In this essay we will assess the usefulness of these functionalist theories, and look at how it helps us explain crime. One functionalist who tried to explain crime is Merton and his strain theory, the strain theory argues that people engage in the deviant behaviour when they are unable to achieve socially approved goals by legitimate means. Merton explanation combines 2 elements; structural factors- society’s unequal opportunity structure, cultural factors- strong emphasis to achieve goals and weak emphasis on using legit means. Merton uses the strain theory to explain some patterns of crime in society, he argues a person’s positioning in society affects the way they adapt or respond to the strain to anomie. Merton gives 5 different types of adaption; Conformity- the individual accepts socially acceptable goal and achieves it through legitimate means, Innovation- Individual accepts the role of success and wealth but uses illegitimate means to achieve them, Ritualism- Individual give up on legitimate goals but still follow strictly to the rules, Retreatism- Individuals reject legitimate goals and means of achieving them e.g drug addicts, the final type is Rebellion- Individuals reject existing goals and means but replace them with new one in desire to bring about revolutionary change.
Mr. Beccaria and other members of the Classical School fought for punishment to be set by legislative instead of judges having all of the authority for punishment. The members of the Classical School of Thought believed that preventing crime was more important than punishing the criminal. When criminals know what the punishment is going to be for the crimes that they are going to commit it will help to deter the crimes from being committed. When people do commit crimes the crime is done of their own free will. This procedure of knowing the punishment with it being severe to the
Right realists such as James Wilson and Richard Herrnstien put forward a biosocial theory of crime. They believe that criminal behaviour is made up of biological and social factors. They believe that people may be biological more attracted to committing crime than others for example, they believe traits such as aggression and risk taking are inborn in the person and this causes them to commit crimes. They also think that the socialisation of the person leads to their tendency towards crime. They believe, like conservatives and new rightist, that the nuclear family is the best form of socialisation and avoiding crime.
The results, of the crime control model are wrongful convictions, being over-turned and this is a major downfall in the criminal justice system. On the other hand the due process model is more concerned with the structure and the efficiency of the law. The due process focuses on evidences and facts in a case and ensures that a person in innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. In addition the due process model goal is the prevention and the elimination of crimes within the criminal justice
Acts of armed robbery that end in violence or homicide tend to render the public outraged and give their voice a stronger demand for justice to be done. If we choose to take the stance that our criminal justice system is mean to only keep society safe and that justice is carried out then we need to recognize that the laws we have in place currently are set in place to do so. In theory we could see how enforcing a harsher sentence to those who choose to commit violent acts or armed robbery would work as a deterrent to prevent criminals from committing the act as often as they do
The rewards can involve money or even a sense of gratification according to sociologist Jack Katz in the text book Criminal Justice in action when said “’rewards’ of crime may be sensual as well as financial. The inherent Danger, according to Katz, increases the ‘rush’ a criminal experiences on successfully committing a crime” (pg32). Not all Crimes are fun and games. They do have their costs such as probation and jail time this is because it deters the thought process in doing right from wrong. This can be found in the text Criminal Justice in Action when stated “Because crime is seen as the end result of a series of rational choices, policy makers have reasoned that severe
Cesare Lombroso (CL) was a Psychiatrist that believed that criminals had common facial characteristics and that they were “born criminals” which he also referred to as “atavisms”. His theory was that genetic factors or abnormalities that are inherited influence individuals to commit crime and that it was the individuals destiny to become a criminal`. This can be identified through the shape of their skulls, large ears and lips, long arms and a flattened nose. He also believed that men were more likely to commit crime than woman as they were more narrow-minded of their interests. CL theory has been largely criticised as it is very much descriptive based rather than experimental.
Why do people engage in these violent criminal acts? Do people have the choice and free will or do individuals have certain traits that make who they are? Cesare Beccaria, the founder of the classical theory, “believed that criminals weighed the benefits and consequences of crime before choosing to violate the law. They would be unlikely to choose crime if punishments were swift, certain, and severe” (Siegel, page 84).
We can divide realist approaches along political lines: - Right Realists - Share the New Right or neo-conservative political outlook. - Left Realists - Are socialists and favour quite different policies of reducing crime. Right Realism - They see crime, especially street crime, as a real and growing problem that destroys communities, undermines social cohesion and threatens society’s work ethic. - Right realist views on crime correspond closely with those of neo-conservative governments during the 1970s and 1980s. The Causes of Crime - Right realists reject the idea put forward by Marxists and others that structural or economic factors such as poverty and inequality are the cause for crime.
Comparing Functionalism and Marxism on Crime and Deviance This assignment will compare and contrast Functionalism and Marxism on crime and deviance. The functionalist view of crime is that it is a threat to social order. Someone who commits a crime or a deviant act has gone against the norms and values of society. Functionalist’s believe in the nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate. Some people are socialised into crime, some functionalists, however such as Emile Durkheim see crime as being normal and an integral part of all healthy societies.