Before you can understand criminology and its purpose, you must have a clear understanding of crime. According to Paul W. Tappan, crime is defined as “an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law, committed without defense or justification, and sanctioned by the state as a felony or misdemeanor” (Hendrix, 2014, p. 6). It is important to have an understanding of what criminology is and then trying to determine why crimes are committed. It has been said that criminology can be described as the scientific study of the nature and causes of crime, the rates of crime, the punishment and rehabilitation of offenders, and the prevention of crime.
The belief central to foundation of classical criminology is that individuals who commit crime participate in a process of decision making when deciding how to commit crime (Williams & McShane, 2010). This view is based on the assumptions that individuals have the right to free will and are guided by the maximization of pleasure and the minimization of pain, also known as hedonism. These assumptions, or ideas, are important in that they shift attention away from punishing an individual’s social or physical characteristics, and toward punishing their offensive behavior.
Individuals may commit crimes for societal reasons that may include peer pressure, feeling alienated from society, tee...
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...nviction in some legal proceeding.
The Labeling theory centers on formal and informal use of branding or characterizing and deviant ‘labels’ by society on some of its people that will not deter, but instead prompt criminal or deviant acts in the future. According to Becker one of the key phases in becoming a deviant is to be labeled as a deviant publicly (Hamlin, (n.d.), pp. 4).
Howard Becker is hailed as the founder of modern labeling theory. He also developed the term "moral entrepreneur” to describe persons in power who campaign to have certain deviant behavior outlawed. Because this theory basically implies if a person is called a criminal, addict, dumb, ugly, etc, expungement of criminal records is a policy stemmed from this theory. The belief is if a person is not labeled or tagged as a criminal they will have a better chance of not becoming a career criminal
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