Rational choice theory is one theory that explains the subject’s criminal behavior in the scenario. “Rational choice theory proposes that offenders weigh the opportunities, cost, and benefits of particular crimes” (Hagan, 2013). The subject’s statement, “I knew what I was doing, I just wanted to get out of that life” indicates he made rational choices to break into places, steal items, and do drugs. “Rational choice theorists admit that much behavior is only partially rational, but that most offenders know quite well what they are doing” (Hagan, 2013). The subject also mentioned that he was married with a child. He made a rational choice to continue offending, despite having been given the opportunity to return home with his family.
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Though the subject made a rational choice, some factors may have led to his offending. He mentioned that he was raised in a family with a history of crime. His father and sister’s criminal habits could have influenced his behavior; these factors may have constrained his choice.
Ecological theory also applies to the subject’s criminal behavior. The subject stated “I’m tired of this town…someone’s always causing trouble. The subject might have associated with neighborhood friends, who always found themselves in trouble; this may have led to him offending.
Recent Biological Theory is another theory that applies to the subject. The subject mentioned he suffers from depression and has no money for medication. He also stated that he becomes aggressive when he’s off his medication and that he had struck his wife in the past. Psychiatric counseling, in addition to monitored medication, may lessen his chances of reoffending.
I would ask the subject ‘why do you commit the crimes that you do?’ to determine the origins of his criminality. I don’t believe in softball questions where a subject can dance around them. Asking a subject to tell me about his childhood will not work. Criminals know the reason behind their actions but are too ashamed to admit them. If the interview leads to his childhood, I’ll go from there and ask more hardball questions that could even embarrass him. But whether it’s previous or current mental, physical, or sexual abuse, the subject knows why they do what they do. A criminal’s behavior cannot be changed until they admit and accept the source of their problems and agree to work on them. For instance, an alcoholic will not stop drinking until he can admit to himself why is it that he drinks. I believe in getting to the source of the problem at the fastest and most efficient way possible that will benefit all parties. Even if that means hurting a few feelings.
Hagan, F., (2013). Introduction to Criminology
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.