Choice Theory- Is to choose to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior after weighing the consequences and benefits of their actions
People have free will to choose criminal or conventional behaviors, people choose to commit crime for reasons of greed or personal need, and crime can be controlled only by the fear of criminal sanctions.
1. In 1764, criminologist Cesare Beccaria wrote An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, which set forth classical criminological theory. He argued that the only justified rationale for laws and punishments was the principle of utility.
2. Beccaria believed the basis of society, as well as the origin of punishments and the right to punish, is the social contract. The only legitimate purpose of punishment is special deterrence and general deterrence.
3. Beccaria believed the best way to prevent and deter crime was to: • Enact laws that are clear, simple, and unbiased, and that reflect the consensus of the population. • Educate the public. • Eliminate corruption from the administration of justice. • Reward virtue.
4. Real-world drawbacks of Beccaria’s theory are: • Not all offenders are alike, juveniles are treated the same as adults. • Similar crimes are not always as similar as they might appear,first-time offenders are treated the same as repeat offenders.
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