The US is currently at the mercy of harsh and strained economic conditions, and its middle and lower classes are exposed like at no other time in their recent history. This period of fiscal tumult is also proving a catalyst for alternative social issues, such as benefits protests from public sector workers and a steady rise in national hate groups within the countries boundaries. One of the most significant issues within the contemporary USA is increasing poverty, especially in the face of steadily climbing food and fuel prices, which is threatening to create a significant divide between the north and south of the nation.

The Basics of a Strained Economy

The fiscal circumstances of the current US are of course a reflection of the recent recession and subsequent painstaking recovery. The main issue with a recession of this nature is its presence as a vicious and divisive cycle, that often sees unemployment rise and citizens unable to contribute to an economy. As a consequence, governments are coerced into reducing spending and inflating taxes and prices, creating a situation where basics such as food and drink are more expensive and increasingly out of the reach of struggling citizens.

When discussing the issue of crime, many individuals have their perception influenced by the process of supposition. This means that their opinions are based and conceived upon an assumed understanding, and often not entirely relevant in terms of their factual content. The ultimate consequence of this is that sections of society are misjudged by association, and criminal conduct is subsequently attributed to limited perpetrators and groups.

As an example of this, it is a common understanding that poor or poverty stricken geographical areas are more likely to produce criminals and criminal behavior, and this at least has a foundation in fact and statistical relevance. However, this means that crime is often considered to be an affliction of financial hardship or poor standards of living, when it is in fact prevalent in alternative social circumstances through separate forms and actions.

The Triggers of Criminality

In order to understand this concept, it is crucial to determine the variable types of crime and the motives that trigger them. This is significant because certain types of criminal activity are relevant to specific demographics, and this in itself transcends the illusion that crime is only likely to be committed by certain individuals who are affected by poverty or a financially restricted upbringing. The truth is that particular aspects of criminal activity are more likely to occur in more affluent geographical areas.

As long as they have existed, correctional facilities have been discussed in terms of their exact purpose and levels of effectiveness. Such dialogue often concerns the actual purpose that a prison should serve, whether it is to punish a criminal for their conduct or to focus on rehabilitating them to ensure a successful return into society. In an ideal world, a correctional facility would meet both of these requirements, but the truth remains that it is exceptionally difficult to strike a harmonious balance between such diverse aspirations.

The secondary issue centers on how effective correctional facilities are in achieving either aim. As contemporary facilities have leant towards rehabilitation and modifying values and behaviour through learning, there has been criticism that this ethos actually creates an environment that is far too comfortable for inmates and convicted felons. Such an atmosphere does little to encourage a criminal to learn or change their conduct, nor does it act as any form of punishment for a particular crime that has been committed.

Crime and Punishment

Many correctional facilities across the world are designed with different concepts and ideologies in mind. In Eastern European and Asian cultures, such facilities are feared and renowned for appalling conditions and brutality, whereas western prisons are far more developed and built to suit rehabilitation and personal improvement. Each has their own sets of supporters and critics, but it is the western and US correctional facilities that are considered the most effective in a civilized society.

Of all the supposed consequences and effects of poverty, crime is one of the most discussed. It is a common perception that people who live beneath the poverty threshold and who are victims of economic hardship are more likely to commit crime, whether for financial game or otherwise. Although various US census statistics would corroborate this to some degree, it is still pertinent to investigate other factors in criminal behaviour such as the types of crime committed and how poverty influences an individual’s personal morality.

What research has shown is that high rates of crime are more prevalent in low income areas of the US, and therefore that states that are subject to the highest rates also populate beneath the poverty threshold. Crime, however, is a broad and diverse subject matter, and understanding the types of crime most common in these areas is crucial to establishing the role that poverty plays in delinquent and illegal conduct.

The Levels of Crime in Deprived Areas

It is important to remember that the US federal definition of poverty differs to its public perception. An individual or family who are beneath the poverty threshold are not necessarily struggling to exist, but are more likely to have their residual income stretched across daily and monthly expenditure. Therefore, someone who is technically living in poverty in the US may actually live a comfortable life, only without many of the contemporary luxuries and features in higher income households.

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