Posted: August 13th, 2013
WA # 4
Development of rational choice theory
Rational choice theory developed out of the exchange theory that based its assumptions from behavioral psychology. It was later extended to form a more formal model based on rational choice. The theory has developed over the years to become even mathematical and capable of being used across many social areas including crime (Bercea 2013).
Concept of rational choice
Rational choice is based on the concept that people are individualistic and seek maximum benefit, which governs their decision and choice. People are self-interested mostly thinking about themselves as well as how to achieve their goals (Siegel 131). It is also based on the belief that man is a rational being capable of weighing the means and ends as well as cost and benefits and cause and effect in order to make a rational decision (Bercea 2013). In crime, it is assumed that people commit crime in an effort to meet the goals of the offender for such things as money, excitement and status amongst other needs.
How offenders structure criminality
Offenders or criminals take into consideration their needs as well as abilities before they engage in crime. Some of the important decisions they make before engaging in crime is a need for money and personal satisfaction. Some have to learn several strategies for maneuvering law and security (Siegel 131).
How criminals structure crime
Before engaging in crime, the offenders have to calculate their move and make a target. They have to find out where the crime will occur, to whom it will occur as well as how. When one target appears to be tougher of probably dangerous, they look for another one that is more vulnerable.
Crime is rational
It is assumed crime is rational. Considering that human beings are rational, they weigh the cost of crime and the benefit of crime. For instance, drug peddlers weigh the cost of selling their goods while under cover or the cost of being caught to the benefit they get. In many cases, the benefit if one is not caught is usually higher. Some other costs could involve fines, where the offender weighs the fine as the cost of crime and the profit gained as the net benefit. Crime is rational as well considering criminals acts on their personal goals as well as what they stand to gain out of the crime (Siegel 131).
Seductions of crime
Seduction of crimes assumes that criminals do not engage in crime because of the material gain as the main objective. Rather, it is the excitement of getting away with the actions. For instance, a teenage shoplifter is not just interested in the loot, but also the sensual excitement of outsmarting security. It is what drives criminals to engage in crime. Were it just money, there re many ways they could make money other than engaging in crime.
Elements of situational crime prevention
Situational crime prevention focuses on reducing the opportunities for committing crime or factors that discourage criminals from engaging in criminal behavior. It focuses on environmental factors that contribute to crime, rational choice and routine activities such the availability of target, offender and lack of a person around. It tries to avoid the availability of all this situations that create an opportunity to crime (Siegel 131). Unlike other methods, it does not focus on punishment but ways that eliminate the opportunities for crime by studying the environment of certain place (Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge 2011).
Elements of general deterrence
The major aim of general deterrence is ensuring that people are intimidated enough not to commit crime. This is done through the punishment imposed by the law. It aims to deter crime by setting an example of the consequences that follow after one commits a crime. Its main element is threatening where people are afraid of committing crime because of the likely consequence. Unlike the situational crime presentation, it focuses on deterring crime by laying an example from other criminals already convicted.
Basic concepts of specific deterrence
Specific deterrence aims at reducing crime through imposing a real punishment on the offender of sentencing him or her in order to prevent them from re-offending. Specific deterrence occurs when one receives the actual punishment stipulated by the law for the particular crime committed. When one is convicted, a specific deterrence has occurred.
Pros and cons of applying an incapacitation strategy to reduce crime
Incapacitation as a way of reducing crime is an easier way of getting rid of the criminals by incarcerating them in jails where they cannot commit any crime. This manages to reduce crime within the community. One of the cons of applying incapacitation strategy to reduce crime is that upon release or when incapacitation ends, one cannot be sure that the criminal will not go back to crime again. Incapacitation may not be permanent. Therefore, when
Should the Aurora shooter get the death penalty? Why or why not? What reasons would choice theory give for the Aurora shooter committing this crime?
The shooter should get a death sentence considering he killed 12 people in a movie theater, which is considered homicide. This is because murder is punishable by death sentence and it would deter other potential shooters from committing such as crime. The choice theory would give reasons such as seduction of crime or the satisfaction that one gets. It might have been out of personal issues that conflicted inside him and probably wanted to gain a status.
Trait theory and insanity defense in Colorado
Trait theory is an approach that focuses on the personality of human beings. It aims at defining the traits of a person that are frequent or those that can identify a person. As per this theory, the traits of human beings are different with each individual and persist for a long time, influencing behavior of people. If it was found that, the shooter was suffering from a mental condition at the time of the shooting, he might plead guilty on the count of insanity. He was probably not acting in his right mind.
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