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Discuss the Evidence that Criminals Make Rational Choices

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Discuss the Evidence that Criminals Make Rational Choices Research has shown that people who are predisposed to committing crime are more concerned about gaining the approval of peers and significant others and are more likely to believe that crime is not morally wrong, than any fear of detection, punishment, educational sanctions or even rejection by parents The tendency to commit a crime is related to the life experiences of children and the exposure to society as they grow up. When an individual is prone to committing a crime, he/she will become more inclined by the social norms that encourage/discourage criminal activity and they will have a need to fit in rather than a fear of reprisals. The Rational Choice Approach is the choices we make about how to respond in certain situations, whether they are rational or not. The two theories that explore the link between criminal intentions and actions and the Rational Choice Approach are: Theory of Reasoned Action - proposes that the intention to commit a criminal act is determined by our attitudes and perceptions of what other significant people in our lives expect of us. ...read more.


only 7% of reported burglaries were 'opportunistic' whereas 59% burglaries were planned before being carried out. Burglars recognise the significance of personal abilities to complete a job and plan it carefully. Sampson (1987) found a strong positive correlation between the number of single adults households and the number of burglaries committed on all types of property in the same area. Percentage of Single-Adult Households Household composition Low (0-8%) Medium (9-18%) High (19-36%) Single adult no children .020 .039 .051 Two adults no children .009 .002 .031 Single adult with children .077 .128 .143 Two adults with children .027 .031 .044 This table shows the connection between the areas where the percentage of single adult households is medium or high and the high risk of being burgled regardless of what type of property you live in. The evidence shows the values and thoughts that criminals hold towards crime and their perceived control over the situation. Subjective Norms are social influences (our beliefs and attitudes about what is acceptable and appropriate are influenced by our subjective evaluations about what significant others (parents) ...read more.


Fischer (1987) found in relation to rapists a strong positive correlation between traditional male attitudes towards women and beliefs about enforced sexual intercourse. Scully and Marolla (1984) conducted a study in which they found that 40% of a sample of 114 convicted male rapists in the USA denied raping woman and they justified their behaviour by blaming the victims. They also blamed their actions on a facilitator. Facilitator: something that influences you to do the deed that you did i.e. drugs or alcohol Scully and Marolla (1984) "stated" that convicted rapists have: "Learned the attitudes and actions consistent with sexual aggression against women including the acquisition of culturally derived vocabularies of motive which can be used to diminish responsibility and to negotiate a non-deviant identity". There appears to be enough evidence to suggest that criminals make rational choices about whether to commit a crime or not and that they are responsible for their own actions. However, they may get off with a minor sentence because of insufficient evidence for a higher sentence. Some criminals may escape conviction from the judgements made in the courtroom due to some technicalities in the law. Amritpal Saund Psychology ...read more.

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