Criminological Theory and Legal Theory Essay

Criminological Theory and Legal Theory Essay

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Criminological Theory
Rational Choice
Rational choice is based on the presumption that crime is a personal choice and that people can freely choose to participate in such criminal activity based on the outcomes, whether it be negative or positive. A person may choose to engage in a crime because it may seem rewarding and pleasurable. On the other hand, a person may decide to avoid participating in criminal activity from their fear of being punished. If the risk of getting caught is too high, one may decide not to commit the crime. In short, a person will take careful consideration to the cost and benefits before deciding to commit a crime.
I believe that rational choice has high validity to it. In almost all decisions someone makes, they usually weigh the consequences of their actions. There are very few people in today's society who will not sit there and weigh the risk of their actions before doing anything. If the risk is too high, more often than not a person is not going to go on a commit the crime and worry about the consequences later. However, some people tend to act out on impulse and do not tend to think of the consequences of their actions so rational choice may not apply to all.
Labeling Theory
The labeling theory states that the behaviors and identities of individuals can be influenced by the name, or label, that society gives them. An example of this is a teenager, who lives in an area that is populated with gangs, may be identified as one of the gang members. Eventually he or she, will start to act like a gang member or even become a member.
In my opinion, labeling theory is comparable to stereotypical references in that more often than not stereotypes prove to be true or accurate. For example, labeli...

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...ed during an illegal search and the court denied his motion to suppress. However, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the conviction stating that the officer 's search, even though he lacked the probable cause to arrest Terry at time of the search, satisfied the conditions outlined in the Fourth Amendment.
From Terry v. Ohio, a stop and search from an officer was from there on out called a "stop and frisk". This case is also one of the many landmark cases that we should know details of. From my criminal procedure and criminal investigation classes, I learned that the main purpose of the "stop and frisk" is officer safety. I believe that it is a good measure when stopping someone and suspecting they have a weapon on their person. An officer should have the right to pat them down if they fear for their safety or believe the person is carrying a concealed weapon.

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