Criminal Justice and Policy for Anti-social Habits

Criminal Justice and Policy for Anti-social Habits

The world has been witnessing rising calls for criminal justice reforms in the recent days owing to the extraordinarily huge levels of incarceration witnessed across the world. While the policy (criminal justice and policing policy) has been applied in addressing different types of criminal justice issues, this paper intends to focus on the application of criminal justice and policing policy in the control of drugs and gambling. The two vices have had negative consequences to the society and up today it seems there are not established policies to deal with them effectively. In the discussion, the paper will explore the right criminal justices approaches as well the policing policies that can be adopted to the end the menace contributed by the two anti-social aspects. THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Wayne (2013, p. 203) wonders why policymakers and regulatory authorities define some activities and human behaviors as being criminal, thus subjecting them to legal sanctions while exempting other similar forms of activities and human behaviors from the definition of a crime. In a seemingly quick response, Baradar and Frank (2012, p. 539) offer an answer by stating that what makes an activity or human behavior constitute a criminal activity is the nature of harm that such an activity or human behavior causes. At this point, the reason for a pause is, is gambling a criminal activity? What harm does it cause? Obviously, there are quite a number of harms in the public domain that can be either directly or indirectly associated with the gambling activity.

While gambling is an addiction and not necessarily a crime, it is its association with the elevated rates of the crime of illicit drugs that makes it hard to separate the two. In fact, it is gambling that supersedes illicit drug dealing in most of the cases (Reiner, 2012, p. 117). Most gamblers start as law-abiding citizens for the first few years (or months), but upon the exhaustion of their resources, at a time in which they have generated into problem gamblers, they turn to the crime of drugs.

A study conducted by Naughton (2011, p. 43) concluded that income-generating criminal activities were statistically related to the pathological gambling witnessed in the world, with drug ranking the highest. In this study, the researchers compared the different convictions of crimes in the United Kingdom with a relatively corresponding pattern of a random sample drawn from gamblers across the United Kingdom.  Besides, another study conducted in Vietnam prisons among 35 women also proved a strong relation between gambling as a social problem in the casinos in Melbourne and the illicit drugs in the area. However, Beck (2015, p. 196) argues that a clear role that gambling plays in contributing to the sale and use of drugs may only be brought out in the light of the knowledge of the other kinds of addictions (noting that gambling is an addiction) and their associated patterns of crimes. Based, on the two researches, this paper attests that gambling causes harm to the society.

The author, Carol (2012, p. 124), notes that drug and gambling have been described to constitute the problem of ‘law and order.’ But one wonders what the description of ‘the problem of law and order’ really means. Different authorities, scholars, and analysts offer differing explanations on the roots of drugs and gambling as a social problem and Bushway, and Emily (2013, p. 318) attributes the difference in the explanations to the fact that all problems rest on theories. As such, it depends on the approach that one uses to describe or analyze the social problem. For instance, economists base their argument on the rationality and self-interest of the crime where they argue that such an individual will cease pursuing crime should the cost of the crime surpass the benefit. On the other hand, sociologists argue that the social environment in which the individuals who turn out to be the victims operates places them in an arguably structurally strained and disorganized setting; which pressures them to pursue the criminal activity.

Policy analysts, in high contrast to the two explanations above, advocate that the inequity in the construction and application of laws brew the criminals. Despite all these explanations, there arise situations in which no specific explanation fits in describing the situation. For instance, a closer analysis of gambling shows that individuals who generate ‘clean wealth’ through legally recognized methods serve as gambling greatest victims. Do they turn to the drug after exhausting their resources? Some don’t (Beckett and Alexes, 2011, p. 512).

A more challenging situation arises due to the fact that, owing to the difference in the theoretical approaches to drug and crime as a social problem, there exist key areas of departure in the policy recommendations that each approach generates. Going by the description above; economists advocate for a punitive and a deterring remedy while sociologists favor the expansion of the legitimate opportunities in the economy and equity to solve the problem. In contrast, political analysts encourage a societal reorganization such that wealth is equitably distributed and justice system moves from responding to class power to limiting harm (Braga et al., 2014, p.  650). All the policy recommendations are not, however, with key limitations due to the assumptions that each approach considers. The drug crime and gambling as a social problem being as a result of the inequity in the society is mistaken when considering the fact that wealthy individuals do gamble. THIS IS A SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

The key question at this point would be what the best policy approach to drug and gambling is a social problem? Dansky (2016, p. 64) argues that a suitable approach should act as a double-edged sword; one side aimed at punishment and deterrence and the other aimed at rehabilitation and reintegration. No single side of the ‘sword’ would prove effective as it has been witnessed by the two different media publication with one advocating for the use of prisons to deter/stop crime and the other arguing that tough crime laws and punishment serve to fail (Boylan and Naci, 2013, p. 579). With each article basing their argument on well-reasoned arguments, it becomes hard to choose the suitable approach hence the need to blend the two given the fact that a punitive approach through prisons ‘brews more crime’ and a rehabilitative approach reduces deterrence.

Although gambling has been associated with several social-related problems, the crime of illicit drugs serves as the most prominent. Besides, while no policy approach to a social problem serves as a ‘ready-to-drink solution’ it’s inarguably true that the policy intervention that would go the greatest deal to solving the dilemma would be the most suitable. This calls for the intervention of the criminal justice system and society at large to establish policies that are capable controlling and precenting the gambling activities.


Bacchi, Carol. 2014. Analysing Policy. What’s the problem represented to be? Pearson Australia

Baradaran, Shima and Frank, McIntyre. 2012. “Predicting Violence.” Texas Law Review 90 (1): 497-570.

Beck, Allen. 2015. “Use of Restrictive Housing in U.S. Prisons and Jails, 2011-12.” U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Beckett, Katherine and Alexes, Harris. 2011. “On cash and conviction: Monetary sanctions as misguided policy.” Criminology & Public Policy 10(3): 509-537.

Boylan, Richard T., and Naci Mocan. 2013. “Intended and Unintended Consequences of Prison Reform.” The Journal of Law and Economics 30(3): 558-586.

Braga, Anthony, Andrew Papachristos and David Hureau. 2014. “The Effects of Hot Spots Policing on Crime: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Justice Quarterly 31(4): 633-663.

Bushway, Shawn D., and Emily G. Owens. 2013. “Framing Punishment: Incarceration, Recommended Sentences, and Recidivism.” Journal of Law & Economics 56(2): 301-331.

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