Theories of Criminal Behavior

Abstract Criminal behavior entails an act that is unacceptable according to the laws of a given society. It is worth noting that there are different theories which attempt to explain such behaviors, how and why they occur. It therefore follows that criminology is the study of crime as it plays an important role in understanding the concepts of crime and how criminals think. On the other hand, a criminal justice system explains a series of events from the time a crime was committed to the prosecution of the offender in question.

It bears noting that criminal behavior has been studied to help in the formulation of policies and programs that ensure fair legal decisions and better crime prevention techniques. Table of Contents Abstract 2 Table of Contents 3 1. 0 Introduction 3 2. 0 Theory of criminal behavior 4 3. 0 Relevance of studies related to the theory of criminal behavior 5 4. 0 Role of criminal behavior theories in the criminal justice system 6 5. 0 Conclusion 6 References 7 1. 0 Introduction Crime depicts any act or omission that is prohibited by the public LL.

On the same note, behavior is a function which has measurable differences in psychological characteristics among individuals (Brennan-Galvin, 2002). Such characteristics may be influenced by constitutional, personality attributes, and neurophysiologic or genetics factors. Likewise, criminal behavior is the commission of acts which in their situational and social settings are considered crimes due to the fact that they violate existing norms and codes of conduct regardless of whether the perpetrator is arrested, and if tried, convicted or acquitted.

The origin of criminal behavior is complex since it involves long term interaction of the psychological and biological characteristics, economic as well as social and cultural environments in which different individuals were born, raised and lived (Cassel & Bernstein, 2007). With this background this paper will objectively discuss the theory of criminal behavior, why it should be studied and the roles the theory plays in the criminal justice system. 2. 0 Theory of criminal behavior Criminal behavior theory is a set of principles and statements which attempt to explain how one or more factors lead to criminal acts.

In addition, the theory explains the response to a particular behavior and not the crime committed. Similarly, the phenomenon being studied takes place after a behavior has occurred and must be a reaction to the behavior in question. It therefore includes the basic decision regarding whether to employ punishment as a control or to consider the fact that people are to be blamed for their harmful acts. Any theory must be testable, thus it must be stated in such a way that other people can collect information and test the validity of the theories from the real world (Vito, Maahs, & Holmes, 2007).

After testing validity, the weight of the evidence supporting the theory is measured by ensuring that it is empirically supported. This implies that the theory should be in a position to give valid results when it is applied to the real world. Finally, a theory should have concepts that cover both parsimony and scope. It worth mentioning that parsimony entails the provision of a more concise explanation regarding a theory. Studies indicate that a theory which uses few concepts to explain a crime is better than the one which employs several concepts.

On the other hand, scope refers to what a particular theory is able to clearly exhibit in terms of definitions or topics of study. Many theories have been put forward to explain criminal behaviors but the most common one is the social control theory. This maintains that all people have the potential to violate the law and the society (Alston, Harley & Lenhoff, 1995). Furthermore, the environment is an important fueling factor because it provides the opportunity for criminal activities to be carried out.

This is bent on the fact that an individual gains the know how on the carriying out of criminal activities as easily as obtaining knowledge on performing socially acceptable activities. However, any theory related to the explanation of criminal behaviors must logically and clearly give details on the factors which relate to crime. 3. 0 Relevance of studies related to the theory of criminal behavior There is a lot of importance linked to the study of theories relating to criminal behavior in relation to criminology, which is the body of knowledge that classifies crime as a social phenomenon.

Thus the studies carried out in relation to the theory criminal behavior aid in accomplishing specific goals regarding crime such as its prevention. Additionally, such knowledge enables the concerned parties to vividly understand the behavioral patterns of criminals (Tittle & Grasmick, 1997). As a consequence the war against crime can easily be achieved. Moreover, such knowledge goes a long way in the identification as well as explanation of the causes of criminal acts among different individuals.

It equally bears mentioning that when such studies are carried out enables clear understanding of the main reasons why a particular crime took place and as such, the development of strategies to control criminal behaviors is easily done (Cote, 2002) 4. 0 Role of criminal behavior theories in the criminal justice system Criminal behavior theories play a significant role within the justice system. For instance they help in the understanding of the manner in which legal decision making influences the criminal justice system, individuals and groups.

Considering that the law is constantly modified for the better, criminologists are required to determine whether legal change is required as well as what shape it should take. Thus, it takes the understanding of these theories to come up with the relevant changes suitable for a particular criminal justice system (Siegel, 2008). The application of criminal behavior theories helps in crime reduction by criminal justice officials. In addition, the criminal justice system officials employ the relevant theories in the formulation of better policies and crime programs as well as strengthen the existing ones.

Through the understanding of criminal behavior and various patterns of crime, the criminal justice system is better placed when it comes to the prevention of a particular type of crime and easy apprehension of criminals due to the ability to detect their next move. 5. 0 Conclusion Form the research carried out, it is evident that there is no single theory which can adequately provide all the explanations in relation to crime since a crime patterns entail several phenomena.

It is important to note that much as criminological theories attempt to explain the causes of criminal behavior, other measures that are not necessarily theoretical, can be employed in order to fight and reduce crime rates. On the same note, further research has to be carried out so that crime rates can be further reduced. References Alston, R. J. , Harley, D. , & Lenhoff, K. (1995). Hirschi's Social Control Theory: A Sociological Perspective on Drug Abuse among Persons with Disabilities. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 61(4), 31. Brennan-Galvin, E. (2002). Crime and Violence in an Urbanizing World.

Journal of International Affairs, 56(1), 123. Cassel, E. , & Bernstein, D. A. (2007). Criminal behavior. London: Routledge. Cote, S. (2002). Criminological theories: bridging the past to the future. Thousand oaks, CA: SAGE. Siegel, L. J. (2008). Criminology. Florence: Cengage Learning. Tittle, C. R. , & Grasmick, H. G. (1997). Criminal Behavior and Age: A Test of Three Provocative Hypothesis. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 88(1), 309-342. Vito, G. F. , Maahs, J. R. , & Holmes, R. M. (2007). Criminology: theory, research, and policy. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning.