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.

Within a democratic society, rehabilitation is the core purpose which drives every prison sentence and judicial ruling. Regardless of the offense committed, an individual confined to a prison term is required to receive assistance and help in reforming their behavioral trends, as well as serving a debt towards the society they have harmed. This may be professional help to assist in resolving psychological issues, or more standard assistance provided by educational and social programs of learning.

However, there are are cases which seem to stand as exceptions to this rule, where the perpetrators have been detained with little hope for parole. In these instances, prisoners have often been serving life sentences and become completely institutionalized and accustomed to a specific regime, and yet hold little hope with regards to their release and subsequent freedom. A pertinent question that this raises is whether the justice system has simply failed to reform these individuals, or whether they have done enough in an attempt to rehabilitate their behavior?

High Profile Cases of Long Term Incarceration

While all types of crime are diverse in their nature and cause, some are complicated further by their execution and respective victims. As an example, in September of 2010, Mark Chapman was denied parole for a 6th time during his sentence for the murder of John Lennon in New York in 1980. It was undoubtedly a premeditated murder that reverberated around the world, and one which generated a huge amount of public reaction and scorn directed towards the perpetrator.

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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