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Discussion of the Impact of the Broken Window Theory and How It Directly Impacts the Criminal Justice System Today - Essay Example

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Discussion of the Impact of the Broken Window Theory and How It Directly Impacts the Criminal Justice System Today

The Broken Window Theory is one of the theories that have impacted the criminal justice system in modern times. This theory was proposed by George Kelling and James Wilson. It suggests that a subset of society or society that seems and appears to be lawless may ultimately breed lawlessness (Kelling and Coles 11). It is a criminological theory of the signaling effect and norm setting of urban vandalism and disorder on additional anti-social behavior and criminal activities. The theory holds that maintaining and monitoring urban environments in a condition that is well ordered can further stop escalation of minor and serious crime (Lilly, Cullen, and Richard 9). This paper will discuss the impact of the Broken Window Theory and how it has directly impacted on the Criminal Justice System in modern times. Since the Broken Window Theory was introduced by James Wilson and George Kelling in 1982, it has been a subject of huge public debate within the public sphere and in the social sciences. As a result, it has been used as a methodology and motivation for various reforms in the criminal justice system (Keizer 1681). In explaining the theory, Wilson and Kelling use the example of a building that has a broken window which remains unrepaired. The theory argues that crime is not caused by broken down neighborhoods, necessarily, but they become magnets for delinquent behavior and crime because of their disorganization. Residents may tend to become slacker in their civility and delinquents and criminals may then be drawn to lawlessness areas. The theory explains that the state of the urban environment may affect crime and delinquency due to the following three factors: signal crime and social signaling; the lack or presence of routine monitoring; and conformity and social norms (Sampson 320). Under this theory, a clean and ordered environment and one which is maintained signals that the area is well-monitored and delinquent and criminal behavior is not tolerated. On the contrary, unmaintained and disordered environment signals that the area is not under monitoring and that anyone can engage in crime with little risk detection (Kelling and Coles 49). As a result of the arguments of Wilson and Kelling on the Broken Windows Theory, there have been impacts on the criminal justice system. The theory has had considerable impact on all law enforcement aspects that touch on the community. The restorative justice and community policing movements can be traced to the Broken Window Theory (Lilly, Cullen, and Richard 19). Partnership with law enforcement officers, community involvement, and the proposal that offenders should reconcile with the community are linked to the visible involvement idea that brings visible results. If it appears that people are caring, then potential criminals will believe that they are caring and will therefore respect their property and rights. Many law enforcements agencies have started to focus on the “broken window” issues in order to protect the peacefulness and civility of neighborhoods (Kelling and Coles 77). Also, several agencies of law enforcement have began to put enhanced focus on victimless or minor crimes such as vandalism, loitering, street prostitution, littering, and drugs. Currently, the defined crimes represent a shift in the resources allocated to police away from crimes ...Show more


Date Discuss the Impact of the Broken Window Theory and how it directly Impacts the Criminal Justice System Today The criminal justice system refers to a set of agencies and processes of the government that control crime and impose sanctions and penalties on persons that violate the law…
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Discussion of the Impact of the Broken Window Theory and How It Directly Impacts the Criminal Justice System Today essay example
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