PRIMARY PREVENTION AND ADULT CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR: AN EXPLORATION OF CONTEMPORARY THEORIES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Borg, M. Jr., Interpersonal Empowerment Institute, USA
This paper explores contemporary approaches to prevention of adult criminal behavior from the perspective of community psychology in the United States. Theoretical approaches to the prevention of adult criminal behavior within community psychology range from those that focus on the individual and the community to those that target specific crimes and their prevention in specific areas. It is alarming to think that, with the exception of strategies that target specific crimes in specific areas, there appear to be few direct links between primary prevention and adult criminal behavior. Public health approaches to crime prevention claim to implement primary prevention strategies, but these approaches do not target adults. The highly controversial and historically political nature of defining criminals and criminal behavior may contribute to the paucity of primary prevention strategies that address criminal behavior. While the link between primary prevention and adult criminal behavior is often tenuous, this paper explores theories and approaches that attempt to locate and influence people who are naturally exposed to conditions that foster crime. Crime may, after all, be viewed as a symptom of a society that is inadequately addressing immediate developmental needs of some of its members. Therefore, the search for crime prevention must go beyond the symptom toward an awareness of the ways that crime reflects certain aspects of a culture or a society. New multidisciplinary paradigms must reflect the vast diversity of crimes, criminals, victims, and the contexts within which these elements interact.