Rational Choice Theory

Rational Choice Theory

In criminology, it is employed to explain the criminal behavior. It assumes that the state is responsible for the maintenance of order and for preserving the common good through legislation. The laws control human behavior through swiftness, severity, and certainty of punishments (Phillips, 2011,7). The theory consists of 3 core elements: a reasoning criminal, crime-specific focus and separate analysis of criminal involvement and criminal event (Phillips, 2011, 4). The reasoning criminal element postulates that criminals commit crimes in order to benefit themselves. The element proposes that criminals have specific goals and alternative ways to achieve these goals. In addition, they hold information that assists them in choosing the best alternative to implement their goals.The element on crime specific focus assumes that decision making differs with the nature of a crime, that is, decision making is different for each crime. For instance, the decision making to commit a robbery differs with the decision making to commit burglaries, while the decision making by a burglar to target wealthy neighborhood, differs with the one to target middle class and public housing.The last element addresses three issues: deciding to get involved in a crime, continuing to get involved once one has decided to get involved, and the decision to withdraw from the commission of the crime. On the other hand, criminal event implies the decision to get involved with a specific crime.

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