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General Theory Of Crime And Delinquency: Why Criminals Offend

1057 words - 5 pages

General Theory of Crime and Delinquency

In the article Why Criminals Offend: A General Theory of Crime and Delinquency by Robert Agnew the author explains many factors play a role in whether or not an individual will commit a crime. All of these factors are based solely on personal experiences through an individual's life time and a buildup of these factors will increase the chances for crime to be committed. Factors such as negative school experiences/ limited education, peer delinquency, irritability/ low self-control, poor parenting practices to name a few. Each factor is selected from the many aspects of where an individual's life can become influenced; social, environmental, and ...view middle of the document...

Taking this into account the General
Theory reiterates knowledge from other theories but relates those findings to each aspect of an individual's life which could help criminologists understand how each theory when put together can help reduce the criminal population. The General Theory can be used as a predictor for which individuals are at risk of becoming delinquent when focusing on the life domains and factors that Agnew has set out which lead to a criminal lifestyle. Working off of theories such as Classical Theory/ Rational Choice Theory, which believes in the cost vs. benefit model and that the absence of effective punishment could lead to further criminal behaviour, we can find this theory being portrayed in The General Theory through the poor parenting practices and the affects that prior crime has on subsequent crime. Other theories which are displayed in The General Theory is the Differential Association, Social Learning and Subculture theories which similarly believe crime is learned through association with criminals which is portrayed by Agnew through the peer delinquency factor. Numerous other theories such as Individual Trait, (Institutional) Anomie, Strain theory, Control Theory, and Labeling Theory. Each of these theories have become integrated in The General Theory taking important aspects and intertwining them to make one theory.
Something this theory stresses is the impact of an environment that a child grows up in. If a boy grows up in a household where it is the norm to see his father beating his mother frequently then this boy will grow up to believe that women are simply there to be controlled by men. Working off of this example there has recently been a shooting in Isla Vista by a young man named Elliot Rodger, although he grew up in a very well off home his parent's divorce when he was 7 left him with a sense of dread because “All the happy times I spent with my mother and father as a family were gone.” (Elliot Rodger's Manifesto)1 Then he was faced with his father having a girlfriend while dealing with many...

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