Crime Vs. Crime prevention

by PatriciaMarchessault on November 12, 2014 - 11:04pm


The article “Spend Money on Crime Prevention Instead of Prison” was published on June 26th, 2014 in the journal The Independent. In this article, the author claims that the money that was being used to build jails and to hold criminals in prison should be transferred and used to reduce crime instead.  The author also states that taxpayers’ money is not being used effectively to prevent crime. He suggests a few strategies on how to spend this money more efficiently. For example, he suggests to support single parents and to help people with mental health and alcohol problems in order to prevent future crimes. Is it ethical to spend more of the taxpayer’s money on jails and prisoners rather than spend it more on crime prevention? This is the specific question in this case. The general ethical question would be: Is it ethical to spend so much money on criminals?


I agree that there should be more of a focus on preventing crime rather than punishing those who have committed a crime. It is much more of an active approach to reduce crime by preventing it from happening in the first place. I also agree that a good way to prevent crime is to help those more prone to ending up in prison. The amount of prisoners and homeless people who are mentally ill is unacceptable. If we spent money to help them become healthy and functioning members of society, the return on investment would be substantial. People who are able to find work and a home contribute to tax dollars while people spending time in prison or on the streets cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
My education has definitely impacted my opinion on this topic. This semester, I have learned a lot about how factors like income, stability of environment, and support from others during childhood affect their financial and emotional well-being later in life. Additionally, I have learned a lot about how private prisons, which profit off of crime, are becoming a larger part of American society. Instead of being motivated to reduce crime, these prisons are motivated to increase their profits. Lastly, I have learned about the concept of investment. While spending money on preventing crime may cost us money at first, it will return more money in the long-run because we are spending less money on keeping prisoners in jail and benefiting from their taxes.
I liked that you mentioned a few of the strategies the author suggests to prevent crime. In the future, it might be helpful to elaborate on how these strategies would be more effective. For example, how would supporting single parents help to keep people out of prison?