CJ203 Juvenile Justice Grantham University Criminal Behavior Theories Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal behavior theories. Which theory

CJ203 Juvenile Justice Grantham University Criminal Behavior Theories Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the criminal behavior theories. Which theory do you think is most applicable to the cause of criminal behavior today and why? Support your answer.2-3 pages double spacedUse at least two reliable sources other than the text (not Wikipedia)No plagiarism, please! Make sure you use in-text citations in the Assignment. Chapter 3
I. Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending
a. Justice and the Law
i. Mala in se – Natural law – acts that are wrong by their very nature –
murder – acts which disregard the common decency one human owes to
another are morally and legally wrong
ii. Mala prohibita – Acts prohibited because they infringe on others’ rights –
having more than one wife
b. Purposes of the Law
i. Max Weber – to regulate human interactions, to support social order
ii. Consensus Theory – Society agrees on basic values – what is inherently
right or wrong, and laws express these values
1. Emile Durkheim – punishment needed to restore and solidify social
iii. Conflict Theory – Laws are established to keep the dominant class in
1. Karl Marx – punishment needed to control the lower class and
preserve the power of the upper class
c. Two Competing Views on Crime and Criminality
i. The Classical View
1. Individuals have free will and are responsible for their own actions
2. Laws should bring the greatest amount of happiness to the largest
amount of people
3. Law-breakers should be punished according to the law
4. Focus is on the crime
5. Punishment should be swift, certain, and proportionately severe
regarding the crime committed
6. Punishment or the threat of punishment can act as a deterrent
1. General deterrence – Learn from punishment received by
2. Specific deterrence – Learn from punishment received by
individual – does not repeat delinquency
ii. The Positivist View
1. Actions determined by biological and cultural factors
2. Purpose of law is to avert revolution and convince the masses to
accept the social order
3. Focus is on the criminal
4. Advocate for rehabilitation for offenders instead of incarceration
d. Theories of Crime and Criminality
i. Rational Choice Theory – Crime is a conscious decision committed when the
benefits of a crime outweigh the costs.
1. Lifestyle Theory – Criminal behavior is one part of an anti-social
2. Routine Activity theory – Crime is a conscious choice when three
factors are present
1. Availability of a suitable target
2. Absence of a capable guardian
3. Presence of a motivated offender
ii. Biosocial Perspective – Crime committed by different people based on
differences in the brain
1. Heritability – the degree to which genetic factors influence traits or
2. Family studies – biological factors proven to have an impact on
criminality through family studies, twin studies, adoption studies,
molecular genetic studies, and brain research and imaging
iii. Psychological Theories – Individual factors and temperamental traits, such
as low impulse control, intelligence, and learned values and morals,
differentiate delinquents from non-delinquents
1. Cognitive Theories – Difference in ideas, values and ways of
thinking, and how one sees the world cause delinquency
2. Psychodynamic Theories – Freud – id, ego and superego, lack of
development through the proper stages as a child result in
pyschopathy or sociopathy
3. Learning Theories – Learning of behavior occurs when one is
rewarded for certain behaviors and punished for others. Rewards can
be as simple as peer acceptance for committing a crime, which
encourages youth to continue to commit crimes
iv. Sociological Theories – Criminal behavior is influenced by the social
environment and is out of the control of the individual
1. Ecological Model – Criminality growth similar to nature – Invasion,
Domination, Stabilization/acceptance – Concentric zones in urban
2. Social Disorganization Theory – Weakened community controls
creates a subcultural cycle of delinquency; Five indicators
1. Residents of low socioeconomic status
2. High racial heterogeneity
3. High mobility
4. Dysfunctional families
5. Urbanization
3. Functionalism – Consensus Theory – crime and deviance serve
greater purposes for society
1. Promote social solidarity
2. Clarify and maintain social boundaries
4. Anomie or Strain Theory – Those who are unable to reach
culturally relevant goals turn to crime in order to succeed
5. Social Control Theories – Focuses on why people do not
commit crime – social bond with family and community
discourages criminal behavior
v. Learning Theories – Identified as both psychological and sociological
theories – Criminal behavior can be learned by observation or participation
1. Differential Association Theory – Criminal behavior learned through
communication within intimate groups; Criminal behavior continues
because of positive reinforcement
vi. Critical Theories – Combine free will and deterministic theories, crime is
committed because of both personal choice and societal constraints
1. Labeling Theory – When one acts delinquent they are labeled as such,
this makes it more difficult to have non-delinquent friends and
encourages them to associate with others labeled as delinquent, thus
reinforcing their criminal behavior
1. Primary deviance – the initial criminal act
2. Secondary deviance – acceptance of the label and future
criminal behavior
2. Conflict theory – Crime caused by the powerlessness of one group,
and the attempts of the other group to maintain power and control
3. Radical theory – Crime caused by intra- and inter- class struggles as
well as the encouragement of exploitation
e. General Theories of Crime
i. Agnew – combines other theories into a more complete
theory of crime
ii. Eight basic proponents – Focuses on life domains and
effects on one another

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