BCJ 2000 Unit 5 Scholarly Activity

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Unit 5 Scholarly Activity

Columbia Southern University

There are many different kinds of social theories, which try to categorize the behaviors of criminals. Social process theories come to term by a person coming in contact or interacting with society. Social development theories try to say that the offender changes over time. The same way that different types of behaviors are learned, is equivalent to how people learn to do crime, and called the social learning theory. People how to commit a crime from someone, and learn how to do it correctly without getting caught by doing the same crime multiple times or studying those that do it precisely. Basically criminal behavior is a product of someone environment and is not a characteristic that a person is born with.

In 1939 Edwin Sutherland advance the learning theory by stating that criminality is learned through the process of differential association. His theory was used to stop discrimination to people that lived in minority neighborhoods. He wanted it to rely on whether or not people commit crimes no matter what their race, class, or ethnicity is. I don’t this would this raise or lower the crime rate. It is all up to the person’s judgement and what they think is right or wrong. When other scientist were critiquing Sutherland’s theory they stated that is findings were invalid because not everyone that is around crime becomes a criminal. And on the other hand there are people that did not grow up around crime, that turn to crime. I differential association is somewhat relevant because it is shown in society that people who are around crime are more likely to be a criminal, unless they choose not to.

Social control theory target the bond someone have with their environment, the people around them, and how identities are shaped because of it (Schmalleger, 2016). Scientists are trying to find the aspects of personalities and environment that stop people from committing crimes. It matters what the persons morals are and whether the temptations to commit a crime appeals to them. This can keep crime rates a lower rate only if people had a high moral compass and do like the consequences that may happen by doing a crime. The fact that no one can precisely determine whether or not someone exposed to a criminal behavior will become a criminal is called containment theory (Schmalleger, 2016). In certain situations if a person family is in a particular group or gang they expect other family members to be in that same group. This is very relevant in today society and if someone’s dad is a gang most of the time the son of that dad will be guaranteed to be in that gang, and likely be dismissed out of that family if they do not accept that same life. There have a lot of times when someone is in a gang because their family member are in it. The person feels like an outcast because they are considered a part of the family because their family does not accept anymore.

There are even times when someone feels neglected from their family or feels like they are the odd ball of the group and turns to crime to lash out against and make them notice them. This is called social bond theory and is directly affected to someone’s interests with other (Schmalleger, 2016). Some people form bonds with people that are criminals and want to be just like tem. Other people that do not an attachment to anyone or anything are often psychopaths. If someone is around people that have high morals then they would likely commit a crime because they developed the same morals as the people that they are around. But at the same time might defy that moral system on purpose knowing that is it going to affect others negatively. I do not think no one can truly control whether or not someone will commit a crime.

The labeling theory pertains to those individuals that are labeled criminals based on the physical features (Schmalleger, 2016). Being labeled malicious or destructive human being because you did one bad thing is called tagging (Schmalleger, 2016). This is very detrimental to a person livelihood after they have committed a crime. As a result of being tagged the person is provided the opportunity to associate with people that are not considered bad, and are forced to associate with people that have been labeled as bad like they have been. Many positions of labeling come from a person first action when committing a crime. Some people do crimes to better their situations or better the lives of their children. If someone is tagged it seems to spark a person to commit a second crime, because they believe people already have the assumption that they will do another crime anyway. I do not think that people necessarily commit a second crime because they are tagged. Some of those people take it upon themselves to make sure those people know that they are a good person and the one time they did bad was a lapse in judgment on their part.

There is little to predict of a person intentions and how they will react to a situation. Most people would say no because they are scared of the consequences. Some people will go through with it because want to feel what it is like to do something that they are not used or something bad. Everyone thinks differently and how they deal with things has something to do with a lot of different factors. Numerous things can affect whether or not someone commits a crime. Some examples are: family situations, expectations from loved ones, peer pressure, mental capabilities, etc. The possibilities are endless and it all comes down to what unfolds as a case is investigated.


Schmalleger, F. (2016) Criminology 3rd Edition. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.

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