Wednesday, January 26, 2005

 

The Theory of Crimes, part 1

I have never been a believer that the criminal mind can be dissected to the point that a theory can describe it. Being the everlasting student that I am, working toward a doctorate as it vaguely appears in the distance, I'm slowly putting together a journal that will be printed one fine day on the subject of criminal justice. From my Criminology class, here's one entry that I've put together:

Applying Theory to the Criminal Mind:

One of the main focuses I hoped to put together was the idea that crime could be described in a theory, and hopefully a single theory alone. After all, in the past four years, it seems that political candidates have described entire nations with a single line that is based on a single theory of "We're right, and you're wrong." The process of running an entire nation has to be more complex than the theory of why people do bad things, regardless of the fact that they could be harshly punished for committing an illegal act. I have always been a rather polarized thinker, and my ideas are based on experience rather than theory. In other words, I would rather see what something is about if I don't understand it, or have never seen it before. Outside of the basic ideas of crime, and the penal codes that govern jurisdictions, the segment that I found most useful in this chapter examined the cases for considering theory --- or rather, establishing if a theory will work for a certain case.

Basic theory is broken down in the questions of "how" and "why", which the author could easily use to describe the format of the entire textbook. In fact, theories of all shapes and sized could use the same basic idea --- "How" does something occur, and "why" is it happening? In the United States, although we have a set of Federal rules that control our conduct, we also have individual state and local rules that govern us further. So, in turn, we must add the research of crime, the policy it is controlled by (or rather, the policy it is trying to break free from the control of), and the practice that does it's best to stay one step ahead. By mixing and mingling these with the "how" and "why" of the theory, we come up with a basic model of crime, so long as we stay focused on a certain area. But, even when given stringent rules to dictate how we will manifest a theory, test it, and see if it proves to be true, a section from Understanding Crime rings
true:

Although theory is the basic building block for the advancement of human knowledge, the testing of crime theories is problematic. In the natural sciences, such as chemistry and biology, theories can usually be subjected to rigorous laboratory testing and replication (e.g., testing the effects of certain chemicals on genetically engineered --- and nearly identical --- laboratory rats). The social or behavioral sciences are concerned with behavior that is peculiarly human, and testing is limited accordingly. We could subject rates to extreme levels of physical stress and then study their reaction to morphine. We would not, however, subject humans to similar levels of stress, expose them to morphine, and then see if they became drug addicts. Social scientists often must study the etiology of drug addiction in a more circuitous manner. (Winfree, Abadinsky, 2003)
This rings true in the field of theoretical evaluation. Even though a theory can be tested over and over when it comes to crime and prevention, the lack of a controlled environment for testing a theory must be transferred to the real world, where variables are always shifting, thus making the playing field dynamic and ever-changing. This provides for an interesting, if not exciting, study in the thought process involved in the criminal justice system.

If prosecuting bad guys ever gets boring --- something I highly doubt will ever happen --- I'll just start writing textbooks and heading out on the college lecture circuit. Just kidding. The liberals would have me killed in two seconds flat. I think the crux of the matter lies in the fact that I'm getting old and the sight of 7,500 diplomas, awards, degrees, and recommendations plastered to my wall sounds like a cool idea. But even then, smacking the correct idea of criminal justice into the heads of the liberal elite just sounds like a darned cool idea.

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