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Critical Criminology

  1. Identify and define three elements of critical criminology

One element of criticalcriminology is the strength of the precedent, which is a factor that a court will have to decide beforeoverruling an earlier case law. Precedent entails acourt decisionthat is considered to be an authority for deciding a subsequent case thatinvolvesidentityor the same facts or legal issues. This is a vitalelement for a criminologist, since he/she will be able to have a prior understanding of past ruling, and has an idea of how the case will be decided based on a pastjurisdiction.

Another critical perspective is thefield of the law involved, where acourt seems to be more reluctantto override precedent governing property or trade, involvingcommercialenterprises, who had relied on the precedent. Different fields of law can be treated differentlydepending on the type of issue in front of the courts. For the criminologists, this element is vitalsinktherewill be different types of judgmentsdependingonwhether a law case is criminal,or civil, where it is likely that some rulings may be made different, even throughout focusing on other recent cases.

The third element of criticalcriminology is the initial source of precedent, such as statutory interpretation. Each court is in most cases bound to previous decisions which are made by courts higher than them. A Statutory interpretation entails the interpretationand allocation of legislation of acourt. A criminologist will therefore need to have comprehensive information on pats court cases similar to what he/ she is covering, and be conversant with the source of the ruling was as a way of determining the likely direction of the case he/she is handling.

  1. Each of the theories influences policies and practices of police, courts, jails, and prisons, and social service systems. Pick one theory, define it, and provide a concrete policy that might emerge if you assume the theory accurately explains why crime occurs. What may be a negative consequence of the policy you described?

One of the theories that accurately explains whycrime occurs is the sociallearning theory. According to the theory, people engage in either criminal or non-criminal behaviors based on the social environments that surround them.  It also states that people are easily influenced by how other people around them reward or act as models of theirbehaviors. The theory assertsthat criminal behaviors are learnedand can hence be counteracted. This can be through developinga better social environment in which criminalbehaviorsare not criminalized.  The theory ismostlyapplied for the case of supportiveand having lesspunitiveprograms for mostly the juvenile since it understandsthat they were brought up in suitableenvironments, which affectedtheir ways of living.According to the theory, people may also tend to get involved in crime,  because of getting associated with others who engage in crime. Their criminal behaviors arereinforced and learned beliefs from those who are involved in such acts.  This is since, they have criminal models who they associated which, and gradually learn from. Such is done throughassociation or exposure, which can hence be stopped if aperson is taken to a moresuitableenvironmentbefore he/she acquires thesebehaviors.

According to the theory, there are three mechanisms by which personslearn about engaging in crime, which include beliefs, modeling, and differential reinforcement. A negativeconsequence of this theory is that some children may be brought up in greatenvironments, which are crime-free but end up becoming criminals. This is hence in contrast with the theory and is require another model or perspective that will help understand their behaviors. Other children may grow up in an environmental setting withcrime, may turn up to be great people in society, meaning that they were never negativelyaffected by their surroundings.

  1. Define strain, learning, or labeling theory (pick only one), and describe one major flaw of the theory.

The strain theory of crime states that certain stressors and strains increase the likelihood of crime. According to the theory, the strains in one’s life lead to negative emotions, such as anger and frustration,leading an individual to commit a crime.  The emotions from a human being create pressure for one to undertake a corrective action, wherecrime is one likely response.  A crime may be committed to help an individual escape or reduce strain. It could also be used by aperson to seeksrevengeagainst a certain source of strain, or may alternatively be used by a person to alleviate negative emotions.

An example of how the theory is applicable is whenpersonexperiences chronic unemployment, and consequently may end up getting involved in theft or selling drugs, as a way of sustaining aliving. A person may alsoseek revenge against a person who fired them.  Alternatively, an individual may take illicit drugs with an aim of feeling better.  According to the theory nevertheless, only a minorityof strained persons turn to crime. A major flaw of the theory is that it only best applies to lower-class peoplewho struggle with limited resources of obtainingtheir goals.  It fails to explain why thecollarcrimes occur, yet the perpetrators had the opportunity of achievingtheirgoals through using legal andlegitimatemeans.

4.One early point of debate in criminology addresses the question of whether crime is normal.

I believe that crime is normal.  From the social theory and the strain theory, it isapparent that there are multipleactors that becauseindividuals to commitcrimes. Criminal tendencies can be a result ofone’senvironmentand peers, who can influence one to be involved in some illegal actions. Onthe other hand, situations such as joblessness and idleness can alsoinfluence a person to be invoked in crime.


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