Essay About Unemployment
Unemployment and crime are the two major issues faced by many societies. These issues have prompted highly debated views on whether there is a correlation between the two. This essay will review on several sources and their research on the topic of Unemployment and Crime.
It has been highly discussed that unemployment does lead to crime. In his journal article, Baron (2008) examined the role of unemployment in the criminal behaviour of 400 homeless street youths by adopting Agnew’s general strain theory (ICT). He wanted to find out if the people’s interpretations of their labour market situation had a role to play in influencing criminal behaviour. By using the general strain theory, it “focuses attention on how objective experiences, subjective interpretations, and emotional reactions can all be linked to crime” (Baron, 2008 p. 402). His findings have shown that negative emotional reactions such as anger is a mediating role between unemployment and crime and that it is anger over unemployment that influences crime. However, his research had limitations as the data collected were cross-sectional and thus causing the current emotional reactions, perceptions of deprivation, and punishment to be correlated with past criminal behaviour.
Carlson and Michalowski (1997) also suggest that the relationship between unemployment and crime is shaped not merely by the fact of unemployment but instead by its social meaning within the developmental stage of social structures of crime. In this journal article, Carlson and Michalowski (1997) analysed whether the inconsistency in findings of the impact of unemployment on crime is the result of historical contingency caused by changes in the social structures of accumulation (SSAs) correlated with the growth of U.S capitalism in the twentieth century. By examining the relationship between unemployment and crime at different phases of the U.S economic development, Carlson and Michalowski (1997) found that the impact of unemployment on crime is in fact historically contingent and that there was a greater impact in reducing crime when economic distress is better relieved by having structural unemployment. This journal however had a specific focus on crimes such as burglary, robbery, assault and homicide. It did not consider other forms of crime that could possibly steer its findings in a different direction.
Supplementary to the relationship between unemployment and crime, Chappell and Sykes (1991) examined the changing commitment rates to U.S. state prisons to resolve the questionable interpretations of how unemployment, crime and imprisonment are related.