Marxist criminological theory asserts that crime is the result of structural inequalities that are inherently associated with capitalist economic systems. Although Marx himself wrote very little about crime, theorists have relied on his economic theory to provide a foundation for a critical theory of criminal behavior.
A society where some people, because of their place in the capitalist system, are able to accrue a great deal of wealth and material goods, and some are not, is setting itself up for criminal behavior. Such behavior results from a lack of attention by those in power to the growing tensions among the working classes, who see a great divide between what the culture teaches them they can, and should, achieve, and the actual opportunities that could assist them in such achievement.
On another level, Marxist theorists argue that the criminal justice system, the system through which people who break the law are processed, should become more equitable. There should be an expectation that all individuals who come in contact with the system will be treated justly and equitably, with the rich receiving the same treatment as the poor. A system where ''the rich get richer and the poor get prison'' should be abolished once and for all.
When differences exist between the haves and the have-nots when it comes to the meting out of justice, it becomes clear that the system is, in fact, unjust.