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General Theory of Crime

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Krystal Russell

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of General Theory of Crime

General Theory of Crime
Definition and Explain Juvenile Delinquency
Self Control theory's main focus is on relationships and how effective those relationships are when it comes to engagement of delinquent acts (Kempf-Leonard).

Key concepts:
Self Control
Poor Parenting

What does the theory seek to explain?
Self Control theory is essentially, based on the individual’s level of self-control is the outcome of parental socialization occurring in approximately the first ten years of life (Vaughn).

"What sets Self-Control theory apart from other criminological theories is the insistence that an individual-level characteristic is mostly responsible for involvement in crime and other antisocial behaviors, and that this individual-level characteristic is stable across social contexts (Vaughn)."

Introduction to Theory and Theorists
Travis Hirschi & Michael Gottfredson
To what extent has this theory been supported by research and evidence?
Are there any strengths and limitations of this theory?
Measures of low self-control are strongest compared to other theories
Causal relationship between self-control and criminality
low-self control (effects of differential association)
"fallacy of autonomy"
social forces that are transforming American families (Gottfredson, pp. 238-250)

How does this theory explain teenagers' violent behaviors? participation in street gangs?
The general theory of crime explains why teenagers become involved with violent behaviors or participation in street gangs due to the fact that large amounts of risk factors contribute to a larger percentage of low self-control. With not having some protective factors, teenagers have little control over themselves.

Do you agree with Hirschi and Gottfredson? That poor parenting is the main cause of children committing delinquent acts? Why or why not?
This is a theory about the "redirected attention of criminologists to the family and to what parents do, or do not do, during childhood that affects the likelihood of delinquency. (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990, p. 238)

Travis Hirschi: American Criminologist and Sociologist

Michael Gottfredson: Criminologist
Self-control is achieved by an individuals’ relationships by their bonds to family, school, work, everyday activities, and beliefs.

"They report that across studies testing Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory, low self-control "had an effect size that exceeded .20"- a findings that would "rank self-control as one of the strongest known correlates of crime" (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1990, p. 239)

Some other important terms related to General Theory of Crime
Self-control: Respond to immediate impulses, plan, evaluate alternative actions, and refrain form actions. (Self).
Risk Factors: "Anything that increases the probability that a person will suffer harm (Shader)."
Protective Factors: "Examining protective factors that will reduce the risk of delinquency is as important for identifying interventions that are likely to work (Wasserman, 2003)."
Self control focuses on the idea that one has the ability to control one's emotions, behaviors, and desires in the face of external demands in order to function in society.
Poor parenting and this theory relate due to the idea that the more un-involved the parent is, the more likely the child will have a chance to participate in delinquent acts.
Delinquency directly relates to the General Theory of Crime due to the acts that children commit under poor parental supervision, as well as low self-control.
How do these concepts directly relate?
The concepts of self control, poor parenting, as well as delinquency all relate together because it starts with poor parenting and leads to low self-control. From there, low self-control leads to the desire to be delinquent.
Gottfredspm. M. R., & Hirschi, T. (n.d.) A General Theory of Crime. In F. T.
Cullen, R. Agnew, & P. Wilcox (Authors), Criminological Theory: Past to
Present (5th ed., pp. 238-250). Oxford University Press.
Howell, J. C. (n.d.). Chaper 4. In Preventing and Reducing Juvenile
Katz, Rebecca S. 1999. "Building the Foundation for a Side-by-Side
Explanatory Model: A General Theory of Crime, the Age-Graded Life-Course Theory, and Attachment Theory." Western Criminology Review 1(2). [Online].
Available: http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v1n2/katz.html.
Kempf-Leonard, K., & Morris, N.A. (2007, July 24). Social Control Theory
Self-Control. (2002-2014)
Shader, M. (n.d.). Risk Factors for Delinquency: An Overview.
Vaughn, M.G., DeLisi, M., Beaver, K.M., Wright, J.P., & Howard, M.O. (2007)
Toward a Psychopathology of Self-Control Theory: The Importance of
Narcissistic Traits.
Wasserman, G.A., Keenan, K., Tremblay, R.E., Coie, J.D., Herrenkohl, T.I.,
Loeber, R., & Petechuk, D. (2003, April). Risk and Protective Factors of
Child Delinquency.
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