Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 4 April 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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M. S. Thirumalai


Economics of Crime :
A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality
in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu

S. Santhanalakshmi, Ph.D.


Man cannot remain an Island by himself because man by nature is social and his interests are best protected under the membership of the society. Although most people prefer to follow the policy of 'live and let live', there are certain deviants who, for some reasons or other, deviate from the normal path (as designed under the socio-legal norms) and associate themselves with illicit activities. This obviously imposes an obligation on the part of the Government which is the guardian of the society to hold such deviants in proper check, with a view to maintain the normalcy in the society.

The problem of crime is commonly visualized through various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, criminology, philosophy and economics. The thinking process on crime from economic angles began with Gary S. Becker's work in 1968. The concept of crime has been changing through the ages with the changing dynamic social policies. What is crime and how it affects the very existence, upkeeping and welfare of the society is a matter of great concern for the society.

The theories based on socio-economic conditions on crime attempt to locate the cause of crime in socio-economic environments faced by law-violators. Various theories are available in literature regarding crime. The theories which are oriented towards socio-economic conception of criminalization includes economic or punishment and reward theory, sociogenic theories, anomie theories, family background theories and cultural conflict or labeling theories.

The economic approach isolates the importance of probabilities and magnitude of reward and punishment and indicates how they can be treated formally. Micro and macro level study of criminal behavior indicates the way in which socio-economic phenomena can influence the observed pattern of offending in a rational individual (for micro models) and across different areas (for macro models). Of these various theories, the present study emphasizes on "Economic or punishment and reward theory". This theory developed by George (1958) stresses that the human being is basically a rational animal possessing a will that enables him / her to choose courses of action freely and also the desire to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. Decision making in this sense is to act rationally, that is to choose courses of actions which maximize one's expected utility (within the resource constraints that is his own, perception and information based on practice, circumstances and past penalty). A potential offender behaves as if he has a view about and is responsive to both the probabilities of detection and the possible punishment as well as the range of opportunities available to him for both illegal and legal activities. It is these perceptions which determine his behavior. Some persons become criminals not because their basic motivation differs from that of other persons but because their benefits and costs differ. The best way of controlling crime is a judicious application of pleasure and pain principle.

In foreign countries this subject has been analysed and given importance for quite sometime, whereas in India the contribution to this field has been quite disappointing. Empirical estimates of the impact of micro and macro economic variables in crime have been generally consistent across the studies of Freeman and Richard (1995) ; Weinberg and Mustard (1997) ; Machin and Meghir (2000) ; Donohue and Levitt (2001) ; Raphael and Winter-Ebmer (2001) ; Keith Ihlanfeldt (2002) ; Steven (2004) ; Ansari (2005) ; Coomaraswamy (2005) and Hutchinson and Yates (2007).

According to Saviz (1967), before an act can legally be defined as a crime, atleast theoretically, five conditions must be met. An act must take place that involves harm inflicted on someone by the actor. An act must be legally prohibited at the time it is committed, the perpetrator must have criminal intent when he engages in the act, there must be a casual relationship between the voluntary misconduct and the harm that results from it, and there must be some legally prescribed punishment for any one convicted of the act.

Crime in India has increased about twice as fast as population growth. In India, though the incidents of total violent crime has gone down from about 2,08,736 in 2004 to about 2,02,640 in 2005 in terms of rate per 1,00,000 of the population, homicide stood at a constant 3.8 per cent during the past 10 years. Murder alone accounted for 58.6 per cent of the total convicts under IPC crimes.

The highest percentage (28.3 per cent) of under trials was charged with murder. The National Crime Records Bureau states that Tamil Nadu ranks 10th in the percentage share of all India crime rate and ranks 9th in the rate of murder during the year 2005. It also states that one case of murder is registered every 16 minutes and one case of attempt to commit murder every 19 minutes in India (National Crime Records Bureau, 2005).

A prison is a place where the prisoners convicted by the court of law are detained for a period of their punishment. In India the total number of jails amount to 1,140 of which 107 are central jails, 268 are district jails, 678 are subjails, 14 are women jails and 73 are other jails. In Tamil Nadu, there are seven categories of prisons namely central prisons, special prisons for women, sub-jails, special sub-jails, borstal school, farm prison and open air prison (Tamil Nadu Prisons Department,

This is only the beginning part of the dissertation. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE DISSERTATION IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Influence of First Language Grammar (L1) on the English Language (L2) Writing of Tamil School Students: A Case Study from Malaysia | Economic Hardship and Emotional Humiliation in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable | Effects of Using Urdu Dictionary as a Teaching Tool for Teaching Urdu in Urdu Language Classroom in Pakistan | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Mizo, a Tonal Language | Racism and the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men | Stimulating Language Strategies through Thinking - Help for Slow Learners | Masses as the True Makers of History - Analysis of the Play The Trial of Dedan Mimathi | Personal and Labour Market Environment Factors in English for Employability: A Case Study of KSA | A Study of the Reported Language Skill Development Strategies of the Student Teachers in Pakistan | Strategies for Communication Skills Development | Schema in Learning | Achieving Professional Goals: Use of a Mixed Discourse in Interviews | The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems | Techniques to Teach Vocabulary to Regional Medium Students | Life History of Buddha as Reflected in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha | Technique as Voyage of Discovery: A Study of the Techniques in Dante's Paradiso | Some Gaps in the Current Studies of Reading in Second/Foreign Language Learning | Unmasking Student Competence: Using Computers to Teach Writing | Feminist Literary Criticism | Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature | An Acoustic Analysis of Glottal Fricative [h] at Word Medial and Final Positions:
A Comparison between Regular and Non-regular Urdu Speakers of Pakistan
| Teaching Writing Skills | Self-esteem of Institutionalised Elderly Women in Coimbatore - A Case History | An Assessment on Women's Work Participation and Economic Equality | Economics of Crime : A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF APRIL 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of April 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

S. Santhanalakshmi, Ph.D.
Department of Economics
PSGR Krishnammal College for Women
Coimbatore 641 004
Tamilnadu, India

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