Public Safety Crime Control, Policing
December 20th, 2023 Podcast by Manhattan Insights

Social Control, Explained: Preventing Crime and Disorder | John MacDonald & Rafael Mangual

The field of criminology has transformed in the last quarter century. Evidence-based crime policy has been replaced by misperceptions about the nature of crime and criminal offenders. Concurrently, progressive policies and programs have also reshaped the criminal justice system. However, 70 years of social science research shows that "social control" is one the most important factors in preventing crime.

Professor John MacDonald writes on social control: "While community safety is primarily produced by informal social control [family, friends, neighbors, schools], high-crime areas are in particular need of formal social control like the presence of effective police and prosecutors when neighbors are unable to regulate the conduct of public spaces. So why have progressive criminal justice reforms in the past several years forgotten about social control?"

To discuss social control and returning to an evidence-based crime policy, guest host Rafael Mangual (Nick Ohnell Fellow) talks with Professor MacDonald. John MacDonald is a professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Related Reading:
Social Control Works: Lessons for Criminal Justice Reformers, Vital City, by John M. MacDonald
Understand—and Act On—the Realities of Criminal Offending, City Journal, by John M. MacDonald