Discuss and evaluate the explanation put forward by criminologist for the problem of crime. To what extent does theory influence criminal justice policy and practice? Control theory: the question is not why do some people commit crime, but why so many people do not? What refrains them: a job, family, sense of responsibility? Contemporary versions argue that criminals have low self-control: they are impulsive, they want immediate gratification, they cannot postpone gratification, they have physicality, they are always prepared to blame others first and themselves last. All criminals (whether robbers, rapists or white collar offenders) have the same characteristics. Critique: white collar offenders impulsive and endowed with physicality? (ruggiro first lecture) Conflict theorists in criminology posit that the causes, definitions and treatment of crime can only be understood if related to the uneven distribution of power and resources within society. Conflict theory derives its thrust from Marxist thought, and inherits from it concepts such as class struggle and ideology, while adopting a notion of crime as behaviour inherent in the capitalist arrangement of production, society and the state. Criminologists adhering to this set of ideas include Willem Bonger (1969), known as the major scholar attempting to found a traditional Marxist criminology, who interprets crime as the result of the socially unfavourable environment created by capitalist development. Divisions between those holding the means of production and those only possessing their labour force are singled out as the source of permanent conflict. Criminologists adhering to this set of ideas include Willem Bonger (1969), known as the major scholar attempting to found a traditional Marxist criminology, who interprets crime as the result of the socially unfavourable environment created by capitalist development. Divisions between those holding the means of production and those only possessing their labour force are singled out as the source of permanent conflict. It is assumed that state intervention is triggered by crime and is meant to punish wrongdoers or rehabilitate them. Labelling theorists would turn this assumption upside down, claiming that state intervention is part of the crime problem, if not its major causative factor. Concerned with criminalisation processes, these theorists study the way in which certain specific persons and conducts are designated as criminal. The criminal justice system itself is held responsible for manufacturing criminal careers. Underlying these tenets is the belief that definitions of crime change in time and space, and that deviant behaviour is devoid of any inherent, universal, characteristic: crime is defined by the social and institutional reaction it elicits. Conducts may be harmful, but only some harmful conducts are designated as criminal, namely those targeted by institutional intervention. Even killing may not be a criminal act. There is no ontology in the concept of crime.
There are, of course, other theories. I will briefly mention them. Rational theory: again (like in classical criminology), criminals calculate the risk they run, and are likely to offend if they feel that the risk is minimal. Responses to crime have to be as rational as offenders: the cost of prevention, for example, cannot exceed the financial cost of crime. No muggings would be committed if we had a police officer or a soldier in every street, but would it be economical? Nobel Prize winners in economics. Situational theories (or routine activity, propensity event theories). For crime to occur, we need an agent whose intention is to commit crime; a visible, attractive victim, and a lack of control. Avoiding crime, then means changing one’s life style, protecting one’s property. Technical, situational, rather than social measures.
(http://www.freeonlineresearchpapers.com/explanations-for-crime) Explanation for crime