posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 12:33 PM
Great topic Budski, but a tough question to answer definitively. I think the problem stems from a number of different sources, which can effectively
be deduced into sociological and economic reasons. For example:
In modern times populations in the United States have soared creating a more urbanized environment and a greater need for consumption, with higher
demand for goods and a supply that does not meet that demand. Those on the lower end of spectrum that lack educational opportunity and/or economic
power find that as their own supply dwindles and their demand for goods increase, they have no economic way to obtain those goods. This creates more
crime in certain areas, and as the economically stable family units move to "safer" areas it decreases the likelihood of more growth in that area.
Thus, it turns the area into a zone heavy in crime. Limited or fractional resources in said area are unevenly disbursed and people begin competing
for those resources. This leads to the formation of gang culture, and people with similar interests band together to fulfill a common goal...increase
supply. In order for this to happen physical violence levels increase as competitors look to gain said resources.
This leads to an increase in the amount of police officers that are needed to contain this violence, and an upsurge in the amount of public
disturbance that can now be considered a "crime". Both the public and lawmakers begin to see a connection between crimes once considered mere
misdemeanors and violent behavior. Essentially, I believe this is why we see a large amount of the prison population shifting from violent offenders
to non-violent offenders. Tougher sentensing compounds the issue when concerned with drug laws, as many now see drugs as a gateway into a violent
culture (whether this is unfounded or not is for everyone else to decide).
This is essentially how one social and economic problem escalates into the huge issue we see in modern times with the abundance of gang violence and
it's relationship with the drug trade. Lawmakers and the police force are quick to dispel any societal problem without actually fixing the problem
where it starts, that is through prevention, education, and a greater means to gain economic opportunities. The surge in the amount of individuals
placed in Correctional care is in direct relation to this societal ill. There is a large culture of collective individuals who seem to believe that
areas of both urban and rural culture steeped in violence are unable to be changed both socially and economically, and that the cost of change is far
greater that the quick fix of simply locking them away. So, we begin to see Correctional Institutions overflow with prisoners convicted of
non-violent or non-sexual crimes, and the early release of prisoners that actually need to be locked up (such as pedophiles, rapists, murderers,
There are other issues involved in this problem as well, including:
This is a huge task to comprehend and a very hard mentality to break in a society that is so quick to judge others by racial, ethnic, and societal
standards. Almost the entire history of humanity can be traced back to that economic law of supply and demand and our search for a common
equilibrium...you find that, and problems with society will dissolve.