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Factors and Theories in Criminality (From Crime and Justice in America: A Human Perspective, P 172-210, 1998, Leonard Territo, James B. Halsted, et al., - See NCJ-174565)

NCJ Number
L Territo; J B Halsted; M L Bromley
Date Published
39 pages
This review of literature on crime causes theory covers theories on economic factors, biological factors, psychological factors, differential reinforcement, social learning, sociological factors, rational choice, routine activities, self-control, differential association, containment, and labeling.
The main reason that so many theories have been proposed is that crime is complex. The variety of behavior defined as criminal mean that theories of crime and criminal behavior must encompass a wide range of human activity. The relationship between economic factors and criminality is extremely complex. Studies of chromosomes, identical and fraternal twins, adopted children, and intelligence suggest links between genetics and criminality. Psychiatrists have interpreted crime as a category or mental illness, whereas psychologists have tended to regard criminality as behavior that is learned and reinforced. Social learning theory asserts that people learn both deviant behavior and the definitions that go along with them. Sociological theories focus on issues related to collective rather than individual criminal behavior. Sociopsychological theories examine the processes by which people become juvenile delinquents or criminals and the differential response factors that help explain why some people exposed to adverse environmental conditions engage in crime while others do not. Photographs, discussion and review questions, notes, and 104 references