Examining The Perspective Of Three Criminal Theories Criminology Essay

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Purposes: This study intends to use the perspective of three criminal theories: Social disorganization, Differential association and labeling theory to understand and eventually address the issues surrounding education, socioeconomic status and social dilemmas in respect to incarceration amongst juveniles. Specifically, the study intends to answer the following research questions: How does education, socioeconomic status and social dilemmas affect incarceration among Juveniles in America? How can education, socioeconomic status and social problems decrease the rate of incarceration among Juveniles in America?

What are some environmental factors that predetermine criminal outcome amongst juveniles? Many questions, theories and researcher are generated in order to tackle an issue of this magnitude. The raw data that one uses to conceptualize may prevent a strong conviction when presenting this type of data amongst a broad spectrum. The intentions of ones study should solely focus on the prevention process rather than just presenting factual material to its audience. Stereotypes, pigeonholes and over-generalizations should be address. Misrepresentation amongst the minority group tends to produce a more compelling statistic.

Nature of the problem:

How does education, economic status and social problems affect incarceration among Juveniles in America?

Winters (1997) stated that, "Crime statistics indicate that levels of academic achievement, school attendance and graduation rates play an important role in the involvement of youth in the criminal justice system." Levitt (1998) and Mocan and Rees make available verification to show higher levels of confined unemployment and higher levels of local poverty associated with higher levels of crime. Family benefit status, a substitute for family deficiency, has a positive impact on juvenile offending. Finally, family construction and the education of the juveniles' parents also have an impact on delinquent behavior (1998). How can education, economic status and social problems decrease the rate of incarceration among Juveniles in America?

Spence (1950 p.3) stated "that there is a wide agreement that delinquency is not to be thought of in terms of single factors or combination of factors but rather a relationship between a individual and his community" Spence goes on to say that intolerable but be found throughout all the interrelationships that exist between individuals and their communities.


Social disorganization theory pioneers Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay suggested that disorganized communities characterized by poverty, population heterogeneity, and residential mobility weakened the effectiveness of social controls (Kelly, 2000; Messner, Baumer, & Rosenfeld, 2004). Social disorganization theory and the evidence cited as support for this type of theory generated considerable criticism. One line of criticism came from theorists advocating alternative perspectives which addressed the sources of motivation for crime.

Differential Association

Southerland (1939, 1947) originally specified differential association theory in 1939 in the third edition of his influential text, Principles of Criminology. Differential organization is a erudition theory which focuses on the processes by which persons approach to consign criminal acts illegal behavior is learned. Southerland (1942, 19730 concluded that a multiple factor approach by itself did not provide a scientific understanding of crime. He noted that race and sex are highly correlated with delinquency, as males and Blacks commit more delinquent acts than females and Whites. Matsueda (2000) inferred that at the level of the individual, the process of differential association provides a social psychological explanation of how normative conflict ion society translates into individual criminal acts. Their differential social control theory specifies that delinquent behavior occurs in problematic situations in which individuals take the role of significant others and considers the others reaction to alternative lines of action before selecting a delinquent or non delinquent solution to the problem.


The word education in association with crime can be defined in many different instances. The role of education and school are interchangeable. The role of the school and prevention needs to have an insight to what is the causing of crime and delinquency, define tracking and demonstrate how it relates to delinquency. The relationship between IQ and delinquency may cause some unrest at the schools. Talk about the extent of victimization at school and responses to the problem. One should try and identify preschool programs and discuss their impact on crime and delinquency. Many theorists emphasize the importance of schools in developing behavior. Cohen (1995), Cloward and Ohlin (1960) and Merton (1968) point to blocked attainment and feelings of failure as a source of deviant behavior. Each of these theorist claims that an individual faced with little or no chance of success in legitimate endeavors will turn to deviant avenues for sources of success and support. These informal chains rest on the assumption that youth's value educational achievement. Negative evaluations in the education setting would then hold the potential for lowering the juveniles' self esteem. One of the more influential studies of the educational system in the United States found that parents of all social classes are very interested in their children's educational success (Coleman, 1966). Vinter and Sarri (1965) reported that this emphasis on educational success extends to the youths themselves. Two studies show that minority and poor students place a higher value on education than other student (Coleman, 1966; Reiss & Rhodes, 1959). Despite this near-universal desire to achieve in school, lower class and minority students invariably make up the group that most often fails. Those who fail in school typically exhibit misbehavior and delinquency both in and out of school.

There are many studies that point to the failure-delinquency relationship. Polk and Hafferty (1966) noted that students who perform poorly in school and are not committed to educational achievement admit to higher levels of deviant behavior. Hirsachi (1969), studied about 4,000 young men and found that those youth with little are no commitment to school and education displayed higher levels of delinquency. There is a constant correlation between uneducated and criminal activity. "The most statistically [significant] fact of a cohort or persons in prison from approximately 18 to 27 years of age is that over 90 percent of them lack a high school diploma" ("'School-to-Prison Pipeline'; Poor Schools," 2009, p. A17) This is an excerpt from the Washington Post in which Young (2009) record the similarities and correlations that are inter twined with school and prison. A shocking discovery, In addition, the schools have turned to law enforcement for handling what used to be student disciplinary action at the schools. So, a combination of the school-to-prison pipeline and over utilizing the criminal system to handle student disciplinary matters, as well as the high dropout for students, leads to a well-known statistic " ("'School-to-Prison Pipeline'; Poor Schools," 2009, p. A17). One question a researcher could raise is, what factors or forces pushed the schools panel to decide to use law enforcement for governing the student disciplinary problems.

Socioeconomic Status

Over the past three decades, the average socioeconomic status of African-American males has deteriorated, absolutely and relative to men from other racial and ethnic groups Raphael (2004).The most popular belief associated with Socio-Economic Status and Delinquency is that the lower class adolescents will have a greater number of deviants versus the middle or lower class. Akers (1964) reported that Ivan Nye conducted a research in the Washington metro area, with questions were strongly raised to find a different outcome of the association of deviant adolescents with the combination of crime. Raphael (2004) states, that having served a prison sentence worsens one's labor market prospects for a variety of reasons, and thus aggravates stubborn racial differences in employment and pay. If the phenomenon comprehensibly effect the adult population and more specific the Black male population, then it to must affect juveniles.