Univ., l990, p. l00 and p. 97

Coleman, J.  “The Rational Reconstruction of Society”, American Sociological Review, 2/1993, p. ll

Torgerson, E.  “Violence Takes a Beating”, TV Guide, 6/4/77

Editors   “Hollywood Fights Back”, TV Guide, 7/27/77

Muson, H.  “Teen Age Violence and the Telly”, Psychology Today, 3/78, p.50

Hendrick, G.  “How Criminals Learn from TV”, TV Guide, l/29/76

“Violence Epidemiologists Test the Hazards of Gun Ownership”, Science, Nov., 9, l992, p. 213

Reiss & Roth  Op. Cit. p. 22, 328

Newman, G.  JUST AND PAINFUL, l983, Macmillan, p. 139

Parke, L.  THE JAPANESE POLICE SYSTEM TODAY, Kodanshe, l984, p. l7

The President’s Commission  “The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society, Government Printing Office, l967, p. 6

Wheeler, S.  “Law and Contemporary Problems”, Duke University Law School, Vol. 25, No. 2

Piaget, J.  THE MORAL JUDGMENT OF THE CHILD, Macmillan, l932, p. l3

Gottfredson, M. & Hirschi, T.  Op. Cit., p. 12

Wilson, J. & Herrnstein,  CRIME AND HUMAN NATURE, Simon & Schuster, l985, p. 48, 507

Wilson, J.  THE MORAL SENSE, Free Press, l993, p. xii

Menninger, K.  Op. Cit.  p. l53

Evans, M. & Moore, M.  THE LAWBREAKERS, Arlington, l968;, p. 79

Clark, R.  Op. Cit.  (T. Wicker in Preface says Clark “is always reminding us of this.”

Cohen, B.  CRIME IN AMERICA, Peacock, l970

Gilligan, J.  VIOLENCE, Putnam, l996, p. 27, l02

Bouza, A.  HOW TO STOP CRIME, Plenum, l993, p. 388o, 414, 392, l0

Silberman, C.  CRIMINAL VIOLENCE, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, random, l978, p.l l223, l73

Gallup, G.  “Trend in Crime”, Poll, l24/93; also l2/16/93

Reid, S.  CRIME AND CRIMINOLOGY, Holt, l99l, p. 206

“Prisons Called Growth Industry”, A.P. News, Salem Oregon, 3/29/96

Barnes, H.  THE STORY OF PUNISHMENT, Patterson Smith, l972, p. 266

McLennan, B.  CRIME IN URBAN SOCIETY, Cambridge Univ. p. l44

Bennet, G.  CRIME WARPS, Anchor Press, l987, p. 365

Hirschi, T.  “The Family” in CRIME, (eds) Wilson, J. & Petersilia, J. 

Editors   Preface to Issue: THE FAMILY, Daedalus, Spring, l977, p. v

Box, S.  RECESSION, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Barnes and Noble, l987, p. 96

Editors   Business Week, December l3, l993, p. 128

Methvin, E.  Washington Post NWE, 5/11/96

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