Right Realist Theories of Crime and Deviance Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Right Realist Theories of Crime and Deviance Deck (10)
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Right realism sees crime, especially street crime, as a growing problem.

They believe other theories have failed to solve the problem of crime. They regard labelling and critical criminology as too sympathetic to the criminal and hostile to the police and courts



Right realists are mainly concerned with practical solutions to reduce crime. In their view, the best way to do so Is through control and punishment, rather than rehabilitating offenders or tackling causes such as poverty.


The causes of crime

Right realisms reject the idea that structural or economic factors such as poverty are the cause of crime; e.g. they point out that the old tend to be poor yet have a very low crime rate.
For right realists, crime is the product of three factors: 1) biological differences; 2) inadequate socialisation and the underclass; 3) rational choice



According to Wilson and Herrnstein, crime is caused by a combination of biological and social factors. Biological differences between individuals make some people innately predisposed to commit crime, due to personality traits such as aggressiveness, risk taking or low intelligence, which RRs see as biologically determined



Effective socialisation decreases the risk of offending by teaching self control and correct values. RRs see the nuclear family as the best agency of socialisation.



According to Murray, the nuclear family is being undermined by the welfare state, which is creating welfare dependency and encouraging the growth of an underclass who fail to socialise their children properly.
Generous welfare provision has led to the growth of benefit dependent lone parent families, since men no longer need to take responsibility for supporting their families.
Absent fathers mean that boys lack discipline and an appropriate role model, so they turn to delinquent role models in street gangs and gain status through crime rather than through supporting their families.



Clarke's rational choice theory assumes individuals are rational beings with free will. Deciding to commit crime is a choice based on a rational calculation of the consequences. If the rewards of crime appear to outweigh the costs, then people will be more likely to offend. RRs argue that the crime rate is high because the perceived costs are low, e.g. little risk of being caught and lenient punishments


Felson's routine activity theory argues that for a crime to occur, there must be...

- A motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a 'capable guardian'
Offenders act rationally, so the presence of a guardian is likely to deter them.


RRs believe it is pointless trying to tackle the underlying causes of crime (biological and socialisation differences) since these are hard to change. Instead, they focus on the control and punishment of offenders..

- Wilson and Kelling argue that we must keep neighbourhoods orderly to prevent crime taking hold. Any sign of deterioration , e.g. graffiti must be dealt with immediately
- They advocate a zero tolerance policy. The police should focus on controlling the streets so that law abiding citizens feel safe
- Crime prevention policies should reduce the rewards of crime and increase its costs, e.g. target hardening- more use of prison.


Criticisms of Right Realism

- It ignores structural causes of crime, e.g. poverty
- It is concerned almost solely with street crime, ignoring corporate crime, which is more costly and harmful to the public.
- It over emphasises control of disorderly neighbourhoods, ignoring underlying causes of neighbourhood decline.