Theories of Crime Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 March 2017

Theories of Crime

Due to the high rates of violent crimes in California, the state law makers and the people approved in 1994 an important decision that changed the sentencing law of criminals. Called the Three Strikes Law and You’re Out, the law aims to prolong the number of months of imprisonment for criminals who have recommitted a crime. The law was a product of public concerns wherein many violent offenders after their release from prison would just commit another crime.

The strategic intention of the Three Strikes legislation was to make prison sentences longer and to make them mandatory when defendants with qualifying, prior criminal records were convicted of new offenses (Zimring, Hawkins & Kamin, 2001, p. 91). With this reasoning the ability of criminals to commit further crimes would be restricted or make them discouraged and protect public safety. It is said to get rid of repeat offenders and prevent potential criminals. Before the average sentencing was 21 months but it is now extended to 25 months to life for three-time offenders. In 2004, the state tried to revise the law but majority of the people of California rejected the change and the law still remains as it is today.

As to the theory of crime causation closely associated to the law, I find the psychological theory very fitting in explaining how criminals develop anti-social behavior early in childhood that continues to adulthood and become repeat offenders. This theory seeks to identify the character of a criminal how he thinks and decides. There are several factors that influence his criminal behavior mostly from family and individual. Psychologists cited broken homes as a leading cause of criminal behavior. In my research, I discover that children separated from their parents or suffer abused are likely to offend than children whose families are intact. Broken families often become grounds for trauma where children undergo painful experiences that have damaging effects on their development.

In addition, children of broken homes have no choice but to confront parental conflict, loss of parents, poverty, and neglect that could give them emotional problems. Hans Eysenck’s, well-known for his studies on crime and personality, said that people who offend are those with weak conscience due to poor state of mind. Often these people are neurotic (emotionally upset), psychotic (deranged/loss contact with reality) or extravert (assertive/thrill seeker). According to Eysenck people who are psychotic tend to do harm because their emotions are unstable, they are not compassionate, they are hostile and lack of understanding.

The psychological theory clearly answers how the Three Strikes law came into existence and how it should be applied to repeat offenders. It is within this theory that I see how people develop criminal minds. People who have multiple crimes should be dealt differently and this law should remind criminals of the consequences of their illegal actions. This law should be applied to its fullest terms and conditions so that criminals in our society would be prevented from harming the public. I believe that this could help lessen criminality and seclude the bad elements in our community.

Giving criminals more days in jail should make them reflect of their future and perhaps assist them in transforming their lives into better ones. These kinds of criminals can be treated psychologically through counseling and the law can provide criminals the time for their rehabilitation. Such law could also offer better opportunities for criminals to prepare themselves in coming back to society at the same time the people in the community to accept them once again.

In addition, the law could give criminals a good transition period from prison life to normal life in the community. There will be more chances for both criminals and society to patch up things and once more live together in the same community. For law enforcement, it is necessary to know the minds of criminals so that they would be equipped with the right tools in confronting and rehabilitating future felons and repeat offenders.

Reference

Zimring, F. E., Hawkins, G.& Kamin, S. (2001). Punishment and Democracy: Three Strikes and You’re Out in California. Oxford University Press US, New York.

Law Library. (2008). Crime-Causation-Psychological-Theories. American Law and Legal Information. Retrieved March 28, 2008, from http://law.jrank.org/pages/811/Crime-Causation-Psychological-Theories-Conclusions.html

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