My favorite criminological theory is the choice theory. I favor this idea because it is the most logical and I believe in these ideas more than the others. I believe that mental illness or the way someone was raised is not the only reason one would commit a crime. Both rich and poor, white and African American, Asian, mentally ill, and proclaimed geniuses have committed crimes. Crime doesn’t choose the offender the offender chooses the crime. I support the idea of Choice Theory strongly because I feel no one is born a criminal, you choose to be a criminal or not. As children we are taught right from wrong by those around us at home or school. When you get older and begin to make your own life choices, you choose to follow those very same ideas instilled in us as youth. "Choice theory" developed by 18th century Italian philosopher and politician, Cesare Becarria, is considered the classical school of thought and depicts criminals as deviants. Cesare Beccaria was the founder of the classical theory. He wrote about punishment, and its effects on criminal behavior.( Valenicia, 2000) His theory was that punishment should have four main objectives. The first is to prevent all criminal offenses. The second is when it cannot prevent a crime, it should convince the offender to commit a lesser crime. The third is to ensure that a criminal uses no more force than is necessary. Finally, the fourth is to prevent crime as cheaply as possible. (Valencia, 2000) This very same school of thought was reinforced by renowned Dr. William Glasser. Originally called “control theory,” Glasser switched to “choice theory” in 1996 to emphasize that virtually all behavior is chosen. (Glasser, 1998) He stated that all individuals are driven by five needs. These basic needs are, the need to survive, the need to belong, the need to gain power, the need to be free, and the need to have fun. (Glasser, 1998) He states that offenders commit crimes to fulfill these needs they believe are not being met or satisfied with. William Glasser’s Choice Theory is the theory that we all choose how to behave at any time, and cannot control anyone’s behavior but our own. All of the ideas in the Choice Theory can easily be applicable in today’s society. Choice theory is the assessment of a potential offender to commit a crime. Choice theory is the belief that committing a crime is a rational decision, based on cost benefit analysis. The would-be offender will weigh the costs of committing a particular crime like fines, jail time, and imprisonment versus the benefits, such as money, status, or heightened adrenaline. Depending on which factors out-weigh the other, a criminal will decide to commit or consider committing a crime.( J.Noland, 2009) This decision making process makes committing a crime a rational choice to the offender. They believe they are going to make their lives better by proceeding with whatever the crime may entail. Choice Theory teaches us that criminals are always motivated by what they want at that moment and will do what they need to do to accomplish it. Choice theory is the most logical explanation where crime, criminals and cause is concerned. Criminals choose to commit acts they know are wrong, but they lack the rational thought behind it. As adults we choose to do what it right and make decisions that better us and keep those around us safe.
1.Glasser, W. (1998). Choice theory, new psychology of personal freedom. (pp. 47-48).
2.Noland, J. (2009). Psychology . (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River : Person
3.Valencia, L. (2000, July ). Choice theory . Retrieved from http://everything2.com/title/Criminology%3A Choice Theory