Al Capone's Reason for Crime Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1359 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Al Capone's Reason For Crime:

In 1931, Capone was indicted for income tax evasion that occurred during the years 1925 and 1929. In addition, Capone was also charged with the offense of failing to file tax returns for the years between 1928 and 1929. As a result, the government charged that he owed $200,000 in taxes from his gambling profits. A third indictment was added in which Capone was charged with conspiracy to infringe Prohibition laws from 1922 to 1931. There are various theories that can be used to help in explaining Capone's involvement in the crimes he was convicted of. Some of these major theories that can identify the reason for Capone's involvement in the offenses are the General Strain Theory and Merton's Theory of Anomie. The basis for Merton's Theory of Anomie is that opportunities to get to the top are unequally distributed in a class-oriented society. On the contrary, the General Strain Theory argues that a person's criminal behavior is closely associated with anger and frustration when he/she receives unwanted treatment in a social relationship.

Al Capone's Criminal Record:

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Al Capone is not only the best known gangster in the United States, but he is also the single greatest indication of the collapse of law and order in America during the Prohibition era of the 1920s ("Al Capone," par, 1). This is because he played a leading and significant role in criminal activities that contributed to Chicago's reputation as a lawless city. Generally, Al Capone grew in a rough society and neighborhood where he became a member of two gangs during his childhood years. Despite being bright, Capone quit school at the age of 14 years while in the sixth grade. Since then, his life was characterized by criminal behavior through involvement in various criminal gangs including the Brooklyn Rippers, the Forty Thieves Juniors, and Five Points.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Al Capone's Reason for Crime Assignment

Based on this case study, the government indicted and charged Capone for his alleged tax evasion and violation of Prohibition laws in three different instances. These three instances include the income tax evasion from 1925 to 1929, failure to file tax returns for 1928 and 1929, and conspiracy to infringe the Prohibition laws between 1922 and 1931. Notably, Capone's income tax evasion and the failure to file tax returns contributed to a debt of $200,000 in taxes from his gambling profits. The involvement of Capone in these criminal offenses, especially in violation of the Prohibition laws during this period was an indication that there are various reasons that contributed to his involvement in crime.

Generally, there are various theories that have been developed in the field of criminology to help in dissecting the reasons for a person's involvement in criminal activities and behavior. One of these theories in Merton's Theory of Anomie that emphasizes on two significant elements in any society i.e. cultural aspirations or the objectives people are striving for and the accepted or institutionalized ways for achieving desired results. The stability of a society requires the reasonable integration of these two elements whereas disparity between them contributes to frustration, which results in strain. Through this theory Merton argues that lower class people have the greatest proportion of crime because they have lesser opportunities to achieve their goals legally ("Strain and Cultural Deviance Theories," p. 109).

As a revision of Merton's theory, the General Strain Theory states that the failure to attain material goals is not the only reason for involvement in crime but anger and frustration contributes to committing offenses because of mistreatment in a social relationship. The two theories apply to Capone's case in the tax evasion and violation of Prohibition laws because his actions may have been caused by failure to achieve material gains in the class-oriented society, anger, and frustration from the unhealthy social relationship.

How the Theories Apply:

The application of these theories in explaining Al Capone's involvement in the tax evasion offenses and violation of Prohibition laws can be identified through an examination of Capone's history or background. As previously mentioned, Al Capone is widely known as a notorious gangster who managed… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Al Capone's Reason for Crime" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Al Capone's Reason for Crime.  (2012, November 12).  Retrieved October 16, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Al Capone's Reason for Crime."  12 November 2012.  Web.  16 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Al Capone's Reason for Crime."  November 12, 2012.  Accessed October 16, 2021.