Criminal Theories

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Unit 12: Crime & its effects on Society
Task 3
P3 – Describe two theories of criminal behaviour and the factors that contribute to them

Why does crime happen?

For P3, learners should describe two theories of criminal behaviour from the following:

1. Biological
Genetic Determinism
Biological Determinism
2. Sociological
Labeling theory
The Chicago School
Sociological Determination
3. Psychological
Psychoanalytical theory
Social Learning theory

You also need to explain how causal factors contribute to crime. You should include:

Peer Pressure
Drugs / Alcohol
Political and socio economic factors

An in-depth knowledge of theories is not required at this level, rather demonstration of knowledge of
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Operant learning models are based on the utilitarian concepts that all people wish to maximize pleasure and minimize pain or discomfort. Skinnerian based social psychological theories of reinforcement and punishment are influential in this model of criminal control although the idea of punishment for crime has a much longer history (Jeffery, 1990). Technically speaking, punishments are any sanctions designed to decrease a specific behaviour; thus, fines, jail sentences, etc. are all forms of punishment. However, Skinner himself recognized that punishment was generally ineffective in behaviour modification and that reinforcement worked better (e.g., Skinner, 1966). Actually, a caveat should be applied here. Punishment is effective if applied properly, but unfortunately it rarely is applied properly. Punishment needs to be immediate (or as close to the time the offence occurred as possible), inescapable, and sufficiently unpleasant (in fact the more it is subjectively perceived as harsh the better). Given the judicial system in the U.S. it would be hard to apply punishment to its maximal effectiveness, thus it is not an effective deterrent as seen in the stable homicide rates of states that carry the death penalty. Nonetheless, punishments and sanctions for criminal behaviour are based on behavioural psychological principles.
Because harsh forms of
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