Criminal Acts and Choices Sandra Garcia Criminal Justice CJA/204 September 14, 2011 Leroy Hendrix, MS Criminals are often categorized or labeled as the bad seeds of society or the rejects and failures. Those are the individuals that make the choice of disobeying the law and decide to live the life of a felon. Those criminal behaviors later on result to becoming habitual and progressive towards severe crimes being committed. However, for every action there is a reason to better understand the mind of a criminal certain theories have been introduced to the criminal justice system to gain knowledge in why people commit crime and what can be done to prevent it from occurring. In this paper choice theories will be identified and how they
Being a criminal or deviant could be seen to be a social construct and therefore this may mean that you could question what criminal activity is and whether this social construct is even right since it has been constructed by members of the society. The laws of the society have also constructed the norms and values of society and therefore if someone were to go against that they would be seen to be criminal however, this may differ in other parts of the world because what may be criminal and deviant in our society may be seen to be the norm in another. The labelling theory helps us to understand why people commit crimes and why people end up being deviant within the community. One reason may be that this stereotypical view or pre-judgement enables people to self-fulfil their prophecy and therefore creates criminal for example. Someone who comes from poor background and where’s hoodies does not automatically mean that they could be deviant.
Assess the usefulness of subcultural theories in explaining ‘subcultural crime and deviance’ in society today. The term subcultural crime and deviance is another way of describing the violation of laws or social norms by various groups within society. These groups have been explored in depth by many sociologists and they have attempted to explain subcultural crime and deviance through the existence of deviant subcultures. Originally, the work of Merton surrounding strain theory claimed that when there was a strain between the goals of society and the means of obtaining the goals then people would turn to crime. However subcultural theorists developed this idea claiming that people experiencing strain seek different forms of success.
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.
I think it is clear that young people are not deterred from bad behavior by just the fear of punishment. Kids know then a person's “bark is bigger than their bite.” At the same time,if a young person sees someone else get punished for problem behavior, this might deter them by proxy. The idea of general deterrence is that just one punishment is enough todeter other people if the situation is taken care of quickly enough. General deterrencerelies on the idea that, if young people believe that society both intends to punish criminalacts and that they are able to, they will be deterred from committing a crime by thesefactors and this awareness. One example of this is that more police officers can go onto the police force, so that the young person sees them everywhere and believes that they mightcatch them.
The theory claims that learning crime takes place through observing people (like peers, parents and so on), from there if the person if exposed to more pro-criminal attitudes than anti-criminal attitudes then they are more likely to offend. This was supported by Farrington who carried out a longitudinal study of 411 boys from deprived areas from ages 8 till 50years. After the study, they found out that criminality developed in a context of inappropriate role models and dysfunctional systems of reward and punishment. Although this study seems to show that criminality develops from the environment methodological issues have to be taken into account. A limitation using a longitudinal study is that participants might withdraw from the study which might be an under representative of how criminality is measured.
More significant is that cases of cases of youthful offenders are on the rise on among the young female compared to their male counterparts and this situation is raising an alarm (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1999). Children who are at the risk of offending in the future are treated separately from the adults. This is given special attention reason being that they require rehabilitation to get back from the bad behavior unlike adults who require punishment. Intervention facilitates in changing the antisocial characteristics which, if not
The book, which I choose to analyze for my paper was Dealing Crack: The social world of streetcorner selling by Bruce A Jacobs . The book goes into detail on the lives of crack dealers and tries to attempt reasoning as to why they do it. What their life styles are like and how lawmakers and the police react to what they do. In this paper I am going to analyze the rational theory to the differential association theory in attempt to see which one is more effective in proving how crime is committed and what policies work the best for the public based on the styles of these theories. One of the major theories portrayed in the book was rational choice.
The decision to transfer these youths can bring adverse consequences to the youths. Prosecution of these youths in open criminal courts exposes them to criminals known to have committed serious offenses than them. Eventually, they may resort into learning how to commit similar crimes. Additionally, erosion of their civil rights is a problem allied to such a transfer. In various scenarios, such a transfer fails to curb the increasing rate of recidivism, therefore, the deterioration of the security of community’s security.
People being labelled (negatively) will always be affected according to their label, and society plays an important role in the labelling process. In the next few paragraphs the contribution of Becker as an exponent of the labelling perspective will be discussed along with the process of labelling and the typology of deviants. Labelling as a cause of crime According to the Study Guide (The explanation of crime), Becker shortly discussed the way different sets of rules affect the theory of labelling as a cause of crime while developing his theory. This labelling theory, also known as the societal reaction theory does not only define deviants, it can also make them. When someone is labelled an offender they are forced by society to live according to this label which could minimise their chances of being law abiding citizens and limit their chances of finding decent jobs.