The Crime Vaccine

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Attorney and human development expert Jay Marcus says that the basis of crime is the stress and tension that characterizes the crime-prone individual. Treat that stress and you will reduce criminal tendencies. He backs up this bold statement by citing published scientific studies that show that criminal tendencies can, in fact, be reduced.

After surveying the various models of criminal behavior and treatment over the centuries in the opening chapters, Marcus introduces his own. He compares the crime epidemic to epidemics of disease, and says that the treatment is much the same as other epidemics: vaccinate a certain percentage of the population with a crime vaccine.

The particular “vaccine” that he discusses is the Transcendental Meditation program, introduced to the West nearly four decades ago by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of India. M arcus says that, more than any other meditative technique, this approach has been shown scientifically to change an individual’s physiology. The key is to immunize those with crime-prone physiology against the buildup of stress and criminal tendencies.

Even more remarkably, Marcus draws an interesting parallel with the Salk vaccine for polio. He points out that not only did the Salk vaccine inoculate individuals but also once 65 percent of children received the vaccine, the virus ceased to circulate in most of the United States. Similarly, more than forty studies show that once a threshold percentage of the population practices the Transcendental Meditation technique in a particular community, crime declines significantly in the whole community. He refers to this as “herd immunity.”

THE CRIME VACCINE concludes by addressing the obvious question: If there is an effective crime vaccine, why hasn’t it been more widely applied?