Social Structure theory is the ideology that a lower economic class is primarily associated with crime. Therefore the neighborhoods in which there is poverty, there is also a sense of strain, aggression and disorganization that seems to go hand in hand or cause crime. In my opinion this is somewhat true; I read a book called “Code of the Streets” in my seminar in criminology class and it was an example of the social structure theory, where the neighborhood becomes ranked in order by those who are the protectors/criminals, and those who need protecting/civilians due to the fact that police no longer felt the need to serve and protect this crime filled neighborhood. It was deemed to be a lost cause. This was also portrayed in The Color of Justice book we are reading; it stated “low-income people in particular neighborhoods has a direct impact on crime…” It seems as though being marked as a low income community, the neighborhood internalizes these labels and acts accordingly.
I know that social structure theory describes the makeup of society and the structure of the community. Social structure theory explains crimes that are committed within neighborhoods. For instance, in a town that attracts wealthier people their may be less crime but they may be very aware of someone who shows up in the town that isn't from there and assume that person is their to commit a crime. The social structure of a poverty stricken area where more crimes may be committed is not unusual because crime is a means of survival which also relates to strain theory. People have needs and wants and if they financially cannot afford things they may turn to illegal acts to survive. But this can lead to a breakdown in the community as mentioned in chapter 3. I agree that being labeled as a low income neighborhood or wealthier neighborhood people take on these roles and may or may not commit crimes.
I think you pose a lot of good points, and has changed the way I see people now. Labels can be detrimental to a persons life and their access to resources. Its really ridiculous how people can blame a persons access to resources on themselves when you actuality its the societies' fault the reason why a person can not be "successful"
What I know of the social structure theory is that it is what essentially makes a society and the inner workings of that society. Within that theory its explains that crimes are primarily caused by the lower-class, poorer communities. Such examples include the broken windows theory. A nice car was placed in a poor community, unlocked, and a similar car was placed in a wealthy community. The car that was placed in the wealthy community remained untouched, while the car in the lower-class community had been stripped down and showed signs of mishap. In chapter 3 it mentioned a story where Fred who came out of prison and had committed a crime while being out. His story like many others are the same because sometimes these people are not given another choice but to go back to the lifestyle that they have always knows either for financial or due to prior commitments. Furthermore, like Fred, he may not able to get work because of his prior convictions and being labeled a criminal. That is why being labeled can be detrimental to a persons life because they end up internalizing what they have been labeled as and ends up becoming their master status.
Social structure is the social circumstances that constrain people in certain communities. Some of these social factors include income, education, employment, and ethnicity. Not every city and community have the same resources available. In fact, many poor communities have less resources than wealthier areas due to low funding. It is important that we realize and understand how racial disparities go beyond our criminal justice system. These low income communities face social struggles such as less job opportunities, lower wages, and limited or bare minimum education. These "distressed communities" as chapter 3 refers to have a higher likelihood for crime and cause people to resort to crime in order to have an income or obtain the resources they need. Unfortunately, many people overlook the well-being or quality of life people in lower income areas have. Many of these communities have crime patterns and trends that seem to be unbreakable. When children grow up surrounded by crimes it will definitely influence their ideologies and behavior. This is not to say that they will 100% commit crimes, but having that exposure and environment may increase the likelihood of them resorting to crime in their lifetime.
Social structures are social circumstances such as or related to gender, income, and race and ethnicity among more. Generally speaking, these circumstances are not unalterable and given to an individual. The strain theory we learned about in chapter 3 tells us how an individual can decide they do not want to be living in poverty yet not have the education needed to improve their employment. This can cause them to find illegal ways to get money and thus commit crime. It is sad that not everyone can fulfill the "American Dream". The textbook talked about how minorities are faced with a higher amount of discrimination based on their race and ethnicity which further puts them at a disadvantage to change their social economic status. Because of this, they must find ways to change their status or achieve societal goals by other means.
As I have also learned about social structure theory from another one of my CCJS classes, I found some of content in chapter 3 particular interesting. Overall, it seems like Walker, Spohn and DeLone highlight that it is the combination of multiple aspects of this theory that contribute to crime being focused in poor areas, often disproportionally representing minorities. What I took from the reading as the most prevalent theories are strain theory and social disorganization theory. Strain theory, more specifically "Institutional Anomie Theory," says that while society defines an overarching goal of power and wealth (the American Dream), not all groups of people are provided adequate means of achieving said goal. Thus many of the poorer and socially oppressed groups of people (often minority groups) have to turn to other methods of achieving this "American Dream." These methods are typically criminal and often times are through "retreatist" (drug related) methods. Furthermore this may be a root to our problem of the disproportional representation of racial minorities in prison. Social disorganization theory is based in the Chicago school focusing on poverty in inner city areas and its effect on crime. Essentially theorist found that due to poverty in urban areas, citizens and residents are not able to socialize and create a cohesive community, also known as collective efficacy. Thus neighborhoods deteriorate and people grow up without the social values and norms of larger society. Another issue with this is that due to the disorganization in these areas, progressive residents who are breaking out of the lower class into the middle class move out of the area for better opportunities. Thus removing their positive impact from these inner city areas and further concentrating poverty and disorganization. Adding to this, one this that I found particularly interesting in the reading was the adverse effects of the Civil Rights Movement on this "concentration" of poverty. Due to the fact that middle class african americans who acted as "social buffers" in their otherwise deprived communities could now move out of the inner city, this mass exodus of stabilizing elements further concentrated poverty and crime in these areas.
Social structure theory shows us there are disadvantages when it comes to socioeconomic class. We have seen a common trend among lower classes committing more crimes. If a neighborhood is filled with poor people who do not have much, many times these neighborhoods have high crime rates. This is caused by multiple factors. When a person is labeled, as we have learned through labeling theory, they are more likely to take on that role(of their label). When we label these neighborhoods as poor and full of criminals, we see that these people conform to these labels in many cases. Sometimes the only way to survive is by committing crimes. On the other hand, we tend to see low crime rates in wealthy or high socioeconomic backgrounds. There is a clear difference in the social classes and crime rates.
When it comes to remembering social structure theory from previous classes, I immediately remember it having to do with economic class position and the crime that goes on throughout communities. Since there is many different types of communities interacting with one another, this leads to a higher crime rate. Segregation is also seen throughout these different communities and cities because that is seen as a social norm in America today. Many different cities are secluded to mainly white people, mainly african americans, mainly hispanics and latinos. I see this throughout where I like in San Jose, even though it can seem like a mix of all. The South Side and East Side seem to be more of a hispanic and latino community. This is not necessarily discriminating against residential segregation, I believe it just so happens because it has been that way for many many years. If people have grown up in certain neighborhoods that are not necessarily the best community, this will result in more crime due to the factor of different types of gangs as well.
The social structure theory is very controversial for me. I understand the ideology is relating crime rates with lower income neighborhoods, however it is frustrating that upper class individuals in nicer neighborhoods commit similar and even worse crimes, yet they have no attention about these issues at all. Maybe there are more crimes committed, but there is also more scrutiny and attention paid to these areas, which in turn magnifies every single crime committed. People grow up to be what they were raised with. If someone grows up in an environment with a lot of violence and inconsistency then the life they live will most likely have violence and inconsistency. If someone is targeted early on as a bad kid then that’s the image they are going to have of themselves. If they are being raised in an environment with bad influences then that is what will most likely influence their future. Rich or poor, people take in what they see early on in life and grow off it.
Social structure theory is the ideology that your socioeconomic status has to with the community you live in and the crime rate. In my opinion and as we learned in class the three main factors that contribute to social structure theory is jobs,living conditions, and crime. Many neighborhoods of color tend to fall into this category where if they live in low income areas they tend to have more crime. Economic status plays a huge role in social structure because if you don’t have the income to move out of a impoverished area then you are stuck. In class we learned that median income for Black families is $39,000 compared to $72,000 for Whites. For Hispanic community it is $ 20,000 and for Asians it's equal or higher than whites. So it’s way more likely for Asian and whites to live in a community where there is less crime than Blacks and Hispanics. They have a better chance at escaping poverty and crime than Blacks and Hispanics. You take a city like Chicago, there are 32% of blacks that live there compared to 31% of whites. Now I know that isn’t a huge difference but you take a richer area like Northbrook Illinois where there is 90% whites and only 0.7% blacks that is a huge difference. Last year Chicago had 700 homicides compared to Northbrook’s 0.39% of violent crimes. In my opinion I do think that more violent crimes happen in low income area more than area’s that aren’t impoverished. Unfortunately people who live in low income communities tend to struggle a lot more than other communities which forces them to commit criminal acts like stealing and selling drugs. I think social structure theory is something that people need to be more aware of especially people of color because it affects them the most.
Social Structure Theory is used to help explain the difference in crime rates between the upper and lower class. It uses economic status as its basis and concludes that crime rates are significantly higher in poor neighborhoods compared to wealthy neighborhoods. The economic inequality is what leads those who live in poor communities to turn to criminal behavior. Social Strain Theory describes criminal offenders as innovators who achieve goals through illegitimate but efficient means. In this case, those who are economically unstable turn to a criminal lifestyle in order to have money. Typically, poor neighborhoods are composed of African Americans and Latinos and wealthy neighborhoods are composed of whites and Asians. This explains the disproportionality in offending rates among these races and ethnicities. After reading about this theory, I realized that the environment an individual is raised in is a huge factor when it comes to committing crimes. Growing up in a poor neighborhood surrounded by others who are involved in criminal activity influences an individual to also turn to criminal activity. This is explained by the Differential Association Theory. Although I strongly believe that an individual's environment influences their involvement in criminal activity, I also believe that the the willingness to commit the crime must be present. I believe that if an individual lacks the willingness to commit a crime,he or she will not commit it no matter who they surround themselves with.
Social Structure Theory is based on individuals economic differences that play a part in the crime rates within their socioeconomic community. Poverty, economic inequalities, is what drives people to act out in criminal behavior in order to provide for themselves or their families, but false accusations based on racial inequalities is what gets crime rates in poor neighborhoods much greater than what they really are or those in American white neighborhoods. The strain theory is a theory in which explains that criminals, in some way are persistent and are hard workers, meaning they will stop at nothing to get what they desire; even if it isn't the ideal typical way to do so. Majority of the communities with higher crime rates contain a population with a great amount of hispanics or African Americans, that is usually the stereotype, also known as the poverty class. As for the wealthier communities with a less percentage is crime rates are occupied but American white and Asians. Typically in the poorer "ghetto' communities, Law Enforcement generally does not spend a lot of time patrolling these streets due to the fact that the wealthier communities need a larger protection system since they have more to fear and a lot more to lose. As many others, I do believe that hispanic and African American communities have a greater crime rate and live in poverty because it has become the life they have become accustomed to because they were born and raised in these types of environments and conditions. They tend to make a living out of "hustling" because that is what they are taught to do at a young age. However, some have the power to change that general stereotype and take on a different route where they do and earn things in a more legal way. As for many white and Asian communities, most of them come from stable families and are handed everything from childhood to adulthood and majority of the times, they do not understand the meaning of a true struggle to make something of themselves. Every individual has to have the drive to want to do better, but in some cases, some do not have the opportunity or the access to change their lives.
Social economic theory suggests that a person's place in the socioeconomic structure influences their chance at becoming a criminal. We tend to see people who come from poverty be more susceptible to crime. Although, many people are introduced to criminal behavior at a younger age if they do live in those areas, I do believe you can become more than just a statistic in criminal behavior. In "The Color of Justice," Walker talks about the social disorganization theory saying, " As a result, the values and behaviors leading to delinquency and crime are passed on from one generation to another." If someone wants something bad enough they can get their life together and strive for greatness.
Social structure theories believe that disadvantaged economic class is a primary cause of crime and therefore states that neighborhoods that are considered “lower class” create forces of strain, frustration and disorganization that creates crime. The belief that poor people would be more likely to commit crime because they are viewed as unsuccessful to achieve anything positive in any other way. I would have to agree with environment playing a role on whether criminal activity is influenced but I also do believe that people are given a choice, referring to the Classical Theory of crime which was brought into light by philosophers Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria; that people commit crime under their own free-will.
Social structure defines collective social circumstances that are unalterable. The social structure theory states that the lower class status people live in neighborhoods where strain leads them to chaos and crime. Chapter three in Walker describes the various forms of inequality which include economic inequality and residential segregation. These two concepts contribute to the social structure theory in that these forms of inequalities in society are what lead those who live in impoverished areas towards drugs and crime. The strain caused by these conditions perpetuates poverty by creating a lack of resources or opportunities that would otherwise allow people to develop social capital. I think that the social structure theory along with labeling theory appropriately explain why those who grow up in impoverished areas rarely leave these conditions and if they do they end up in jails or on the street committing crimes. These theories acknowledge the oppression of people in society who do not meet a specific socio-economic status or race and explains how it persists. What does surprise me is the lack of effort that is made to prevent these cycles from continuing in those communities. I think programs within communities really help educate people as to why it is they are oppressed and hopefully show them how to prevent ending in situations like this.
Social structure theory states that wealth and socio-economic class is a key determinant as to who commits crimes and who does not. In the book, " The Color of Justice," Walker states that being poor is a determinate to the propensity and likelihood for one to commit crimes because they don't know how to be successful but commit crimes. After reading this, I would have to disagree with this statement because last semester, I took a white collar crime class in which I learned that the richest of the rich commit crimes just as often as the lower class. It's societies perspective on believing that conventional crimes are more significant that white collar crimes. Even the upper commit crimes, not just the lower class.
Social structure theory provides a perspective on how a person's social environment can have an impact on how they are perceived and how they perceive themselves. In the United States it assumed that hard work can propel people toward their goals and aspirations but I believe that ambition/drive can only get you so far and social structure is a source of limitations pertaining to social mobility. Essentially, we do not exist in a complete meritocracy. In order to ascend the many professional ladders, it is about building relationships and making connections, along with hard work and being qualified for the position. I have personally experienced both the benefits and the hindrances associated with this theory. I got my first job based on family connections and building a strong relationship with the employer. On the other hand, I have walked into interviews for positions that I was overqualified for and had them give me the run-around because I didn't look how I sounded on the phone. In his book, "Not A Genuine Black Man," Brian Copeland discusses his own similar, and some more amplified experiences with social structure. As a black man who growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood he encounters physical violence and witnesses his mother's attempts to navigate their social circumstances.
The death penalty is a useful tool for the terrible people in our society however I don’t believe the current system we have is efficient. After one is sentenced to death it takes 10-20 years for the execution to take place. I think that the process of appeals is good because innocent people have been killed before. But, I believe there are too many appeals. The book mainly talks about unproportionate rate of colored people being killed rather than whites. This is a clear fact but it is not the only issue with the system. I believe the bigger issues is the time and cost it takes to actually get to the execution date. Each appeal cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that most of the time tax papers are paying for. I don’t think that is fair to tax payers.