I'm going to quote myself again, from another post, on another blog.
Crime can’t be solved by social workers or their programs. These programs have the expressed notion of “sparking moral consciences,” which is a waste of time. Man has no inherent morality to him. Anything “good” to Man is what enables him to continue to survive. “Bad” things are what cause the opposites of pleasure. In the end, the real difference between a criminal and a law abiding citizen is usually what they were taught—whether intentionally or not— is “right” and “wrong”. These lessons are learned early and often, and most of the time they aren’t conveyed by words or lectures.
If you want to start decreasing crime, you have to recognize that it is first a moral failing—not on the part of the criminal, but on society and those who raised him. Punishment should be swift, no criminal act should go unpunished, and “moral” behavior should be rewarded.
I read a great paper once entitled “The folly of rewarding A while expecting B”. It seems to be a treatise for our criminal justice system. Child grows up on the streets, learns that crime is a way to survive, and to punish him we take him off the street, to a boring confinement with others like himself...which accomplishes his original intent: food, shelter, clothes. In many cases prison provides better accommodations than inmates had as free men.
So we expect good behavior, which often leads to poverty, living in crime-filled, dangerous neighborhoods...while rewarding crime with a dull-but-comfortable confinement.
You fix crime with appropriate punishment and appropriate economics. You can’t charity people out of being poor, and you can’t social-program them out of being amoral (in a societal sense).