ERIC Number: ED207876
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jun-4
Crime and the Decline of Values.
Cannon, Mark W.
This paper focuses on crime in American society, with emphasis on the causes of crime and delinquent behavior. A brief overview of numerous theories which have been advanced to explain causes of crime begins the paper. Among the theories discussed are those based on alcoholism, poverty, and perceived social injustice. Maintaining that these theories do not adequately explain crime and/or delinquent behavior, the author advances another explanatory theory--one which hypothesizes that current crime levels are due to society's failure to transmit positive values, norms, and attachments from one generation to another. As support for this theory, the author cites general evidence from religious, social, educational, and political leaders that spirituality has declined and families have been weakened. Specific reasons offered for the decline in values include mass media violence, broken homes, and decline in church attendance. Ways of turning the tide away from crime and delinquent behavior are suggested, including strengthening youth ties to value-reinforcing groups (special interest clubs in schools, church groups, community-focused youth participation projects), teaching values in schools, encouraging students to read literature which reinforces traditional values, and developing and implementing law-related education programs. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Judicial Conference (Santa Fe, NM, June 4, 1981).