Why Do People Break the Law in the Book Incarceration and Social Inequality by by Bruce Western and Becky Pettit

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By studying the data in incarceration and social inequality by Bruce Western and Becky Pettit it would seem that the most glaring indicator for future incarceration is lack of educational achievement. The growth of incarceration rates of young men with low levels of education is evident among all races. This growth is most evident since the early 1980's. This is about the same time that automation started replacing many jobs. The jobs that were replaced by automation first were the ones that required the least skill and education. The job market where a man could get a decent job with just a high school education or even a high school drop out who is willing to work hard was being replaced by computer controlled equipment. Strain theory would indicate that people who would have the opportunity to be conformers before automation would now not be able to achieve their goals and would now become innovators. The conformist attempts to achieve his goals by socially acceptable means while the innovator will try to achieve his goals through any means necessary. As the pathway of achieving goals by the conformist is shut off, the rise of more innovators would swell the incarceration rate. This would suggest that incarceration rates would only rise in the future as more and more workers, especially the least educated, are replaced by automation. The rise of more innovators would be enhanced as those who view material success as a worthy goal but realize that the means to achieve this

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