Criminology for Social Work by David Smith (auth.)

By David Smith (auth.)

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Most, however, are not- hence the persistent failure in Britain and even in the United States to discover much evidence of coherent delinquent gangs (Yablonsky, 1967; Parker, 1974; Zimring, 1981). But the will, skills and knowledge which make persistent offending possible have been learned somewhere - within a subculture which supports or at least tolerates such behaviour. We must also remember that among the factors which contribute to the formation and maintenance of deviant cultures is stigmatisation; this is the force which 'fosters a search for, or at least attraction to, others who have been similarly rejected by the wider culture' (Braithwaite, 1989, p.

For all the reasons discussed above, it would be unreasonable to blame criminology for failing to prevent the rate in crime which has characterised all Western industrialised societies since the mid-1950s. Indeed, in one sense all these figures are a tribute to criminology's achievement rather than testimony to its failure: the BCS and its like are products of criminology, and so is the scepticism about the official record which is now sometimes to be found among chief constables and politicians as well as students of criminology.

Some of us, according to Hirschi, are more moral than others, in the sense that we feel bound to conventional society in differing degrees. The elements of the bond are identified by Hirschi as follows: • Attachment to others, particularly parents and schoolteachers: the stronger the attachment, the stronger the control. Using Traditional Criminology 37 • Commitment: the extent to which one is committed to conventional lines of behaviour, in terms of investment of time, energy and trouble, determines one's 'stake in conformity', or how much one has to lose.

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