Theories of crime

A theory is a systematic arrangement of facts with respect to some real or hypothetic laws. According to Freda Adler, Gerhard O.

Theories of crime

Historically, there are three broad theoretical models of criminal behavior: A psychological B sociological C biological All infer different methods of control, but it is difficult to completely separate the three categories as it is generally accepted that all three of the factors play a role in the expression of behavior.

Moreover, psychological science consists of several disciplines including biological psychology and social psychology, so psychological principles could be applied across all three domains. However, there are some general principles associated with each of these paradigms that would be associated with some specific crime control policies.

This results in admittedly narrow definition for each of the categories, but it does simplify the discussion herein. Psychological Approaches There a many different psychological models of criminal behavior ranging from early Freudian notions to later cognitive and social psychological models.

I cannot review them all here. Instead, I will list the several fundamental assumptions of psychological theories of criminality and human behavior in general. The individual is the primary unit of analysis in psychological theories. Personality is the major motivational element that drives behavior within individuals.

Normality is generally defined by social consensus. Crimes then would result from abnormal, dysfunctional, or inappropriate mental processes within the personality of the individual. Criminal behavior may be purposeful for the individual insofar as it addresses certain felt needs.

Defective, or abnormal, mental processes may have a variety of causes, i. The last assumption of the psychological model would suggest that a variety of different causes or reasons exist for criminal behavior and that general principles targeted at the individual would be effective for crime control.

Theories of crime

However, the model also assumes that there is a subset of a psychological criminal type, defined currently as antisocial personality disorder in the DSM-IV and previously defined as the sociopath or psychopath APA, This type of criminal exhibits deviant behavior early in life and is associated with self-centeredness, a lack of empathy, and a tendency to see others as tools for their ends.

Controls for these individuals would be more extreme and general public policies may not be stringent enough to curb the behavior in this small subset of criminals. Given these six principles to establish psychological explanations of criminal behavior, we can suggest first that traditional imprisonment, fines, and other court sanctions are based on operant learning models of behavior for crime control.

Operant learning models are based on the utilitarian concepts that all people wish to maximize pleasure and minimize pain or discomfort. Skinnerian based social psychological theories of reinforcement and punishment are influential in this model of criminal control although the idea of punishment for crime has a much longer history Jeffery, Technically speaking, punishments are any sanctions designed to decrease a specific behavior; thus, fines, jail sentences, etc.

However, Skinner himself recognized that punishment was generally ineffective in behavior modification and that reinforcement worked better e. A caveat should be applied here: Punishment is effective if applied properly, but unfortunately it rarely is applied properly.

Punishment needs to be immediate or as close to the time the offense as possibleinescapable, and sufficiently unpleasant in fact, the more it is subjectively perceived as harsh, the better.

Given the judicial system in the U. Nonetheless, punishments and sanctions for criminal behavior are based on behavioral psychological principles. Because harsh forms of punishment do not appear to significantly decrease recidivism rates, other psychological principles have been applied.

In terms of cognitive behavioral psychological principles, rehabilitation and relearning, retraining, or educational programs for offenders are forms of psychologically based methods to control crime. These methods are based on the cognitive behavioral methods of teaching an alternative functional response in place of a formally dysfunctional one as opposed to simple punishment.

These programs can take place in prisons or outside of the prison and have long been demonstrated to be successful e.Apr 22,  · Challenge your perception of crime with Criminology Made Easy: A Simple Introduction to Criminology Theories.

Choice Theory – Choice theory is the belief that individuals choose to commit a crime, looking at the opportunities before them, weighing the benefit versus the punishment, and deciding whether to proceed or Tania.

CRIME CAUSATION: SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES This entry focuses on the three major sociological theories of crime and delinquency: strain, social learning, and control theories.

It then briefly describes several other important theories of crime, most of which represent elaborations of these three theories. Finally, efforts to develop integrated theories of crime are briefly discussed. 1 Theories and causes of crime Introduction There is no one ‘cause’ of crime.

Crime is a highly complex phenomenon that changes across cultures.

Theories of crime

– Concentric zone theory is a variation that argues that crime increases toward the inner city area. Social Ecology • One of the key ideas of the social ecology of crime is the fact that high rates of crime and other problems persist within the same neighborhoods over long periods of time regardless of .

1 Theories and causes of crime Introduction There is no one ‘cause’ of crime. Crime is a highly complex phenomenon that changes across cultures.

Apr 22,  · Giving children an alternative to a life of crime is necessary under this theory of criminology. A Common Goal. Each theory has its own basis to explain why individuals commit crimes but as you can see, some overlap.

Whatever the theory may be, the end goal of lessening the occurrence of all crimes is commonly Tania.

Criminology Theories: The Varied Reasons Why People Commit Crimes