Personal Criminological Paper
Criminology is an area rich in theoretical imaginations. This diversity in theories shows that the field has not ye matured as it has the inability to develop a single paradigm that is empirically superior to its competitors that earns the allegiance of most scholars. This paper deals with my personal criminological theory, explaining the occurrence of crime and why individuals commit crime, considered variables and the assumptions that this theory is based on. Lastly it looks at the methods that are used to evaluate this method.
My criminological theory is Rational Choice Deterrence. In this theory crime is looked upon as a choice that is affected by its costs and advantages. Crime will have high chances of being deterred if the costs are higher, especially if costs are certain and immediate. The data about the costs and advantages of crime are obtained through direct experiences with punishment and avoidance of punishment, and also indirectly by observing others who offends are punished or avoid punishments.
For the crime to occur, there are three elements which have to be present. These are; an availability of suitable target, an offender who must be motivated and lastly, the absence of the figure of authority to prevent the occurrence of the crime from happening. Individuals commit crimes because of many reasons. So that they get food, shelter and other basic needs because they are poor. They might be unemployed or rich hence are bored. To some people, it is just a habit while others because of the unpunished crimes they have done or have seen others do. Some do it because the conditions favored the occurrence of the crime. Mostly drug related crimes are engaged in to create excitement (Keohane, 2002).
It is difficult to quantify the variables in this theory. But some of them are; potential crime; this is the variable that has its basis on criminality which is a personality character yet the crime itself is an event. The sustainability of target is another variable that is difficult to define, since most people portray this variable in a manner that is different depending on their environment and demographics. Opportunity is another variable as it varies depending on the crime as well as the criminal intent. Other variable include the costs and benefit of the crime, the suitable guardian availability, abundance of motivated offender and the target (Becker, 2002).
The theory of rational choice is based on the assumptions that; first, criminals are rational beings; secondly, criminals consider their crimes rationally, by weighing both personal factors like wanting excitement and situational factors like availability of targets. Thirdly, criminal is caused by the decision of individuals (Keohane, 2002).
There are various approaches that can be identified in the evaluation of rational choice theory. The goal-based and system-based evaluation approaches are predominantly used in the evaluation of rational choice theory. Various frameworks have been developed under the influence of the two approaches. As generated by Kirkpatrick, the goal-based evaluation method has a basis on the four simple questions that then translates into four levels of evaluation process. The four levels are broadly referred to as learning, reaction, behavior and results. However, under the system model, the most influential models include the context, input, process and product (Rossi, 2003).
Goal based model helps practitioners think about the goal of evaluation ranging from technical to covertly political reasons. Though these models don’t define vital steps to achieve goal and don’t address ways to utilize results to improve rational choice model. However, the system based models are useful in terms of thinking about the overall concept and conditions but they might not provide enough granularity. This system might not give a representation of the dynamic interactions between the design and the evaluation of the theory. Few of the models provide detailed description of the processes involved in every step. None of them provide tools for the evaluation. In addition, the collaborative process of evaluation is not addressed in these models, meaning that the different roles and responsibilities that may be played by the people in the process of evaluation. Other approaches include; goal-free evaluation, professional review, responsive evaluation and the quasi-legal approach (Rossi, 2003).
In conclusion, the choice that one makes in life determines personal motives of the actions of an individual. When people think, fantasize and act according to the underlined system of belief. Via the action of rational conscious thoughts people select the temptations that are of preference.