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rational Choice Paradigm

by: Alyssa Hendrixson

rational Choice Paradigm CJ 300

Alyssa Hendrixson
GPA 3.0
Survey of Criminology Theories
Diana Dolliver

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About this Document

Survey of Criminology Theories
Diana Dolliver
Test Prep (MCAT, SAT...)
75 ?




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This 7 page Test Prep (MCAT, SAT...) was uploaded by Alyssa Hendrixson on Friday January 30, 2015. The Test Prep (MCAT, SAT...) belongs to CJ 300 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Diana Dolliver in Winter2015. Since its upload, it has received 298 views. For similar materials see Survey of Criminology Theories in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.

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Date Created: 01/30/15
C 300 Notes The Rational Choice Paradigm Deterrence RTC RAT SCP Paradigm 0 Any theories that fall under a particular paradigm will share common characteristics and common underlying assumptions 0 The Classical School of Criminology 0 Classical School vs Social positivist School The Enlightenment Mid18th Century 0 Assumptions if the Classical School Basic foundation for theories 0 The causes of crime and criminal behavior are extent external to the individual Humans are inheritany rational and hedonistic o Hedonistic Pleasureseeking and avoid pain Delinquency is normative meaning offenders do not differ from nonoffenders 0 Classical School is not extremely interested in criminal motivations Cassica School Roots o Fathers if needing a fairjudicial system right to fair trial etc Cesare Beccaria 1764 0 Italian Wrote Essay on Crimes and Punishment 0 Condemned common state practices as obscure laws and unlimited judicial power that enables judges to dismiss cases or impose harsh sentences 0 Propose a series of reforms that are more fair humane and rational 0 Punishments must be swift and certain but severe enough to deter someone quotAcademy of Fistsquot Jeremy Bentham 1789 EngHsh Wrote An Introduction to the Principles of Mora5 and Legislation 0 Both are not concerned with explaining 0 Both were utilitarian philosophers but wanted reform What about morality What about the quotrightquot thing to do 0 Set up a new criminal just8ce system 0 Wanted to maximize ef ciency and utility Deterrence Theory 0 The foundation for the majority of our current laws Much is drawn from Beccaria39s writings What is the primary purpose of criminal law Prevent crime Cl 300 Notes 0 Rational exercise of free will All individuals will choose to obey the law based on hedonism One underlying principle The effectively DETER the crime the punishment must be swift certain and severe Severity of the crime To prevent crimes the legal system must NOT be capricious unduly harsh rather it must be fair but effective Criminal law is NOT designed simply as a means of revenge the punishment must t the crime Which means it is proportionate to the crime Eye for an eyeor is it If the punishment is too severe or too lenient it won t work Certainty of the punishment Most effective out of all three Probability of apprehension and punishment for the crime According to Beccaria one of the greatest curbs on crime The certainty of punishment even if it be moderate will always make a stronger impression than the fear of another punishment Swiftness of the punishment Also referred to as quotcelerityquot References the swiftness with which criminal sanction are applied after the commission of a crime How fast you are punished after you commit the crime Are punishments more or less useful the longer it takes to punish someone According to the theory it is less useful Swift Certain and Severe The 3 key ingredients of Deterrence Theory All must be present in order for theory to work deter crime Association is necessary between crime and the corresponding and proportional punishment Crime does not pay Types of Deterrence Deterrence is intended to operate in separate ways because different kinds of deterrence works for different people Speci c deterrence To the individual General deterrence General public Absolute deterrence Refrain 100 Restrictive deterrence Fewerless serious crimes What does the research say C 300 Notes Stafford and Warr 1993 argue that general and speci c deterrence are NOT separate for each person Rather both can operate 0 Personal experience matters Direct 0 Speci c deterrence VicariousIndirect General deterrence 0 Laws Most early research in 19005 Compared legal system and laws Wasn39t until the 19605 the empirical testing of the theory began 0 Death penalty and homicide Research generally measured two elements severity amp certainty Objective and perceptual measures Swiftness gets left out 0 Does deterrence theory work More support for certainty of punishment Less support fir severity of punishment Almost no support for swiftness Tipping effect Deterrence theory only works for serious crimes Pogarslq 2002 found three types of individuals 0 Acute conformists 0 Do not commit crime do the right thing lncorrigible offenders 0 Commit crime regardless of punishment cannot be deterred Deferrable offenders 0 Only ones that can be impacted from this theory Must remember that most people do not commit crime 0 NOT because they are afraid of punishment but rather because they conform 0 Problems with deterrence theory Theory ONLY concerned with whether the threat of punishment by law deters people lgnores other forms of punishment Informal social control and consequences of actions Ignores and doesn39t measure variations in rewards from crime Robbing a bankwhy Stealing a carwhy 0 Deterrence theory failures Scared Straight Program 0 Around since late 19705 0 Take quotat riskquot youth to max secure prison to talk to inmates Cl 300 Notes 0 4x more likely to commit crime Shock Incarceration Extended from Scared Straight 0 Backfires Boot Camps For troubles quotat riskquot youth 0 Adult offenders Chores responsibility militaristic Not successful Rational Choice Theory 0 Microlevel general theory of crime Why do YOU decide to engage in crime 0 Many of the same assumptions as the paradigm But accounts for personal motivation 0 Emphasizes opportunity 0 RCT claims to explain all crime except crimes committed by the mentally ill 0 Cornish and Clarke 19851986 brought RCT into the realm of modern criminology 0 Fir RCT criminal acts are never senseless impulsive That means they are always calculated actions 0 RCT propositions Crimes are deliberate acts Offenders don39t always make the best decisions Decisionmaking varies with the type of crime 0 Are we actually going to commit the crime Involvement decisions differs from commission decisions Carrying out the crime 3 stages if involvement Initiation 0 1St time you commit that crime Habituation 0 Continuing to commit the act Desistance 0 Stopping committing the act Event decisions include a sequence of choices 0 Preparation target selection committing crime escaping 0 Bounded or Limited rationality RCT assumes EVERYONE is rational but we see examples everyday where people act irrationaIIy Does this falsify the theory a No RCT eventually acknowledged that bounded rationalityso what is it 0 You will act rational based on given information Can we test it a Yes CI 300 Notes 0 How do we test RCT Flowcharts of the decisionmaking process 0 Includes motivations backgrounds experience etc 0 Crime scripts Must map out the involvement stages Must also map out the event stages 0 Bene ts of RCT Addresses initial involvement in crime AND repeat offenses Some criminological theories can only explain one or the other Has practical policy implications Contextual and doesn39t ignore the rile of opportunity Takes each person39s situation into account Routine Activities Theory RAT 0 Applied at the micro level 0 Cohen and Felson 1979 originally designed the theory to explain directcontact predatory crimes What are quotroutine activitiesquot Recurrent and prevalent activities that provide for basic needs of society 0 The crime triangle 0 Shift focus away from offender and towards targets and guardians 0 Elements of RAT Motivated offenders a Any of us a What motivates us 0 Rationality suitable target absence of capable guardian Suitable target Refers to what What makes us a suitable target 0 Walking by yourself empty house worth stealingrobbing Absence of capable guardians Include whom 0 Dog friend alarm system police of cers It takes all three of these elements present at the same time for the crime to occur a This theory is about place 0 More on RAT Formal guardians or informal guardians are better at deterring crimes Informal Formal guardians Anything with the law or legal system Informal guardians Nothing to do with the law or legal system What makes a target vulnerable Physical weight Cl 300 Notes 0 Points of access Easimobility 0 How does the research look Macrolevel looking at overall crime rates a A change in one of the three elements could change crime rates but the presence of all three creates a multiplier effect Early studies tested only two of the three elements using data from family activities consumer products and business 0 Indirect measures Opportunity Theory Cohen Kluegal and Land 1982 RAT renamed NCVS What indicators variables did they use 0 Unemployment rates family composition pay raises Found correlation not causation Sharman Gartin and Buerger 1989 0 Police studies of hot spots Call for service 911 0 Found that most of the crime in the city came from only 3 of locations Absence of capable guardians Microlevel tests of RAT Mustaine and Tewksbury 1988 0 Routine legal and illegal activities Other crimes besides predatory Pratt et al 2010 0 Internet victimization rates Mesnner and Tardiff 1985 0 Homicide rates 0 Concerns with RAT Akers claims RAT is only a theory if victimization No consideration for WHY people become motivated offenders Is this a real problem for RAT 0 No a No consideration for why some peopleobjects are better guardians than others 0 Not a problem for RAT Lacking empirical validity 0 Previous testingevidence However popular policy implications stem from RAT Situational Crime Prevention SCP 0 Clarke 19805 developed it as a theory of victimization or rather how NOT to become a victim Cl 300 Notes Focused on the SE39ITINGS for crime rather than on criminal acts themselves Informal guardianship How By considering the physical environment Real life places Surrounding within place Analyze composition What can be stolen and what de ne the environment Target hardening Change physical environment Builds from C RayJeffrey 1971 CPTED Crime prevention through environmental design Proper use if environment is key 0 Effectively designing and using the environment to reduce crime Key principles Natural access control 0 Denying entry access Natural surveillance 0 Increase visibility Territorial reinforcement o Distinction between public and private areas


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