Working with the Criminal Offender: Criminal Justice Theories
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• Theories of Criminal Behavior An Overview Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes Executive Director, AllCEUs.com
• 2. Psychological Theories (?) of Crime Cognitive theory suggests that an individual’s perception and how it is manifested (Jacoby, 2004) affect his or her potential to commit crime. Good or Bad Attributions of Self and Society Stable or changeable Internal or external Global or specific Definitions: Firmly held concepts that may make a behavior or outcome rewarding or punishing
• 4. Psychological Theories of Crime Neurotransmitters Norepinephrine, which is associated with the body’s fight-or-flight response Dopamine, which plays a role in thinking and learning, motivation, sleep, attention, and feelings of pleasure and reward Serotonin, which impacts many functions, such as sleep, sex drive, anger, aggression, appetite, and metabolism
• 5. Critical Theory The elite of the society, decide laws and the definition of crime Those who commit crimes disagree with the laws that were created to keep control of them. Crime is a product of oppression of workers and less advantaged groups within society, i.e. lower socioeconomic status, sexism and racism.
• 6. Conflict Theory Crime results from the conflicts among the different social classes Laws arise from necessity as a result of conflict, rather than a general consensus. (Drug laws) The fundamental causes of crime are the social and economic forces operating within society. • 7. Conflict Theory Focus is on separating the powerful from the have-nots protecting themselves from crime. In the process, the legal rights of the poor are ignored. The middle class are also co-opted, siding with the elites rather the poor, thinking they might themselves rise to the top by supporting the status quo.
• 8. Deterrence and Rational Choice Theory Behavior, is NOT determined by biological, psychological, or environmental factors acting on the person, compelling him or her to commit crimes (Cornish & Clarke, 1986; Kubrin et al., 2009).
• 9. Labeling Theory Labeling is an intrinsic feature of all human interaction. A complete picture of crime or deviance can be attained by examining • Offenders and their characteristics • Societal reactions to incidents of rule-breaking
• 12. Self-Control Theory At the heart of criminal events and criminals was one stable construct: low self-control. Self-control is “the tendency of people to avoid criminal acts whatever the circumstances in which they find themselves” Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) Low self-control is a lack of that tendency. …
• 21. Summary Reducing relapse/recidivism requires both the clinician and the client to understand the benefits and drawbacks to prosocial and criminal behavior. Some of these “benefits” may come in the form of achieving firmly held beliefs and definitions about concepts such as “success,” “loyalty,” and “being a man” Most theories of criminal behavior boil down making the more rewarding choice. Part of reducing recidivism means making the criminal behaviors less rewarding to the person Part of the rehabilitation process may involve …