Essay - Comparing/contrasting Theories of Criminal Behavior Rational Choice Theory Compared to...

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Comparing/contrasting theories of criminal behavior

Rational Choice Theory compared to Labeling and Radical *****

The Rational Choice ***** of the causes of ***** behavior is essentially based on ***** assumpti***** that criminals rationally make decisions that motivate and lead them ***** commit criminal acts. ***** theory emphasizes individual choice and the personal decision-making process in an attempt to underst***** the causes ***** crime. The strength of this ***** is ***** it focuses on the ***** ********** on his or her logical and rational decisions ***** attain certain goals. "According to Felson and Clarke (1998), ***** rational choice perspective ***** upon the *****fender's decision-making. Its main ********** is that offending is purposive behavior, designed ***** benefit the offender in some way." (Rational Choice Perspective)

********** t***** theory differs from other theories of crim*****al behavior such as Labeling Theory in that it focuses on pers*****al ***** *****dividual concerns rather than outside factors. In effect the theory involves viewing the causes of crime in terms of an *****alys***** that looks at the costs and benefits of the decision that ***** person makes. It is also characterized by an analysis that attempts to see the ***** from the criminal's viewpoint.

Rational choice theorizing in crim*****ology is really quite down to earth, trying ***** ***** the world from the offender's perspective. ***** seeks to understand how the offender makes crime *****s, driven ***** a particular motive within a specific setting, which offers ***** opportunities to sat*****fy that motive. Rational choice ***** has an image of the *****fender who thinks before he *****, even if only for a moment, taking into account some ***** and costs in *****ting the offence. (The Rational Choice Perspective: The Home Office, 1988)

The theory of rational choice is based on the work of early classical theorists such as Jeremy Bentham and their views of human behavior which emph*****ized the following aspects:

1) The human being is a rational actor, (2) *****ity involves an end/means calculation, (3) People (freely) choose all behavior, both conforming and deviant, based on ***** rational calculations, (4) The central element of calculation ***** a cost benefit *****: Pleasure versus Pain, (5) Choice, with all other conditions equal, will be directed towards the maximization of individual pleasure, (6) ***** can be controlled through the perception and understanding ***** the potential pain or punishment that will follow an act judged to ***** in violation of ***** social good, the social contract. (Keel, R. 2004)

This theoretical standpoint is based on other assumpti*****s about human behavior. *****se include the following: humans are essenti*****y goal ***** and act with purpose; they have hierarchical needs and preferences and make choices according to this hierarchy of needs. (Turner Jona*****, 1991)

The theory of rational choice also acknowledges that there are various constraints and mitigating factors involved when analyzing the ***** of crime in ***** of human rationality. These ***** factors ***** need to be considered within the broad overall ***** framework. RCT or Rational Choice Theory involves decision-making which can be..."constrained by


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