CCJS 461 7380 Psychology of Criminal Behavior
July 19, 2015
Homelessness, Poverty, and Incarceration: The Criminalization of Despair by Larry Covin is the first article that will be reviewed. This article reflects on the impact that homelessness and poverty, among other factors, can have on incarceration and likelihood of committing crime, the conditions that the poor face in prison, and how those in poverty are treated during the criminal justice process. This article reports on the injustices and treatment suffered by the homeless and poor in jail, the disparity between the sentencing of the poor and homeless and the more affluent and ways to address this disparity. The author witnessed the conditions of the homeless in prison first hand during his internship at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia. He later worked in the US Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, KS with inmates and with Maryland Division of Pretrial Detention and Services (DPDS) in Baltimore, Maryland. His 20 year career in corrections provided him with in-depth knowledge of the conditions and treatment of the homeless and poor in jail and the disparity between the convictions of the poor and the rich sentenced to jail time. The article also discusses why those in poverty commit crimes, are treated badly in prison and are likely to reoffend. They are unlikely to have the same opportunities as individuals are financially secure. They are also more likely to have unstable family environments and have not learned traditional values that others have been taught. Conditions in the prisons are intolerable for this group since they have no on their side and justice system is not on their side. Colin (2012) states “It is obvious that the poor do not commit more crimes than do the wealthy; however, they are more likely to encounter discriminatory practices throughout the adjudicatory process from beginning to end”(p. 443). There also seems to be a strong correlation between reoffending and poverty/homelessness reflected in the article. Colin (2012) states “people leaving incarceration tend to have low incomes, and, often due to their criminal history, lack the ability to obtain housing through the channels that are open to other low-income people” (p. 441). When these individuals are released, the article states that it is hard for them to find a job thus leading them to homelessness and increased opportunity to reoffend. The author of the article suggests various ways to decrease the disparities faced by the poor in the criminal justice system. Instead of sentencing these individuals to jail alternative sentencing options are suggested. This includes probation, community service, residential treatment, as well as other options that don’t include jail time for lesser offenses. Theories of justice are also referred to in the article. These theories utilize concepts by John Rawls which include ideas on how to “create an environment of opportunity and access by all to the most comprehensive range of prospects” (Colin, 2012, p. 444). This theory can lead to a society where individuals are given opportunities to succeed. In conclusion, this article supports the correlation between poverty and crime. Individuals who are forced to live in poverty may have the feeling that they have to do whatever is necessary to survive, and this includes commit crimes. There is also a propensity to reoffend for those in poverty since they have nothing to return home to when they are released my jail. Support Article
Crime and Poverty: A Search Theoretic Approach is an article that supports the theory that individuals who live in poverty or have low wages are more prone to commit crimes. The article looks at the correlation between unemployment and crime and the part firms play in the equation. Equations are used to make predictions regarding the role each part...
References: Alfred, M. V., & Chlup, D. T. (2009). Neoliberalism, Illiteracy, and Poverty: Framing the Rise in Black Women 's Incarceration. Western Journal Of Black Studies, 33(4), 240-249.
Chien-Chieh, H., Laing, D., & Ping, W. (2004). CRIME AND POVERTY: A SEARCH-THEORETIC APPROACH. International Economic Review, 45(3), 909-938. doi:10.1111/j.0020-6598.2004.00291.x
Covin, L. (2012). Homelessness, Poverty, and Incarceration: The Criminalization of Despair. Journal Of Forensic Psychology Practice, 12(5), 439-456. doi:10.1080/15228932.2012.713835
Latessa, E. J., & Lovins, B. (2010). The Role of Offender Risk Assessment: A Policy Maker Guide. Victims & Offenders, 5(3), 203-219. doi:10.1080/15564886.2010.485900
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