Essay: Theories of Crime

Pages: 4 (1346 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … respect to the State of Connecticut's juvenile diversion programs, the best way to ensure that these are producing the desired goal is to determine how such programs impact the tendency toward juvenile delinquent or, in eventuality, adult criminal recidivism. A study on the program would use one diversion program as a pilot, with all individuals entering into this program being part of the experimental group. A control group would be comprised of a set population of individuals entered into traditional juvenile detention settings.

Using a meta-analysis design to assess outcomes, the research study would compare the proclivity amongst members of both the control and experimental group toward criminal behavior and incarceration. It is anticipated that those in the experimental group would be less prone to recidivism during the subsequent two years during which measurements would occur. The independent variable is the type of juvenile program into which the subject is placed and the dependent variable is the tendency toward recidivism. The t-test would be the most suitable mode of statistical analysis for contended with two sample groups that are largely independent of one another.

2.

The mayor's effort to better understand the forces that motivate or cause crime should begin with a clearer understanding of 'strain theory.' This implies that while it may be our sense in mainstream society that certain criminal acts are inherently 'wrong' or deviant, within certain cultural contexts these behaviors become more socially acceptable. For instance, in inner-city neighbhorhoods where drug trade and gang violence are the norm, individuals may grow up without a sense of these activities as inherently criminal. Or, where there is a recognition of the criminal nature of these activities, this is largely subsumed by the cultural and social pressures to assimilate to encompassing circumstances. Truly, where strain theory is concerned, the only way of undermining its impact is to improve the circumstances and contexts in which these behaviors have become normative. This means that the mayor's program should focus on bringing jobs, assistance and opportunity to those contexts where criminal activity has become the only clear and apparent opportunity. Success should be defined in these contexts by reduced rates of criminal incarceration and in specific categories such as violent crimes.

Control Theory is another criminological theory, but one which departs significantly from the ideas of strain theory. This concept denotes that individuals prone to criminal activity are the subjects of their own poor will power or limited self-control. This may be derived circumstantially or completely from within the illegally acting individual. However, control theory suggests that as opposed to far-reaching sociological patterns, some individuals are simply more prone to criminal activity or, due to their circumstances, are particularly vulnerable to falling into a pattern of criminal activity based on certain personality dimensions. This theory suggests that crime most typically occurs at the individual level and that if we as a town are to eliminate these acts, police presence as a deterrent is the key. The best way to determine if this method is working is to measure the rate of crimes in a given context. Reduced rates of crime in areas where police presence is heightened may be used to evaluate the success of preventing individual acts of crime.

3.

Determining the competence of defendant is critical to protecting individual rights under the terms of the Constitution. One of the most critical aspects of a fair and equitable system is establishing certainty that the individual on trial understands the nature of the charges brought before him and the potential legal consequences of these charges.

Competence is generally determined by an assessment tool intended to measure the defendant's mental faculties. This differs from a determination of insanity, which measures the defendant's capacity to differentiate between right and wrong. With competence, the question revolves more directly on the comprehensive capability of the individual to understand his actions and their consequences.

4.

For many juvenile offenders who engage in criminal activity, the behaviors that transgress legal standards are frequently done consciously and even as a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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