Rational Choice Theory as a Deterant to Crime Essay

622 Words Dec 8th, 2006 3 Pages
Written Assignment 1 (Due October 1st )

Rational choice theories are among the fastest growing theories in social science today. Many sociologists and political scientists defend the claim that rational choice theory can provide the basis for a unified and comprehensive theory of social behavior. What distinguishes rational choice theory from other forms of theory is that it denies the existence of any kinds of action other than the purely rational and calculative. All social action can be seen as rationally motivated, as instrumental action, however much of it may appear to be irrational or non-rational. I believe that the Rational Choice Theory would be most beneficial in the reduction or control of crime.
According to the Rational
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People will engage in criminal and deviant activities if they do not fear apprehension and punishment. Norms, laws, and enforcement are to be designed and implemented to produce and maintain the image that "negative" and disruptive behaviors will receive attention and punishment. Although specific individuals become the object of enforcement activities, general deterrence theory focuses on reducing the probability of deviance in the general population. Examples of control activities reflecting the concerns of this concept include: Drunk-driving crackdowns, special gang-related crime task forces and police units, publication and highly visible notices of laws and policies.
General deterrence strategies focus on future behaviors, preventing individuals from engaging in crime or deviant by impacting their rational decision making process. Specific deterrence focuses on punishing known deviants in order to prevent them from ever again violating the specific norms they have broken. Through the rational use of punishment as a negative sanction, problematic behavior can be cut down dramatically. Some examples are: shock sentencing, corporal punishment, mandatory arrests for certain behaviors.
Specific deterrence strategies, focuses on punishing known deviants in order to prevent them from ever…