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Reasoning Criminal - Rational Choice Perspectives on Offending

NCJ Number
D B Cornish, R V Clarke
Date Published
255 pages
Drawn from a 1985 conference sponsored by the Home Office (Great Britain) at Christ's College, papers in this volume propose an alternative theory of criminal behavior -- the rational choice perspective, which emphasizes the rational and adaptive aspects of offending rather than pathological issues, and the criminal event as influenced by situational factors.
Papers on empirical studies of criminal decisionmaking look at shoplifting, robbery, commercial burglary, and drug addiction. Among the areas discussed are victim or target selection and the decision to give up crime as a way of life. Papers by economists and psychologists consider general theoretical issues, including the place of a rational choice perspective in theoretical criminology and the criminal decisionmaking process. These papers suggest that normative economic and decision theory models may fail to capture the nature of the actual decisionmaking process involved in committing a crime. Also explored is the role of specialization in criminal behavior. Additional papers discuss policy implications of a rational choice approach for incapacitation and other crime control strategies. References and indexes.