We are often told that unemployment is 'no excuse' for committing crimes. It certainly does not follow, as many in government would have use believe, that crime is unrelated to social conditions.
Examining a mass of evidence from Great Britain, the United States, Canada and other industrialised countries, Steven Box shows how criminal activity increased with unemployment, poverty and sharpened competition between firms. He demonstrates that corporate as well as individual crime is affected by the experience of recession and that changing pressures and opportunities alter the character and distribution of deviance as well as increasing its incidence.
Although deterioration in material circumstances does lead to more crime, however, it does not alone account for the massive increase in prison populations or increasingly repressive systems of social control. These developments, the author argues, flow more from government attempts to restructure the labour force and the natural reaction of minor state officials like judges, police and probation officers to the changing 'logic' of their situations.
Preface - The Lost World of the Sixties - Why Should Recession Cause Crime to Increase? - Does Recession Lead to More Crime? The State and 'Problem Populations' - The Criminal Justice System and 'Problem Populations' - Does Recession Lead to More Imprisonment? - Conclusions and Policy Implications - Bibliography - Index