Various studies show that indulgence in criminal activities is not a one –off activity, but rather a series of historical antecedents that culminates with the individuals becoming criminals. The various antecedents to crime among individuals include maltreatment of children, Drug, and substance abuse, Parental conflict, growth environment, father’s aggressiveness among other factors. Maltreatment of children makes them stubborn. In addition, children with history of maltreatment become deviant and are more likely to deviate from the social order. Furthermore, conflicts among parents are also antecedents to crime among children when they are adults. Due to regular conflicts and fights among the children, it is likely that children will be short of parental love and attention. Consequently, such children grow with emptiness and are highly likely to engage in criminal activities in the quest reduce the emptiness. Substance abuse also leads people to engaging in crimes. For example, 18 percent of federal prisoners in the USA revealed to have committed the crimes in the quest to get money to buy drugs. Studies also reveal that about 17 percent of all the state prisoners committed the crimes in the quest to get money for buying drugs.
Several theories help to understand causes of crimes in the society and the approaches that can be used to offer solutions. Rational choice theory assumes a utilitarian tactic. The theory holds that men are reasoning actors who weight the means and ends, the costs and beliefs before making a rational choice (Young, 2016). In addition, the theory assumes that engaging in crimes is a purposive behavior that is premeditated by the offender to meeting the commonplace needs, which include money, sex, excitement, status among others. However, meeting the needs calls for making of choices and decisions, most of which are constrained by existence of limits, lack of information and inability (De Jonge & Palgrave Connect , 2012). According to this theory, the offenders way the existing options and choice crimes as the best means for satisfying or meeting their needs. The rational choice is founded on various assumptions. Individualism is among the assumptions leading to purposive crime. As per the assumption, the offenders view themselves as individuals. Another assumption is the offenders’ needs for maximizing their objectives. In addition, the theory assumes that the offenders are self-interested. As per this assumption, the offenders think of themselves including the different ways of advancing their individual goals (Tibbetts & Piquero, 2012). Other core point of the theory include; rationality, which entails calculations, and assumes that people choose behavior freely, which is either conforming or deviant based on the underlying rational calculations. In addition, the theory assumes that the central point of the calculations is the cost-benefit analysis, which compares the resultant pleasures and pains of the act. Among all the existing options, the individual’s choice is based on pleasure maximization. For this reason, individuals choose the option that maximizes their pleasure considering the prevailing conditions such as the imminent pains (Umsl.edu, 2017). The theory also provides that the state have the mandate of maintaining order as well as preserving the common good by enactment and enforcement of system of laws. Furthermore, as per the theory, swiftness, certainty and severity of punishment are the main elements to understanding the ability of laws to control human behavior.
Criminal justice officers are required to base their decisions pertaining criminals on this theory. As per the theory, the officers are required to assume that crimes are purposeful actions. Engaging in crimes is not accidentally rather a result of a well-calculated resolve. Before engaging in the crime, the offenders normally calculate the probable pains and pleasures then decide on whether to go on in committing the crime or not. Based on this presumption, the offenders should be given the most severe punishment made to deter them from committing the same or similar crimes in the future. For example, before drug barons engage in the trafficking of drugs, they must weigh the possible consequences. Based on this assumption, drug trafficking offenders should be given the most severe punishment including life imprisonment
Labeling Theory can also help in dealing with the rising levels of crime in the society. The theory shows how self-identity as well as behavior of individuals can be influenced by the various terms used in describing them (Duffee & Maguire, 2015). The theory is associated with stereotyping. It holds that deviance, whereby an individual is presumed to be deviant results to the individuals engaging in deviant behavior. As per the theory, a child living in urban area where most of the residents are gang members may end up labelled a member of a gang. Consequently, such child is likely to start behaving like a member of the gang. The theory assumes that continued labelling of individuals leads to losing their original identity and acquiring the new identity (Duffee & Maguire, 2015). Using the theory, the criminal justice has the role to educate and warn the society about labeling the youngsters and associating them with different criminal activities. In addition, parents need to be warned against labeling their children especially when they wrong as they may lose their identity and become real criminals.
Scientific approaches may be among the best approaches to reduce or eliminate the rising cases of crimes, particularly drug abuse in the society. The approach may involve compulsory testing of people to identify traces of drugs in their blood stream. The testing should be done for both children and the adults every time they go to hospital or when the family members notice some funny behaviors in the members. After establishing that the people are abusing drugs, the condition will be intervened by placing them under psychological counsellors and giving them medicine to cure the drug’s effects and the prevailing addition. Moreover, the method should be applicable in schools particularly in high schools. Blood samples of the students need to be tested regularly to ascertain whether they are abusing any form of drugs or not. The approach will reduce addictions and the number of deaths resulting from drug abuse.
Enactment and enforcement of severe laws to curb criminal activities will be a solution to the rising levels of crime in the society. Both the state and the federal governments need to enact laws geared towards preventing criminal activities in the United States. For example, due to the rising cases ease of access and abuse of the drugs, drug barons found guilty of the crime need to be imprisoned for life. In addition, the federal government should laws to provide for capital punishment for such offenders. Based on the Rational Choice and Deterrence Theory, such severe punishments are likely people from engaging in the crimes.
In addition, providing civic education to the public will help to deter crime. The civic education program will aim at educating the public concerning different laws, crimes and the consequent punishment for the crimes. In addition, the program will enlighten the public on how to avoid engaging in criminal activities. Furthermore, the program will educate the public on how to get government assistance for those willing to stop crime but have been unable.
De Jonge, J., & Palgrave Connect (Online, S. (Online Service). (2012). Rethinking Rational Choice Theory : A Companion on Rational and Moral Action. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Duffee, D., & Maguire, E. R. (2015). Criminal Justice Theory : Explaining the Nature and Behavior of Criminal Justice. New York, NY: Routledge.
Tibbetts, S. G., & Piquero, A. R. (2012). Rational Choice and Criminal Behavior : Recent Research and Future Challenges. New York: Routledge.
Umsl.edu. (2017). Rational Choice and Deterrence Theory. [online] Available at: http://www.umsl.edu/~keelr/200/ratchoc.html [Accessed 11 Jan. 2017].
Young, L. A. (2016). Rational Choice Theory and Religion : Summary and Assessment. London: Routledge