Chapter Four The Development of Rational Choice Theory

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From Classical Choice Theories to Modern Rational Choice Views. The basis of this perspective over time has dealt with four key relationships:1) Law2) Crime3) Punishment4) Deterrence. Questions. Do you think that a criminal act is a matter of rational choice?\"In order for behavior to be
Chapter Four The Development of Rational Choice Theory

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1. ? 2003 Wadsworth Publishing Co. Chapter Four The Development of Rational Choice Theory Criminology 9th edition Larry J. Siegel

2. From Classical Choice Theories to Modern Rational Choice Views The basis of this perspective over time has dealt with four key relationships: 1) Law 2) Crime 3) Punishment 4) Deterrence

3. Questions Do you think that a criminal act is a matter of ?rational choice?? In order for behavior to be rational - must this behavior be learned first?

4. Core Concepts of Choice or Classical Criminology

5. Four Utilitarian Objectives of Punishment

6. Beccaria ? Classical Theory l Rational Choice ---------------------------------------------------- Bentham ? Classical Theory l Utilitarianism ----------------------------------------------------- 8th Amendment ? U.S. Constitution l Cruel and Unusual Punishment

7. Choice Theory Resurgence in the 70?s National surveys fail to find rehabilitation programs ?that work,? i.e., Martinson?s What Work?s. Thinking About Crime by James Q. Wilson debunks view that crime was a function of external forces. Wilson proposes a forceful reaction to crime, otherwise, those sitting on the fence will get the idea that ?crime pays?

8. 1980?s - Crime Control Dim view of rehabilitation Conservative view takes over, i.e., Ronald Reagan Federal Sentencing Guidelines enacted and elimination of federal parole State sentencing guidelines in 22 states Mandatory Minimums, i.e., drug crimes Just deserts policies, i.e, lex talionus and the retributive philosophy

10. Questions If crime pays relatively little, why are there so many criminals? What is the distinction between crime and criminality?

11. The Concepts of Rational Choice Rational choice theory is based on the concept of the ?reasoning criminal,? i.e., risk/punishment, potential value, immediate gain. Rational choice theory is offender specific ? offender criminality is a result of structured behavior as opposed to a random act. Rational choice theory is offense specific ? offenders react selectively to the characteristics of a particular offense.

12. Rational Choice Theory Rational choice theory is concerned with conditions which promote crime and enhance criminality. Rational choice theory is concerned with situational crime prevention, i.e., reducing opportunities to commit crimes. Both Jeffery and Clarke propose strategies to reduce the overall crime rate by controlling the environment and specific targets, i.e., defensible space ? they focus on eliminating criminal opportunity in residential areas.

13. Personal Factors Associated With Why People Choose Criminality

14. Structuring Crime Criminals structure their career when they rationally choose: The type of crime to commit Where it occurs Who or what will be the target The time the crime will be committed

15. How Are These Crimes the Product of Rational Thought? Street Crime Drug Use Violence

16. Question What can a criminal ?gain? from criminal activity?

17. Benefits or ?Gains? from Crime Illicit earnings: Cash, property, drugs, etc. Power: Control of their environment Establishing or proving themselves within the criminal enterprise Self-esteem Short-term problem solving Increased feeling of competence, assertiveness, and/or power as a result of antisocial acts

18. Rational Choice and Routine Activities Routine activities provides a macro view of crime, rational choice theory provides a micro view of why individuals offenders decide to commit specific crimes. The connection between the two theories: target vulnerability is a consideration presence of capable guardians may deter crime crime rates correspond to the number of motivated criminals. The strength of this approach is that it can explain fluctuations in crime and delinquency rates and shows how victim behavior can influence criminal choices.

19. Situational Crime Prevention

20. Situational Crime Prevention Costs and Benefits Diffusion Discouragement Displacement Extinction

21. Rational Choice and Philosophies of Punishment

22. Deterrence The punishment philosophy that says punishment?s aim is to prevent future offenses by setting an example for both the offender and others; i.e., specific and general.

23. General Deterrence The version of deterrence that seeks to prevent crime by using punishment to show others who are considering a criminal act that they will suffer painful consequences if they commit that act. Concepts: certainty, severity (capital punishment), informal sanctions, and shame.

24. Studies of General Deterrence There is little clear cut evidence that the perception or reality of punishment can deter most crime. The certainty of punishment seems to have a greater influence on the choice of crime than the severity of punishment.

25. Specific Deterrence The version of deterrence that seeks to prevent crime by using punishment to show the criminal that the criminal act was undesirable because it brought more pain than pleasure. Findings are mixed as to the effect of the severity of punishment on recidivism for juvenile and career offenders. As a result, the effect of specific deterrence as a punishment strategy is uncertain at best.

26. Testing The Assumption That Capital Punishment Deters Violent Crime Studies that have tested this assumption have focused on: Immediate impact Comparative research Time-Series Studies What do these studies show?

27. Incapacitation The punishment philosophy that says punishment?s aim is to prevent an offender?s freedom to move about. Traditionally, this was accomplished by placing the offender in prison, but recent technology suggests that incapacitation might also be achieved with tools like electronic monitoring.

28. Questions What is the difference between traditional incapacitation and ?selective incapacitation? methods? Have they been successful in controlling crime rates?

29. Selective Incapacitation Under this version of incapacitation, imprisonment is used only for a select group of especially dangerous repeat offenders whose freedom of movement must be restricted to protect society. Example: ?Three Strikes and You?re Out Policies?

30. Question How has the just desert model influenced justice policy? What are some characteristics of the just deserts theoretical model?

31. Questions Are criminals rational decision makers or, are they motivated by uncontrollable psychological and emotional drives? Explain. If you were caught by police while shoplifting, which would you be more afraid of: receiving criminal punishment or, having to face your friends or relatives and experience shame and embarrassment? Explain.


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