Rational Choice Theory_ Trait Theories 9_26.docx - Rational Choice Theory Rational Choice theory posits that crime is a rational decision to violate any

Rational Choice Theory_ Trait Theories 9_26.docx - Rational...

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Rational Choice Theory - Rational Choice theory posits that crime is a rational decision to violate any law and is made for a variety of reasons including greed, revenge, need, anger, lust, jealousy, thrill-seeking, or vanity - WHY CRIME? -- The core premise of the rational choice theory is that some people choose crime under some circumstances > The development of rational choice - During the early middle ages (1200 - 1400s) - Superstition and fear of satanic possession dominated thinking - During the renaissance (1400 - 1600s) - The ‘social contract’ emerges to explain human nature and behavior - During the enlightenment (1600 - 1700s) - Bentham embraced the view that human behavior was a result of rational thought and process Cesare Beccaria The development of rational classical criminology is most closely identified with the thoughts of Beccaria (1738-1794) People chose all behavior, including criminal behavior People’s choices are designed to bring pleasure and reduce pain Criminal choices can be controlled by fear of punishment Punishment must be proportional to the seriousness of crime; if not, people would commit more serious offenses- known as marginal deterrence The more severe the punishment the more able to control the criminal Classical Criminology People have free will Crime promises a huge payoff People make choices based upon perceived rewards and punishments Punishments much bet severe, certain, and swift to convince criminals that “crime does not pay” By the end of the nineteenth century, the popularity of the classical approach declined By the mid-20th century, positivistic views gained mainstream acceptance
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Poverty, IQ, education, home life believed to be true causes of crimin Contemporary choice theory emerges (mid 1970s) Impact on crime control - 1980s: Conservative views shaped justice policy > The Concepts of Rational Choice - Choosing crime - Law-violating behavior occurs when an offender decides to risk breaking the law after considering both personal and situational factors - Offense and Offender - Offense-specific crime: - Offender-specific crime: - Structuring Criminality - A number of personal factors conditions people to choose crime: - ECONOMIC opportunity - Learning and experience - Knowledge of criminal techniques - Structuring Crime - Decisions must be made about what, where, when and whom to target - Choosing the Type of Crime - The choice of crime may be dictated by market conditions - Choosing the time and place of crime- criminal behavior may be altered according to shifting opportunity structures - Selecting the target of crime > Is Crime Rational? * - Is theft rational?
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  • Fall '08
  • Arnone

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