April 11, 2012
The two most common models that are used to determine which acts are considered criminal are the consensus model and the conflict model. The consensus model is a model in which the majority of the people within that society share the same basic values and beliefs. If anyone in that society deviates from the established norms of that society and their behavior threatens the well being of the group, than they must be punished. Consensus means majority, so that means that the majority of the people within that group must agree what is considered right and what is considered wrong in order to determine what is to be deemed criminal or not. So when that society’s attitudes towards certain issues change, so do the laws of that society. In a conflict model criminal acts are determined by the groups that hold the social, political and economic power in that community. So, as the group with the most power changes, the activities that are considered criminal change as well.
The concept of choice theories of crime is that an individual makes a choice to commit a criminal act when the reward of the crime outweighs the threat of punishment for that crime. So society is affected by determining exactly what the punishments should be in order to deter crime and maintain order within that society.
n.a. (n.d.). Criminal Justice Today Chapter 1. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from http://instruct.westvalley.edu/smith/aj1handouts/gaines_chapter1.pdf Sees, E. (2004). Student Study Guide for Criminological Theories:Introduction, Evaluation, and Applications. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from roxbury.net/images/pdfs/ct4ssg.pdf