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Selective incapacitation and gross incapacitation both have their own way of

dealing with offenders. The former theorizes that incapacitating the serious
offenders will reduce crime greatly whilst saving the state money. The money saving
would come from the fact that with selective incapacitation, minor offenders would
not serve jail time, rather they would be dealt with alternatively and with the
theory, their chances of committing another crime would be miniscule. The latter,
gross incapacitation, suggests that all offenders be locked away, with no regard to
how serious or minor the offense may be. In terms of reducing crime, both of these
incapacitation theories were great on paper, but both failed to garner positive
results. Why is that? For starters, there really is no way one can foresee if an
offender will commit more crimes in the future, one can predict all they want, but in
the end it is just that, a prediction. Furthermore, statistically, these incapacitation
proposals ended with the conclusion that no clear patterned relationship across
states between incarceration rates and crime rates (Walker, pg. 174) existed.
To answer the question, what actions can be taken to decrease serious crimes, we
need to look at why people commit the serious crimes in the first place. This isnt
something that is so easily able to be looked at, mostly because people commit
crimes for many reasons and often times they are crimes that are not premeditated, rather they are spur in the moment. People commit crimes for power,
greed, anger, jealousy, passion, boredom, fear, and/or opportunity to just name a
few. The theories of why people commit crime are vast. There are those who explain
it from a demonology view, stating that criminal behavior is caused by a possessed
mind and the only way to expel the evil was to exorcise it through torturous means,
and those who explain it from an anthropological view, stating that criminals shared
similar physical features such as large jaws and high cheekbones. There are three
theories that in my opinion are far more reasonable. The first comes from August
Aichorn. Aichorn theorized that there had to be three traits present before a person
could commit a crime; the desire for immediate gratification, placing greater desire
on ones personal desires over the ability to have good relationships with other
people and a lack of guilt over ones actions (Bryant). The second comes from
Albert Bandura who theorized delinquent and criminal behavior is learned via the
same psychological processes as any other behavior: through learned and repeated
exposure to rewards (reinforcements) that support the behavior. On the flip side,
behaviors that received no support or negative reactions are not learned and
therefore will not recur. Bandura believes that people observe others behaviors and
decide whether or not to adopt them (Bryant). The third, and last, comes from
Yochelson and Samenow whose theory can be summarized with five points. 1. The
roots of criminality lie in the way people think and make their decisions. 2. Criminals
think and act differently than other people, even from a very young age. 3.
Criminals are, by nature, irresponsible, impulsive, self-centered, and driven by fear
and anger. 4. Deterministic explanations of crime result from believing the criminal
who is seeking sympathy. 5. Crime occurs because the criminal wills it or chooses it,
and it is this choice they make that rehabilitation must deal with (Bryant).
By looking at these theories, I can see that the best way to deal with crime, both
serious and non-serious, is to prevent the person from committing it in the first

place, and starting this prevention from an early age. If children are brought up in
the world without any regard as to what is wrong and what is right, it should be no
surprise that they are more likely to commit crime. Unfortunately, it is impossible to
overlook the upbringing of every child in the world. To answer the next question, I
dont believe necessarily that criminal justice factors and answers can help the
situation. Overall, its a social problem. People need to understand what is wrong
and right, and teach the next generation as well. One other social institution that
can greatly impact the crime rate is education. People who are educated learn many
things while in school. Not only the stuff they get from their textbooks but they also
learn from a social aspect while in school. For example, they learn how to work with
others in group project settings and learn what strengths they have and use these
strengths to better their person. It is statistically proven that an increase in
education decreases the rate of crime. For example, estimates suggest that
increasing the high school graduation rate in the United States in 1990 would have
resulted in nearly 100,000 fewer crimes, providing an annual benefit valued at more
than $2 billion. Social benefits from reductions in mortality are likely to be of similar
magnitude (University of Western Ontario). This study was based on high school
graduation alone, imagine how much more progress is made with those with higher
education. One thing we as a community can do, is ensure every child has an equal
opportunity for a quality education.
Mass incarceration has had a massive impact on families and communities. Minor
drug offenses, to be specific, have had the greatest impact. It is no secret that the
younger group of the population are always experimenting with things, drugs being
one. The use of marijuana is illegal in most of the United States, and a drug charge
can virtually destroy the future of a young one. For starters, you are arrested, a
drug charge is added to your criminal record which is accessible to anyone looking
for it. Financial aid in college often times is dependent on whether or not you have
drug charges. Assuming you dont serve any jail or prison time, you are out of
financial aid to pay for college and even when you get your degree, you still have
that charge on your record which may turn off potential employers. Mass
incarceration impacts families because the pettiest of crimes can get you in jail or
prison and it impacts communities because once the offender serves his time, it is
extremely hard for them to readjust back to a normal life and they often cannot
adjust because they will always have their past to haunt them whenever they try to
make something of their lives but they cant get a job. All of this because of
experimental use of marijuana that has no scientific harmful effects, yet is treated
like dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Walker, S. (n.d.). Sense and nonsense about crime, drugs, and communities.
Bryant, L. (n.d.). Why do people commit crime? - History Learning Site. Retrieved
March 06, 2016, from

University of Western Ontario. (n.d.). Study finds increased education lowers crime.
Retrieved March 07, 2016, from