Linking Factors: Class, Race, and Criminal Behavior essay

Linking Factors: Class, Race, and Criminal Behavior essay

There are a number of factors that make people commit crimes. However, Mauer posits that certain linking factors between race and class lead to an increase in criminal behavior.

The first important factor is socioeconomic level of the population. A study carried out in several neighbourhoods in Ohio shows that violent crime rates are higher in the neighbourhoods with high poverty rates, irrespective of race (Mauer, 2010). Therefore, difference in crime levels can be explained by poverty rather than by race.

Age is another factor mentioned by Mauer. According to crime reports, young black males are more likely to be arrested than white offenders. The data analyzed prove that race has nothing to do with this disparity. Instead, it has been discovered that, unlike whites, young black males continue committing crimes when they come of age. Since adults are more likely to be incarcerated than juveniles (Mauer, 2010), African American law-breakers are more likely to be imprisoned.

This is linked with one more factor that Mauer identifies, namely, positive lifestyle options. Such options include education, marriage, and employment. These options are limited for black young males from poor neighbourhoods. For this reason, their violent offending is likely to continue when they are adults. Besides, law-breaking (e.g. drug dealing) is actually a job that some of them need for survival.

In this way, there are three main factors that explain the relation between race, class, and an increase in criminal behavior. Race and class by themselves do not condemn a person to being a criminal. They are just contributing factors that increase a possibility of a young Black/Latino, etc. person breaking laws for personal benefit. Poverty means lack of access to positive lifestyles. The youth from disadvantaged neighbourhoods is rarely able to afford education and, therefore, end up having decent jobs and stability. This altogether leads to an increase in their criminal behavior and shows that it is lack of opportunities rather than race that accounts for an increase in criminal behavior.