Sania Essay

308 WordsDec 1, 20132 Pages
THE average citizen hardly needs to be persuaded that crimes will be committed more frequently if, other things being equal, crime becomes more profitable than other ways of spending one's time. Accordingly, the average citizen thinks it obvious that one major reason why crime has increased is that people have discovered they can get away with it. By the same token, a good way to reduce crime is to make its consequences to the would-be -----offender more costly (by making penalties swifter, more certain, or more severe), or to make alternatives to crime more attractive (by increasing the availability and pay of legitimate jobs), or both. These citizens may be surprised to learn that social scientists who study crime are deeply divided over the correctness of such views. While some scholars, especially economists, believe that the decision to become a criminal can be explained in much the same way as we explain the decision to become a carpenter or to buy a car, other scholars, especially sociologists, contend that the popular view is wrong--crime rates do not go up because would-be criminals have little fear of arrest, and will not come down just because society decides to get tough on criminals. A society less attuned to youth may find it can more easily re-assert traditional values and may be more influenced by the otherwise marginal effects of improvements in the efficiency of the criminal-justice system and the operation of the labor market. Natural and powerful demographic forces, rather than the deliberate re-establishment of an older culture, may increase the values of those few policy tools with which a free society can protect itself. In the meantime, justice requires that we use those tools, because penalizing wrong conduct and rewarding good conduct are right policies in themselves, whatever effect they may

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