Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the value of the right realist approach to crime and deviance (21 marks)
While theories such as critical criminology and labelling regard crime as socially constructed, realists see crime, as a real and growing problem that destroys communities, undermines social cohesion and threatens society’s work ethic. The right realist approach to crime has been very influential in the UK, the USA and elsewhere. For example its main theorist, James Q .Wilson, was special adviser on crime to president Reagan, and it has provided the justification for widely adopted policies such as ‘zero tolerance’ of street crime and disorder. Right realism reflects criticise other theories for failing to offer any practical solutions to the problem of rising crime. They also regard theories such critical criminology and labelling as too sympathetic to the criminal and too hostile to the forces of law and order. Right realists are less concerned to understand the causes of crime and more concerned to provide what they see as realistic solution. However, although the main emphasis is on practical crime reduction strategies, they do in fact offer an explanation of the causes of crime. Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and others those structural or economic factors such as poverty and inequality are the cause of crime. For example, against the Marxist view, they point out that the old tend to be poor yet they have a very low crime rate. For right realists, crime is the product of three factors these are individual biological differences, in adequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend. James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein 1985 put forward a biosocial theory of criminal behaviour. In their view, crime is caused by combination of biological and social factors. Biological differences between individuals make some people innately more strongly predisposed to commit crime than others. For...
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