Culture and socialisation and crime

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Wilson and Hernstein

Wilson and Hernstein argue that the way young men are socialised in the family, school and wider community has an important effect on their behaviour.

Consistent discipline inside and outside the home encourages individuals to learn and follow society’s norms and values and develop self control.

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Wilson and Hernstein see the growth of a culture which emphasises immediate gratification- the immediate satisfaction of wants and desire- low impulse control- less control over desires and emotions, fewer restraints and checks on behaviour- and self-expression- the outward expression of feelings.

These aspects of culture have produced a less effective learning environment for many young men and reduced the restraints on their behaviour. As a result, they are less likely to conform to society’s norms and values and are more likely to commit crime

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Costs and benefits

Wilson and Hernstein argue that the crime rate will change with changes in the costs and benefits of crime, particularly property crime.

The more the benefits rise- for example, the more successful criminals are- and the more the costs fall- for example, the less likely they are to be caught- the more the crime rate will rise.

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