Crm2500 – Criminology in late modernity
Priyesh Bhangoo – M00627199
Discuss one example of crime prevention or control inspired by right realist ideas, and one inspired by left realist ideas. Compare them, considering their strengths and weaknesses.
This essay will focus on the comparison between the strengths and weaknesses of both Right Realist and Left Realists ideas in regards to the control and prevention of crime. Realist Criminology emerged in the early 1980’s, in response to a decline in popularity for Marxist and Interactionist theories, and differed from the two as it took on a more pragmatic approach to crime reduction by working within the constraints of the social system. Rather than occupying themselves with the deeper and structural causes of crime such as poverty, Realist criminology created a newer approach that focused mainly on developing practical solutions in response to crime by working with the government, due to a fear of crime that had become more widespread within the public and was therefore taken into consideration more effectively. Between the 1970’s and 80’s, neoliberal governments were coming to power within both the UK and USA through ‘Thatcherism’ and ‘Reaganomics’. These types of governments had favored policies that had consumed less taxation which were intended to spur growth, however, due to the emergence of realist criminology the preservation of crime control and prevention became much stricter as there was an increased use of police, in addition to tougher approaches towards offenders to keep crime rates at an acceptable standard.
Realist Criminology can be split into two types – Left and Right. Although they share an understanding for a stricter approach to offenders and take more of a focus on the practical solutions to crime, they also have noteworthy differences in terms of the reduction and prevention of crime, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Right Realists believe that an individual who commits a crime is solely responsible for his/her actions, and therefore reject the Marxist idea that poverty, or other structural causes of crime such as capitalism, has barely any part to play of an individual’s actions and ultimately argue that a harsher approach on criminals would serve well to reduce crime. Right Realism is known to be associated with Margaret Thatcher whilst being strongly influenced by the political stance known as ‘Thatcherism’, and a right-winged neoliberal government which had come into power in the late 70’s. Right Realism accepts the correlation between low levels of ‘Social Control’ and high levels of ‘Social Disorder’ which can be linked with a rise in crime rates, however, the cause of crime is explained with both the ‘Rational Choice Theory’, the idea that crime is ultimately based upon individual choice in which individuals have chosen to commit a crime, and the Broken Windows Theory, which simply views signs of disorder and lack of concern for other individuals as...