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Social and Criminal Justice1

Updated on September 7, 2013

Early Development

What is necessary for changing the life of a criminal? What can be done to cut down on the number of repeat offenders? The answer, changing behavior. The criminal justice system is to be used for that purpose. Cradle to grave measures are to be put into place in society to challenge at-risk people to avoid a life of crime in the first place. It starts with personal responsibility. Good values are to be taught in the home. Chores are given to kids to allow them to take personal responsibility for a portion of their well-being. If they learn responsibility now, i e, get ready for school, pick up your toys, get ready for bed; then they will be responsible later in life. Parents, however, are most responsible for setting the proper environment in the home for kids to learn and grow in.

When discovered problems can be addressed. Steps are taken to improve things in the life of the individual. Early childhood development is a serious time in a child's life, so much so, one can earn an Associates degree in this field. Many children in Day Care centers as well as in preschools learn socialization skills. From age 0 to 3, a child's personality is set. He is who he is. At this point he is taught proper behavior. He learns mostly by observing what he sees around him. Chores are given to him or her to teach responsibility (i e put your toys away Johnny or Jane). Children can learn manners and cooperation (social skills) before entering any schools. First in the home, then from Day Care centers to schools, public and private, a child is taught values. Many people attend houses of worship and take part in the teachings taught there as an added source in learning proper values.


People turn to crime because of a lack of education. As I stated before, a child learns values by observing what others around him do. Parents are to instill the values they want there offspring to use in life. This is a form of education. There are various types of education provided for all people outside the home. We must make sure there are available opportunities in the public and private sectors. Alternative education has been around ever since the 1950's here in America. Those programs were designed for those who had already dropped out of school. Today, we have more opportunities for schooling.

In times past however, some people in American society weren't able to go to schools because there was no free education. For the most part a free education isn't always free because the teacher as well as the student in the classroom must be involved in teaching and learning. Each person must do his part.

Most families provided education at home. For example, a farmer taught his son the basic of planting and harvesting and allowed him to take part in the process. This skill was needed to ensure that the family survived. Value taught: if one does not work he does not eat. This family took an active part in society.

Each person regardless of socioeconomic status must receive a valuable education.

Social justice

Many children in times past were not allowed to attend school for various reasons. The most prevalent reasons were the inability to pay for schooling and racism.

If some people are left out of society, they aren't going to prosper within society. The African American slaves and the Native Americans are good examples of this. These two people groups were treated improperly.

As a rule slaves were to be taught reading and or writing only if the slave holding plantation owner saw fit to do this. Many did not. This kept many slaves dependent and not able to take part in the larger society. Native Americans were displaced. When they were included in the educational process, it was to give them a new identity, however, Native Americans were not Europeans. The education of a person is to allow him to develop himself not become someone else.

The Freedman's Bureau was responsible in educating the newly freed slaves. This took place in 1865 with the signing of the Freedman Bureau's Bill.

Native Americans were involved in the Indian Boarding School movement. This was not of their own accord, however. Certain philanthropic citizens felt it was best to assimilate Native American people into the larger culture. Not a bad idea, however, when you choose to educate someone away from their gifts and abilities you can do harm. There was good and bad in the developing of new schools for African Americans, Native Americans and the society at large.

When it was recognized that all people groups have a part in education, we began to see progress.

In order to benefit from educational opportunities, a child must attend school. In times past truancy programs were responsible for keeping school aged children in school. This is one of the programs we were blessed to have in encouraging school attendance. Parental as well as community involvement is key to putting the young on the right path and keeping them. It truly 'takes a village', a good caring one, in this instance to raise a child.

Today there are more challenges to face when it comes to the educating our children. There early intervention programs that are beneficial in the form of alternative education.

There is more than one way to teach and more than one way to learn. Individuals develop and learn differently. Our society today is aware of this. When the 'traditional' ways fail, new ways are adopted.

A New Way

Ideally, schooling brings correction. A reward and punishment system can work for some. In other words, if you fail to do your assigned tasks then some privilege is taken away. When this doesn't work an alternative is chosen. Today there are alternatives such as charter schools, a sort of privatized public school. The county school board is responsible for over seeing this type of school, but allowing it more freedom in the teaching of basic education. This school receives public funding continuously if it produces good quality graduates.

This type of school and other ways are being developed in order to reach a wider variety of students.

Last but not Least

In a perfect world we would all be successful. Society is more just in allowing pretty much everyone to go to school, graduate and become productive members of society. Some still choose a path that's not good for them.

Ideally former criminals are to be rehabilitated and sent back into society at the end of a sentence in a correctional facility. Some are arrested again and again. Others stay out of the system and become assets to their individual communities. Work release programs allow them to work so they can gain employment after imprisonment.

Former criminals can lead useful lives. Different skills are used and developed in order to live in the outside world. One's life is structured a certain way in prison. Even the schedule followed each day lends itself to character development. Repetition is one proven way to learn a new skill. (I.e getting up on time, getting ready to start your day). He must develop certain skills in order to stay on the right path. When he does this he is able to function better in the larger community upon release.


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    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      I was a professional writing tutor for the federally funded TRIO (Student Support Services program) which serves first generation (students whose parents who haven't been to college, low income, and special needs students). That program was based on statistics that show exactly what you're saying. All parameters of social interaction rise with education. People scoff at government programs, but programs like TRIO are based on measured results! In addition, I've always thought that children, especially middle school kids, need to be introduced to all kinds of careers, to shadow jobs to know what they really want to be - to be inspired early on and have a dream. Of course, poverty is a huge roadblock because it creates a hopelessness that leads elsewhere. There is NOTHING like grabbing on to the "audacity" of hope.


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