Chapter 12: The Criminalization of Poverty

Chapter 12: The Criminalization of Poverty

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? When analyzing the relationship between poverty and crime, one is faced with similar paradigm. This chapter will bring to light to cyclical nature of poverty as it relates to crime and crime as it relates to poverty. We will also consider some solutions that have been attempted to destigmatize a person whose crime is not violent but is survival or biological.

Is it a crime to be poor? After reading this chapter, you should be able to formulate an answer to this question. This cursory overview will explore a number of elements contributing to poverty and crime industrialized countries. With a heavy focus on Canada and the United States, you will learn about society's use of tools to control and police the actions of poor people. You will learn how these tools, while belonging to a crime prevention model, do not prevent crime at all. It will be demonstrated that rather than addressing the social issues leading to the commission of crime, the criminal justice or conservative responses to crime perpetuate the cycle of crime for those living in poverty. While this chapter will touch on the relationship between poverty and crime, the relationship is complex and there are numerous additional elements to be considered. We hope that this brief chapter will provide insight into the issues of powerty, and will aid in the creation of solutions (i.e., crime prevention) that will save society from chaos and make our world a better place for all.

PAGES: 317–344
EDITOR: John A. Winterdyk
PUBLISHER: Taylor & Francis Group
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017