The Theories Of Criminal Justice Essay

The Theories Of Criminal Justice Essay

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For this paper I will critique several theories of criminal justice. This will include a brief overview of each theory by also including its strengths and weaknesses in order to show why each theory is necessary to explain crime. I will then share my thoughts on which theory I believe to be the strongest of the group.
In criminal Justice, there are dozens of theories that have been created to explain why certain crimes occur. As a criminal justice major, we can begin to look at criminology from the early perspective known as the classical theory. According to the book, Criminological Theory: Past to present, the ideas of the classical theory are fairly simple. Beccaria, one of the founding fathers of classical theory suggests that individuals are rational thinkers who pursue their own interest in order to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain when committing a crime (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, pg. 21). Basically, the reason why individuals commit crime is based on their free will and what they choose to do with themselves. Individuals affected by this theory will continue to commit crime, unless deterred by the threat of swift, certain and appropriate punishment (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, pg. 24). Many would agree that the only strength to this theory would be that humans have individual rights. This would often lead to its weaknesses, such as the failure to recognize that crime is distributed unequally throughout society due to the failure to recognize that the inequalities in society are what cause crime in the first place.
Moving on, the next theory is Social Disorganization. This theory suggests that individuals who commit crime is based on their surrounding community. Shaw and McKay, who are two leading contributor...


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...sical opportunity and an increase in the risks of being caught in order to prevent crime from occurring. As a result, this theory conveys many weaknesses such as denying that people differ in their dispositions to offend (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, pg. 480). Furthermore, dispositional theories provide few concrete tips on how to reduce crime.
As a result of learning about these seven theories of criminology, I find the strongest theory to be the deterrence theory of crime. I find this theory to be the strongest because everyone is different in the way they act due to a variety of reasons. People are motivated by different things and they choose to act on those motivations on their own as a result of free will. People have the choice to pick and choose whether or not they commit a crime and I think the deterrence theory is the best at showing the rationality of people.

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