What Is Crime

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A Crime by Any Other Name…
The main issue in Reiman and Leighton’s The Rich get Richer and the poor get prison is how crime is labeled; “A Crime by Any Other Name” to be exact. How “crime” is labeled comes depends on the nature of the crimes as legislatures and police officers must use discretion when deciding what constitutes as a crime. According to Reiman and Leighton, crime is used to label “the dangerous actions of the poor” (5). This is the direct result of the reality of crime that is created by defining what is a crime and “who will be treated as a criminal” (59). Reiman and Leighton discuss why applying the carnival mirror as a representation for the criminal justice mirror and how it applies to the typical crime and criminal. Throughout this chapter Reiman and Leighton discuss varies reasoning for why there is an indirect relationship between what is and how it is depicted by the American justice. One point I found interesting within this chapter is the characteristic of the typical criminal. As mentioned by Reiman and Leighton, the typical criminal is male, young, urban, black and poor (61). Furthermore “that blacks are arrested for violent crimes at a rate more than three times that of their percentage in the national population” (61) which was 13% in 2006. This I found to be troubling because as mentioned in class the relationship between the population number and numbers arrested is disproportionate. From this, the authors write that there characteristics of the typical criminal has a lot of offense on arrest because individuals who commit wrongdoings or crimes may not be arrested. They give the example of whites who blame blacks for any crime and they will be believed without question, calling this method ‘racial hoaxes’. Adding to this is learning that the public losses more money from tax cheating and fraud, consumer deception and embezzlement than from property crime” (64). They write however that these issues do not come up much in the media...
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