Criminal Act and Choice Theory Cja/204

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Criminal acts and choice paper
Margaret Macy
July 18, 2011
Chris Cannon

Criminal acts and choice paper
Different choice theories and models exist that relate to crime. Some of the choice theories that mention in the book Criminal Justice Today an introductory text for the 21st Century, 10th edition are as followed: Choice theory, the classical school, biological theory, psychological theory, and the labeling theory. Each has its own way to explain how and why a person commits a crime. Two models in the text are the crime controlled model and the due process model.

To start, the choice theory, also known as the rational choice theory is the idea that people tend to make choices in a way that maximizes advantage while minimizing cost (Wisegeek, 2011). This can mean people first weigh the positives against the negatives when committing a crime and make his or her choice base off what will benefit him or her more. Cesare Beccaria, who inspired the rational choice theory in the 1700s, said “it is by free will that people are able to follow through with those “rational” decisions (Wikia, 2011). This means that using the rational choice theory, people who commit crimes know what they are doing before they do it.

The classical school theory was common in the late eighteenth century and into the early nineteenth century. The classical school theory thought crime was caused by individuals who were rational. This theory believed that crime wears away the bond between humans and society, and is why crime is an immoral behavior (Schmalleger, 2009). Punishment under this theory was more severe therefore Cesare Beccaria came up with a less harmful yet effective way to punish those who commit crimes.

The biological theory still plays a big role in society today. This theory believes that people are born criminals, which a criminal gene was passed down by a parent. The biological theory says that a...
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