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To Commit A Crime Or Not Based On Gottfredson And Hirsch's Self Control Theory

1230 words - 5 pages

Gottfredson and Hirsch’s self-control theory revolves around one’s inclination to commit a crime or refrain from committing a crime based on low or high self-controls. It is a general crime theory that explains all crime at all periods in time. The principal factor is self- control. In this theory, a person with low self-control is much more likely to commit a crime then a person with high self-control. For Gottfredson and Hirsch’s definition of crime, they state that a crime is an act undertaken in a person’s pursuits of self-interests. People that are involved in criminal acts in this theory are also prone to impulsive behaviors that provide some form of short term gratification. These impulsive behaviors include speeding, drinking and gambling. Due to the statistics that a path toward or away from crime commences early in life, Gottfredson and Hirsch contended further that the level of self-control is dependent on the quality of upbringing from parents at an early age. This theory goes on to state that parenting is the most important factor in determining a person’s self-control. According to the theory a person will have low self-control in the future if they have an unsupervised neglectful and abusive upbringing. Due to this, they could be prone to be impulsive, risk taking, non-verbal and tend to engage in crime throughout their lives. High self-control is taught at a young age by parents who supervise and spend the needed time with their kids. Parents teach their kids by punishing them for misconduct and they eventually develop the self-control needed which allows them to resist the temptations of crime. This also helps them in life in school, maintaining a job, and relationships. In this theory, if a person has not attained self- control at a relatively early period in life then it is very rare that they will be able to deviate from impulsive and often criminal behaviors. According to Gotfredson and Hirschi, change is an unlikely scenario since self-control cannot be taught past a certain level in childhood development.
Sampson and Laub were able to conduct a follow up study on crime throughout the life course by finding age old data on 500 delinquents and 500 non delinquents which was originally initiated by the Gleucks in the 1940’s. The main point behind Sampson and Laub’s age-graded theory of informal social control is that the relationship between early deviant offending and later adult deviant behavior is not entirely dependent on an individual’s characteristics. The idea is that some events in life can change a person while other people will continue to go unchanged. This theory, like Hirschi’s focuses on social bonds. The first main component of the theory involves how negative effects of informal family and school social controls can lead to weak bonds and then delinquency in childhood and adolescence. The second main component is that informal bonds to family and work during adulthood can help to explain why criminal behaviors...

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