Rational choice theory in Criminal Justice focuses on deterrence and how individuals are influenced by some type of factor that makes them engage in crime. This adds to conversation that criminologists started in the 1700’s because they were all about deterring criminals. They wanted the crime to fit the punishment which would deter other criminals from committing that same crime. Rational Choice Theory and Classical criminologists also believed that people committed crimes because they wanted to achieve their desired goals whether it would be for money or their sexual desires. This was based off of free will where people decided if they were going to commit a crime and what the consequences would be if they committed that crime.
Beccaria is widely recognized as the father of the classical school of criminology. In his essay Dei deliti e delle pene (On Crimes and Punishment), Beccaria asserted that humans are rational, have free will, and are hedonistic. He also claimed that crime can be prevented by convincing warnings of punishments. To succeed in preventing crime, certainty, severity, and celerity of punishment must be present. Jeremy Bentham embraced the utilitarian philosophy of replacing harsh and capricious punishments with humane punishments and protection against bogus allegations.
In this case, an interest in the broad deterrent effectiveness of these measures is an interest in their crime preventive effectiveness by whatever means prevention is achieved. Accordingly, a person contemplating the commission of a crime would undertake a cost-benefit analysis and would execute the criminal plan only if potential benefits sufficiently outweighed expected costs. In addition to theorists, courts have adopted the rational actor model as a justification for the imposition of certain penalties, specifically the death penalty for the crime of murder. Under general deterrence theory persons are punished for violating the criminal law to serve as object lessons for the rest of society. Society, according to the theory, thus transmits the following message.
Its bases its argument on the idea that people consider their decisions prior to undertaking criminal acts, and then act in their self-interest. Emphasizing that the decision to commit a criminal offense is within the control of the individual (Quackenbush, 2004). This decision is based upon an evaluation of the associated costs and benefits of the act. In other words, the perspective presupposes that rational individuals will make the decision to commit a crime when the anticipated ... ... middle of paper ... ...rs, such as the environment, play a significant role in determining the hidden causes of criminal behavior. For that reason, although the theories discussed contradict each other, they each offer us different insights into white-collar crimes undertaken by individuals.
Fourth, criminals of passion are those motivated to commit crime because of anger, love or honor. Beccaria published one essay, On Crimes and Punishments, in this essay, he wrote that criminal behavior could be minimized using the basics of human nature. He argued that the current barbaric system of punishing criminals needed to be reformed into a less harsh, yet more effective one. He states the essence of his ideas, “In order for punishment not to be, in every instance, an act of violence of one or of many against a private citizen, it must be essentially public, prompt, necessary, the least possible in the given circumstances, proportionate to the crime, dictated by the laws” (Constituation
Some claim that some people have hidden or dormant characteristics that determine their reaction or behavior when confronted or put in particular negative conditions (Akers & Sellers, 2012). By understanding and studying these theories, together with applying them to people, psychologists and authorities can prevent criminals from committing or repeating crimes and aid in their rehabilitation. As many theories have emerged over time, they continue to be surveyed and explored, both individually and in combination in order for criminologists to develop solutions and eventually reduce the levels and types of crime. The most popular criminology theories emphasize on the individual, positivist and classical traits. This paper will explore the classical theory, which is among the earliest theories in criminology.
The classical school of criminology which was originally developed in the eighteenth century still has power in the crime prevention which is utilized in our criminal justice system in the United States today (Siegel, 2011). In fact, utilizing the very principles of the classical school of criminology lays the groundwork, in some ways, to how we prevent crime today. The components of the classical school of criminology are that people have free will, crime can be attractive, crime can possibly be controlled when there is a fear of punishment, and that punishment which is “severe, certain, and swift” will deter criminal behavior more than punishment which is not (Siegel, 2011, p. 9, para. 1). The specific deterrence basically states that
Through the study of psychology, specifically free will, determinism and social identity, we may find that situational crime prevention is a better means to deter crime in our nation. The debate over the proper course for effective crime control can be traced back to the famous treatise “On Crimes and Punishments” written by Cesare Beccaria in 1764. Beccaria’s work implies (rightly so) that potential law violators would be deterred if government agencies could swiftly detect, try and punish anyone who violates the criminal law. This exercise in disciplinary power is noted by Jokiranta; “In order to get hold of the hearts and minds of the members, the community has to get hold of their bodies” (Jokiranta, pg 10), and has been adopted by systems of criminal justice since their beginning with the London Metropolitan Police in 1829. Along with this approach came the stigma that criminals were predominantly born of poverty and misfortune.
He believed punishment should be a deterrent and not retribution (Schmalleger, 2012). He further believed punishment should be delivered in a way that would prevent further crimes. According to Beccaria, in order to do this, “punishment should be severe, swift, and certain” (Schmalleger, 2012, p. 59). Additionally, Beccaria believed the punishment should outweigh the crime and like Hobbes, he believed individuals were rational and had free will to make their own decisions (Schmalleger,
Using the right resources and research methods will guarantee accurate conclusions, researchers should understand the difference between research methods and choose the one that is appropriate for their study. Using information from previous studies will only harm the new study, provide false results and ultimately give incorrect information to the public. Capital punishment in the United States is among the most debated issues being discussed. Arguments are strong for both of the sides of the issue, those who want to eliminate the death penalty and those who see to expand its use. The key concepts behind American criminal justice sanctions are, retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation.