Summary: Social Control Theory

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Summary of Main Talking Points Social Control theorists maintain that most people obey the laws, rules and regulations of mainstream society because they have been trained and socialized to do so, while those who are more likely to become criminals and delinquents have weal social and community bonds. Travis Hirshi wrote the classic work on social control theory, Causes of Delinquency in 1969. Numerous studies of juvenile delinquents over the last forty years have confirmed Hirschi's views that such youths do feel detached from society and conventional morality, and have a weak attachment to family, friends and school. Poverty, segregation and racism are the main causes of social and community breakdown that have led to high rates of crime, violence and delinquency in the inner cities. Law enforcement bias is more evident in poor and minority communities with high levels of social breakdown and pathology. Social Control theorists maintain that most people obey the laws, rules and regulations of mainstream society because they have been trained and socialized to do so, and have also developed an internal moral sense. If they break the law, they fear that the consequences will hurt their families, result in the loss of status, employment and job opportunities, and damage their standing in the community. Their behavior is controlled by "attachment and commitment to conventional institutions", while those who lack this will not be deterred from deviance by threats of
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