The Rational Choice Theory

Powerful Essays
La’Shante Samuels
Kaplan University, CJ102 Criminology
Unit Five Midterm Project

The Rational Choice theory approach has been used by social and political scientists to put some type of meaning of why humans behave in a certain way. In recent years, rational choice theory has been widely used in other disciplines such as sociology, political science, and anthropology. It has gained influence in politics and sociology over the past thirty years. This choice theory stressed the role of knowledgeable self interest in the decision making of individuals. The main purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of Rational Choice and Deterrence theories, to explain the similarities and difference between the two.
The concept of Rational Choice was developed and rooted in the early classical theory approach. This approach was refined by Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham whose path positively influenced the criminal justice system in England and the United States. This system was influenced for more than 100 years and by the end of the nineteenth century, the popularity of the classical approach began to decline (criminology the core, Larry Siegel). Beccaria believed that criminal decisions were based on a few simple factors, being that humans have free will ( they have the power to act upon their own accord); humans are rational creatures and able to weigh prospective outcomes of their actions, seeing which may benefit or detract from the quality of their lives; human decisions are based on the simplest views of man ( primarily, pleasure is preferable over pain); finally that an organized system of laws and punishments which catered to these human traits is necessary to help keep society complaint (Winfree & Abadinsky,2003). Later in the 1960s Gary Becker argued that with the exception of a mentally ill individual who may commit a crime, people way out there pros and cons before committing the act of breaking the law. They may engaged in a cost benefit analysis

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