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Criminal Acts and Choices Paper

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Criminal Acts and Choices Paper

Choice theories are perspectives on crime causation that states that criminality is the aftermath of conscious choices. Within society there are different forms of choice theories, ones that are discussed in this paper include: classical, psychological, and sociological. Every action that takes place can have an equal reaction, positive or negative. Choice theories state that the decision to commit crime is an exercise of free will based on the offender's efforts to maximize pleasure and minimize pain (Schmallenger, 2009).

First criminological theory is Classical/Neoclassical. In the late 18th and 19th centuries Cesare Beccaria founded the Classical School of criminology. He published an essay suggesting, "Punishment should be just sufficient to deter criminals behavior but should never be excessive" (" Beccaria, cesare," 2006). Beccaria's ultimate goal was to require all offenders to be punished but only what they deserved for their offense. Beccaria believed that more criminals who escaped punishment, the less impact it had on others contemplating the same behavior. He also felt that the more time that went between the crime and the punishment it would lessen the deterrent effect on future crimes. With the Classical theory also became a neoclassical perspective that emphasis on rationality and cognition. Neoclassical perspective holds the rational choice theory which says, "Crime is a result of conscious choices" (Schmallenger, 2009). In 1979 Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson developed Routine Activities Theory which focuses on the characteristics of crime rather than the characteristics of the offender. Cohen and Felson stated there were three elements present when committing a crime: available target, motivated offender, and no authority figure to stop the crime.

The second theory would be the psychological theory. Psychological theory, which was developed by Sigmund Freud, stated criminal behavior is representative of an ID that operates unchecked by the ego and the super-ego. It has never been proven that various kinds of mental illnesses "cause" crime, even without being proven a large proportion of inmates have suffered from one or more symptoms of various mental diseases. At some point people claimed that low IQ causes crime but this could easily be dismissed when considering white collar and corporate crimes because they have to have enough knowledge to figure out how and where to put their money and have no trace of it. During the 1950's, psychological profiling came along to predict behavior of certain types of offenders and their behavior (" Psychological profiling," 2010). Analyzing the criminal's habits and rituals allows investigators to trace similarities between previous crimes. As people can see on TV within many cop shows, being able to manipulate victims and show

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