Self Control Theory of Crime - Essay Example

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Social Control and Conflict Theory of Crime Social Control Theory Social control theories of crime claim that criminal behavior can be attributed to the absence of social ties which promote lawful behavior. Elements such as norms, values and beliefs are central to explaining why people do or do not commit crime as opposed to motivational theories (Jensen, 2003)…
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Self Control Theory of Crime
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Download file to see previous pages According to Hirschi (1969), processes of socialization result in the development of self control which causes us to avert from criminal behavior. Criminal behavior occurs when moral codes and shared norms are not internalized and when individuals are not incorporated into a community (Nye, 1958, p. 4). Social control theory derives from Hobbes’ social contract theory, which claims that our desire to belong to society causes us to sacrifice the freedom to act as we please in order to promote our co-existence. We do not act in a way that damages the freedom of those around us, and in doing so we become “contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself" (Hobbes, 1985, p. 1651). Indeed, self control theory claims that a society’s norms must be ‘concrete’ enough to be effective and to prevent criminal behavior (Reiss, 1994). Garland views social control theory as “…a functioning system…which is also dependent on other forms and other social relations” (1993, p. 283). Social control thus adds a two-faceted dimension to the concept of criminal behavior. For example, it is a valid element of knowledge that criminal behavior if detected will attract sanctions. ...
l norm which recognize “the competence of inner-city communities to control law enforcement” (Waldeck, 1999, p.2; Wilson and Kelling, 1982, pp.29-31). Conflict Theory Conflict theory mainly derives from Marx’s claim that crime is inevitable in societies which are capitalist. This is because such societies cause some groups to become segregated and less equal than others. Members of such groups may thus turn to criminal behavior in order to establish material equality with other groups. Conflict theory is based on the core notion that social contracts do not exist between citizens and the state, and because societies continually change, this causes social conflicts to arise. Citizens from different social classes, with different interests are a part of society, but their interests often do not correspond (Sellin, 1983). On the contrary, the lack of common interests between individuals and classes causes conflict (Vold, 1958). A society is collective in that the actions of its individual members cause it to progress – it is essentially limited to the actions of its individuals. Depending on which group or class has access to the coercion of the law, inequality may arise and cause those who are less equal to be oppressed. This inequality causes the conflict which in turn causes individuals to commit crime in an attempt to re establish equality. Reiman describes the conflict theory as “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” (2000); he portrays crime as the result of a struggle between crime and formal laws which govern when it occurs and how it is to be punished. Rather than being a collective social concept, crime is defined by elite groups which prohibit behavior which has the potential to damage their interests. Crimes such as theft and trespass are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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