Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending
Chapter 3 Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending Why do some kids commit crimes… and how come some kids don’t?

2 Where do Laws come from? Laws may be “natural” or “man made.”
Natural law – basic rules, same everywhere. Mores – critical norms crucial to safety & survival. Mala in se crimes = acts that are immoral or wrong themselves, stable over time and culture. ___________________________________________ Man made law – encompasses natural law and other acts as well. Folkways – expectations that change in cultures. Mala prohibita crimes = acts that infringe on others’ rights, change over time, statutory law.

3 Laws – Do we really need them?
Max Weber says we need them to regulate human interactions and support social order, but law has served many purposes: Protect the interests of society Deter antisocial behavior Enforce moral beliefs Support those in power Uphold individual rights Identify lawbreakers Punish lawbreakers Seek retribution for wrongdoing

4 Consensus vs. Conflict Theory
Consensus Theory – Individuals agree on basic values and define what is right and wrong then laws express these values Dates back to Plato & Aristotle Social Contract Theory – (Thomas Hobbs) free people agree to form a community and give up some of their individual freedoms to benefit the security of the entire group. Laws express values. Social Solidarity – (Durkheim) punishment is necessary to preserve the values of society and revenge is necessary to restore moral order. Emile Durkheim, France , “Punishment transforms a threat to social order into a triumph of social solidarity” 2 elements of Durkheim’s perspective: 1. Crime is defined as conduct that is “universally disapproved of by members of society” 2. “An act is criminal when it offends strong and defined states of the collective conscience.” Durkheim says criminal law synthesizes society’s morality and establishes boundaries that cannot be crossed without threatening society’s very existence. Durkheim established the concept of anomie, i.e., normlessness as the result of society’s failure to distinguish between right and wrong

5 Consensus Theory continued
Emile Durkheim believed punishment of crimes: Preserves shared values of society Transforms threat to social order into a triumph of social solidarity Reinforces that authorities are in control Reinforces that crime is an aberration Restores and solidifies social order 2 key elements of Social Solidarity theory: Involvement of general population with punishment gives punishment legitimacy Punishment is an emotional and passionate reaction to crime Anomie = breakdown of norms

6 Conflict Theory – Laws are established to keep the dominant class in power Criminal Justice reflects unequal distribution of power. DMC criminal laws focus on minorities and disadvantaged. Segregation laws Vagrancy laws Focus shifts from law making to law enforcement. Public demands more attention to “street crimes” which are applied predominantly to minorities and poor citizens. Conflict theory shifts focus from lawBREAKING to lawMAKING and law ENFORCEMENT. The administration of criminal justice reflects the unequal distribution of power in society – for example segregation laws and vagrancy laws. Conflict theory suggests criminal laws are aimed at behavior engaged in mostly by the socioeconomically disadvantaged. Karl Marx ( ) and Engels wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848. Although poor are more likely to beg, steal and commit other crimes, a more lasting response, i.e, creating jobs, financial assistance, eduction, etc. require a constructive community-wide plan and investment. Is it easier to say that people are poor because they are lazy, morally inferior , or criminally minded and simply jail them?

7 Marxist Theory continued
MARXIST PERSPECTIVE Marx believed punishment: Enhances power of upper class Is used to control the lower class Marxism in American Juvenile Justice History Crime is seen a response to poverty, and rather than provide vocational training, job opportunities, and financial assistance, the “Child Savers” investigated “unsuitable” homes and removed poor children to “preferable” environments and moral education. Instead of fixing the economic inequities, the focus was on “rescuing” the children. Marxist Theory continued

8 Competing World Views Classical World View – Humans have free will and are responsible for their own behavior. (Cesare Beccaria, 1764) Laws should provide happiness to most people. Harsh and immediate punishment will deter crime, but must be in proportion to the harm. Incapacitation, NOT rehabilitation, is the purpose of incarceration or institutionalization. “Just deserts” (they get what they deserve) is a legitimate purposes of criminal law. Focus is on the crime (in contrast with juvenile justice). Contemporary version is rational choice theory. Punishment is effective deterrent Specific Deterrence General Deterrence Threat of punishment doesn’t work so well for juveniles because they believe they won’t be caught and are more influenced by peer pressure. Sometimes social consequences of NOT committing the crime seen as more undesirable than the consequences of breaking the law, i.e., rejection by the gang

9 Competing World Views Positivist World View – Humans are shaped by society, environmental and cultural influences. Criminals are BORN with a predisposition toward crime, but environment influences outcome. Human actions are determined by biological and cultural factors, NOT free will. Purpose of law is to prevent revolution and reinforce social order. Focus is on the criminal rather than the crime. Treatment and rehabilitation, NOT punishment , will prevent future crimes. Lombroso is considered the father of modern criminology.

10 Competing World Views Positivist World View continued:
Cesare Lombroso ( ) studied brains of criminals and believed criminals were born with a predisposition to crime and believed the primary cause of criminal behavior is biological. Determinism – Human behavior is a product of multiple environmental influences. Treatment/rehabilitation for crime involves altering one or more of the factors that caused the unlawful behavior.

11 What Causes Crime and Delinquency?
Free Will? Biology? (genetic, chemical, neurological) Psychology? (social learning, cognitive, psychoanalytic) Society? (ecological, disorganization, functionalism, strain, learning, social control) Combination of the above? (labeling, conflict, class struggles) Victims?? (Really!?!)

12 Rational Choice Theory
Crime and Delinquency are product of conscious decisions made by weighing, in advance, the costs and benefits of illegal behavior. Lifestyle Theory – crime is one part of an antisocial, high-risk lifestyle that.

13 Victimization Theory Victimization Theories – Victims contribute to or cause crime by certain behaviors or by placing themselves in danger. Routine Activity Theory – identifies three elements necessary for crime: A motivated offender A suitable target Lack of a capable guardian Victim theories hold that victims put themselves in environments with motivated offenders and lack of guardians thereby creating the opportunity for crime Under Routine Activity Theory – crime can be prevented by addressing any one of the three elements

14 Biosocial Perspective
Propensity for criminal behavior is heritable and interacts with the environment. Hormonal Influences Genetics – brain-based differences (self-control, IQ, aggression and negative emotionality are heritable traits) Family Studies – crime more concentrated in some families Twin Studies – Identical twins more likely to have similar criminal behaviors, even when raised in different households Adoption Studies – adopted children turn out to more like their biological parents than their adoptive parents- especially true for criminal behavior Brain Research Imaging (heavy metals, neurotransmitters, functional MRI allows study of active brains)

15 Can You Spot the Criminals?
Handsome, charismatic l law student Defiant 42 year old black woman Soft spoken southern gentleman Indicted for conspiracy To interfere with business Without a just cause Soft, easy going endomorph Clown at children’s parties Repeat offender - 13 arrests

16 Psychological Theories of Crime
Poor Environment can lead to disturbed personality & antisocial behavior. Criminals are Morally Insane, don’t know right from wrong. Personality develops in early childhood and is not changed by later associations. “I believe that which doesn’t kill us only makes us …stranger.” Certain people have little or no control over their Impulses. There are “Criminal Families.” Mental and Moral Degeneration cause crime. Certain factors differentiate delinquents from nondelinquents: low impulse control, intelligence, callousness, lack of empathy, temperament, personality Acting out may give kids a sense of importance, a way to overcome inadequacy and inferiority 2001 study shows that “being abused or neglected as a child increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59%, arrest as an adult by 28%, and arrest for a violent crime by 30%. Some psychological causes of crime: Criminals are morally insane, they don’t perceive their actions as wrong Personality and future behavior are determined in early childhood. Certain people have deviant personalities where they have little or no control over their impulses. Some families are criminal where later generations gravitate toward crime.

17 Psychodynamic Theory of Crime
Psychoanalytic Perspective– Freud’s theory emphasizes connection between early childhood and personality development. Defense mechanisms such as denial or Rationalization help people make sense of their reality. – refers to how one processes environmental cues. Serious delinquents process their environment through an “aggressive lens” that supports an aggressive world view. Cognitive Theories

18 Sociological Theories of Crime
1. Sociological Theories – Social conditions & environment produce criminal behavior. Criminals are made, not born. Children who are not corrected are more likely to ignore social rules and develop antisocial values. Most serious misbehavior occurs during adolescence. Criminal behavior is the result of: Lack of education, poor housing, low income, slum conditions, conflict within the home, low achievement expectations. A “subculture” that advocates criminal behavior. Learned behavior. Sociology is the study of social structures and human relationships Delinquency may begin when children first enter school, but its most serious manifestations usually occur during adolescence. Many youth will outgrow delinquent behavior with proper parental discipline. Husband and wife researchers at Harvard, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, studied former inmates at the Massachusetts Reformatory and created a predictive index identifying social factors that could predict delinquent behavior. Examples of factors include how children were disciplined and supervised, how much affection was shown in the home, and family cohesiveness. 85% of the residents came from families with other delinquent youth, 45% had a mother w/criminal record, and 66% had father w/criminal record.

19 Sociological Theories of Crime
2. Ecological Model – cities go through same stages of growth as natural environments: Invasion – new species takes hold Domination – new species may take over the environment Stabilization – various species co-exist in a stable “biotic balance” Symbiosis – different species live together in a mutually beneficial relationship 3. Social Ecology Theory – delinquency can be predicted by studying the environment, e.g., gang membership is a normal response to certain social conditions.

20 Sociological Theories of Crime
Social Disorganization Theory – Urban areas produce delinquency because of: weakened social controls, acceptance of delinquent behavior, and little opportunity for legitimate employment. Functionalism – Crime has a purpose and a function and serves a greater purpose for society by: promoting social solidarity and clarifying and maintaining social boundaries. Anomie or Strain Theory – Crime is caused by frustration of lower class within a wealthy society that denies them access to social status and material goods. Crime is produced by strong emphasis on monetary success and weak emphasis on legitimate means of obtaining it. Functionalism, a.k.a., structural functionalism, states that social structure is agreed upon by the majority of society’s members (consensus of values). Crime and deviance have “greater” purposes for society including promoting social solidarity by banding together to administer punishment when one of the members breaks the rules, and clarifying and maintaining social boundaries – laws remind people of acceptable bounds of behavior. Merton (1938) defined the “Anomie or Strain Theory” - Motivations for crimes do not result simply from the flaws, failures or free choices of individuals. Rather, a complete explanation of crime must consider sociocultural environments in which people live. The American Dream (with hard work, anyone can become wealthy) promotes a culture in which the economy dominates all other institutions. Other institutions such as family, education and political system have diminished capacity to curb crime-causing cultural pressures and contribute to high levels of crime. Cohen (1955) applied Merton’s theory to gangs. He believed that acceptance and status were most important to youth who had abandoned middle class values for their own values. Delinquency is caused by social and economic limitations, inadequate family support, developmental handicaps and status frustration. Others have looked at the connection between unemployment and crime.

21 Sociological Theories of Crime
Learning Theories – criminal behavior is learned through imitation and modeling or positive or negative reinforcement. Social Control Theories – Why do people NOT act criminally? Strong moral bond with society Attachment to others Commitment to conventional behavior Involvement with conventional activities Belief in the moral order of law Understanding the potential consequences of nonconformity Hirschi developed the theory of Social Control and believed that people follow laws when they have significant bond to society consisting of: Attachment to others – including respect for significant others as well as internalization of their norms and values Commitment to conventional lines of action – and understanding consequences for nonconformity Involvement in conventional activities and Belief in moral order and law

22 Learning Theories Both psychological and sociological theories.
Criminal behavior is learned and through imitation or modeling. Principle part of learning criminal behaviors occurs within intimate personal groups (small groups or by watching others). Learning criminal behavior is like learning any other behaviors. Positive reinforcement (providing stimulus increases behavior) Negative reinforcement (removing stimulus increases behavior) Punishment (aversive stimulus reduces behavior)

23 Critical Theories of Crime
Critical Theories – Humans are BOTH self-determined (critical theory) AND society-determined (positivist theory). Labeling Theory – humans act on the basis of the meanings the things have for them. Primary deviance – initial criminal act Secondary deviance – criminal acts committed after one has accepted the label of “delinquent” or “criminal.” Conflict Theory – emphasis is on political nature of crime production. Radical Theory – crime is the product of capitalist society that encourages competition (intra-class and interclass struggles) and exploitation. Critical Theories combine classical “free will” and positivist “determinism” views of criminal behavior – humans are both self-determined and society-determined. Karl Marx was the first to explore Radical theory and believed that in a capitalist society, individuals compete among wealthy people and among poor people and between the rich and poor and the practice of taking advantage of others (exploitation).

24 General Theories of Crime
Crime occurs when constraints are low and motivation for crime is high. Life domains [individual, family, school, peers, work] interact with one another in affecting crime. Individuals with low self-control, when given an opportunity, are more likely to engage in criminal behavior than individuals with high self-control. Low self control means inability to delay gratification, lack of diligence, engage in risky, thrill seeking activity, impulsivity, self-centered, insensitive to needs or feelings of others, disinterest in long term pursuits.

25 What do YOU think? Which theory on the causes of crime and delinquency makes the most sense to you? Do you believe different factors cause youth to commit crimes v. cause adults to commit crimes? Do you think different geographical areas have different factors contributing to crime, e.g., New York City v. Presque Isle, Maine? Given what you’ve learned of the causes of delinquency, what are some ways to PREVENT it?

Download ppt "Theories of Delinquency and Juvenile Offending"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google