Crime Prevention and Control

Situational Crime Prevention

Right Realism - Clarke (1992)

'premptive approach that relies on, not improving society or its institutions, but simply on reudcing opportunities of crime'

  • works on the basis of rational choice theory
  • directed at specific crims and involves managing the immediate environment of said crime
  • this method increases the effort and risk involved in commiting crime and reduces rewards
  • offersa real solution for opportunistic crime


  • SCP does not reduce crime it displaces it
  • criminals just move to areas of softer crime targetting
  • this can be spatial (moving elsewhere to commit crime)  temporal (comming it at a different time) target (choosing a different victim) tactical (using a different method) or functional (commiting a different type of crime)
  • Chaiken et al (1974) New York subway displaced crime onto the above streets
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Situational Crime Prevention Evaluation

  • it works to some extent in reducing certain crimes, however, with most measures it just causes displacement
  • focueses heavily on opportunistic petty crime, ignoring white collar, corporate and state crime
  • assumes criminals make rational choices, this is unlikely in violent, drug and alcohol fuelled crimes
  • ignores the root cause of crime such as poverty of poor socialisation
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Environmental Crime Prevention

Zero Tolerance - Kelling and Wilson

  • based on broken window theory
  • absence of both formal and informal social control causes crime
  • police are only concerned with seirous crime even they petty nuicances lead to heavy crime
  • without remedial action, the situation deteriorates
  • ZT introduced = 50% drop in homicide, not clear due to increase in officers, general decline in crime, many new jobs
  • influential in labour policies

Social and Community Crime

  • places emphasis on potential offenders
  • removes conditions to produce criminals
  • long term strategy
  • requires general social reform
  • Perry pre school project - intellectual development porogramme, for every dollar spent, $17 were saved, by 40 they had significantly fewer life time arrests
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detterence - punishment makes the individual discouraged from future offending, e.g. Thatchers short sharp shock regime

rehabilitation - reform/change offenders, e.g. providing education and training prisoners

incapacitation - removes the ability to reoffend e.g. chemical castration for sex offenders

retribution - paying back to society, taking an expressive view of punishment e.g. execution 

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Theoretical Views of Punishment

Functionalism - Durkheim (1893) 

  • punishment upholds social solidarity
  • it is primarily expressive, showing outrage at the offender

Retributive Justice 

  • producing collective conscience 
  • responding with vengeful passion to repress the wrongdoer
  • severe and cruel, motivation is purely expressive 

Restitutive Justice 

  • reparing the interdependence of society 
  • restores things to the way they were before
  • restores social equilibrium 
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Theoretical Views of Punishment


  • the function of punishment is to maintain the existing social order
  • repressive state apparatus 
  • the form of punishment used in each society reflects the economic base, each type of society having its own penal system
  • under capitalism, imprisonment is the main form of punishment as it allows expolitation of prisoners to work for free

Thompson (1977) 

18th century punishments were part of the aristocratic rule of terror and were based on the exploitation of the capitalist economy

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Foucault (1977) The Birth of Prison

Before the 19th century, inflicting punishment to the body asserted control and showed soverign power

After the 19th centurt, punishment aimed to govern the body, mind and soul through surveillance in disciplinary power


  • prison design where all prison cells can be seen from a central tower
  • prisoners have no idea when or if they are being watched
  • this forces good behaviour at all times, turning prisoners into self surveillant beings
  • this was put into mental asylums, workhouses and schools also 


  • the shift from corporal to imprisonment is less clear than Foucault suggests
  • this approach neglects the expressive aspects of punishment
  • exaggerates the sense of control experienced in prisons 
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Changing Roles of Prison

  • pre industrial Europe had a wide range of punishments e.g. banishment, corporal
  • until the 18th centry prisons were used mainly for holding prisoners awaiting sentencing
  • after the enlightenment, the prison became the punishment itself

Imprisonment Today 

  • liberal democracies do not have the death penalty, meaning prison is the most severe punishment
  • it is proved to not be an effective form of rehabilitation as 2/3 of offenders, reoffend
  • it is simply an expensive way of making bad people worse 


  • people are locked within a cycle of control
  • there is a simply a shift from carceral agencies at different stages in life
  • the boudaries between them become blurred e.g. care homes and juvenille offender units and prison
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