This study is a theoretical exploration of the impact of public social control on the functioning of local social controls. Set within the framework of social disorganization and systemic theory, the study argues that an overreliance on incarceration as a formal control may hinder the ability of some communities to foster other forms of control because they weaken family and community structures. At the ecological level, the side effects of policies intended to fight crime by controlling individual behavior may exacerbate the problems they are intended to address. Thus, these communities may experience more, not less, social disorganization.