The article titled, Crime and social control in provincial Massachusetts, by David Flaherty is basically a review of criminal activity in modern America. The analysis is majorly focused in the state of Massachusetts which in real sense represents a big part of what is generally referred to as provincial America.
The article tries to bring out the importance of social control in addressing the issue of criminality in the United States. Among the major issues highlighted include the maintenance of homogeneity in the population, the establishment of a proper system for the prosecution of criminals as well as the involvement of certain interest groups (such as church leaders) in commending appropriate behavior and rebuking undesired character.
This article is very relevant to the course as it clearly provides an illustration of how different components of society influence each other’s development over certain periods of time. Aside from this, American history focuses on various aspects of societal development including the development of criminal law and its application in conjunction with other strategies to reduce vices in society.
The author’s main line of argument is that society makes criminals. This is drawn from his proposition that in order to address the issue of rampant crime, it is important for persons to first look at the roles they play in ensuring that the society around them is safe (Tolles 1957, 102). This includes encouraging the individual to personally exercise ideal morality before trying to establish ways of making the community function as a strong cohesive whole.
According to the author, crime keeps on developing new facets as the years pass by. Provincial and national crimes are basically on an upward trend this is the main reason why the relevant crime-prevention authorities need to draw on the resources and skills of different members of their teams in order to arrest the situation. The author explains that crime cannot only be tackled using policing methods only.
He asserts that there are some types of criminal activities, such as those linked to drug abuse, which are prevented by tackling the underlying challenge. These, the author says are dealt with by modifying the environment in which they happen or sometimes by altering the social conditions that are purported to have basic linkages as far as the activities are concerned.
Flaherty also asserts that in order to reduce crime, a conscious effort has to be made in order to provide support to those individuals who fall victim to the acts of criminals. This, according to him provides the required support to police investigations as well as to ensure that victims are not targeted again.
Using facts from the Massachusetts provincial criminal records over a given period of time, the author establishes that the art of crime prevention is an analytical process that starts by establishing the causes of criminal acts, the damage they cause to the victims and the amount of resources and skills that will be used to properly mitigate the situation.
In this regard, Flaherty suggests that the prevention of criminal activities is most likely going to be effective if the strategies are based in the regions closest the occurrence, i.e. the interventions are more effective if carried out at a provincial level than at a national level.
The approach taken is even more effective if a number of problem solving strategies are directed towards the solution of one criminal activity (Frank 2008, 238). Provincial governments, therefore, have a very critical duty as far as the control and prevention of crime is concerned (McDougall 2005, 46).
The article has served to enlighten me in a number of ways, both as a scholar and as an individual. First is the fact that I have been able to establish the correlation between individual conduct and its effect in the security and character of society. In this regard, the article has shown me that change in society starts with the individual and that it is only until every member of a given community decides to lead a positive life that change happens.
Secondly, I have been able to understand how the provincial culture determines the outlook of the entire society and that the input of various key social groupings can impact on a regions history. Pertaining to this, I have been able to link the basic social unit i.e. the family to the development of individual character which in turn has an impact on proper societal functioning.
In his article, David Flaherty has raised a number of important questions. Top on the list is whether or not the destruction of the family structure is responsible for the surging crime rates. His discussion appears to support the ideology that stability of the family set up is important in the raising of a responsible citizenry.
Another question raised by the author and which has also been resolved is the connections are between various social vices such as alcoholism and crime. The author suggests that it is imperative for agencies handling crime to address the underlying issues while seeking solutions for criminal activities.
Flaherty, David.1981. “Crime and Social Control in Provincial Massachusetts”. The Historical Journal, 24, pp 339-360
Frank, Andrew. 2008. American Revolution: people and perspectives. California: ABC-CLIO
McDougall, Walter. 2005. Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History: 1585-1828. New York: HarperCollins
Tolles, Frederick. 1957. James Logan and the culture of provincial America. New York: Little Brown