Chapter

Social Disadvantage, Crime, and Punishment

Tim Newburn

in Social Advantage and Disadvantage

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780198737070
Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191800597 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737070.003.0016
Social Disadvantage, Crime, and Punishment

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The chapter considers four main issues. First, the highly complex relationship between economic conditions and crime rates, which suggest that levels of consumption and, possibly, unemployment may affect property crime levels, albeit only in the short term. Longer-term trends are less well explained. Secondly, it considers the equally complex links between social inequality and crime rates at both the national and neighbourhood levels. Third, the chapter addresses the relationship between lower socio-economic status, patterns of offending and victimization, and the protective effects of social advantage. Finally, the chapter discusses the relationship between the workings of the criminal justice system, which focuses more on the offences of the poor and disadvantaged and less on those of the powerful and advantaged. There is evidence that the criminal justice system reinforces social inequality.

Keywords: crime; crime rates; offending; prisoners; punishment; victimization

Chapter.  8391 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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