Assess the Use of Criminological Theories in Informing Policy Development

Assess the Use of Criminological Theories in Informing Policy Development

The Importance of Criminological Theories in Policy Development

  • Criminological theories play a key role in informing policy development because they provide insights into the nature, cause and extent of criminal behaviour.

  • These theories allow policy makers to understand the root cause of crime, thereby guiding them in creating effective policies to prevent its occurrence and re-occurrence.

  • Examples of criminological theories that inform policy development include classicism, positivism, social disorganisation theory, conflict theory, and rational choice theory.

Use of Classicism in Policy Development

  • Classicism is a criminological theory that views crime as a free-willed rational decision and suggests that punishment should be proportionate to the crime.

  • Policy makers can employ classicism to develop laws that deter potential criminals through harsh penalties and to ensure justice in sentencing.

Contribution of Positivism to Policy Development

  • Positivism, another critical theory in criminology, views crime as a result of factors outside the individual’s control, such as social environments or genetics.

  • Policymakers using positivism would advocate for rehabilitation and treatment programmes to address these underlying issues contributing to criminal behaviour.

Influence of Social Disorganization Theory in Policy Development

  • Social Disorganization Theory posits that high crime rates can be attributed to the breakdown of social institutions like education, family, and employment in a neighbourhood.

  • This theory encourages policymakers to implement community-focused solutions to crime, such as improving local education and creating jobs.

Role of Conflict Theory in Policy Development

  • Conflict Theory argues that crime arises from social or economic power struggles.

  • Policies shaped by this theory aim to address inequality and social injustice in order to reduce crime.

Rational Choice Theory and Its Impact on Policy Development

  • Rational Choice Theory asserts that individuals commit crimes based on a rational calculation of the potential benefits and risks.

  • Policy developed from the perspective of rational choice theory would aim to adjust the perceived rewards and punishments associated with criminal behaviour to deter potential criminals.