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Criminology / Life Course Theory

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    Criminology; “The study of the making of laws, the breaking of laws, and the social reaction to the breaking of laws. ” (Fuller: Pg 4. ) In other words it is the study of how people acknowledge how crime is comited and the resoning behing it, as well as peoples reaction to it. One of the theories that one can study through Criminology is the Life Course Theory, which is “a perspective that focuses on the development of antisocial behavior, risk factors at different ages, and the effect of life events on individual development. (Fuller: Pg 140. ) This refers to a “multidisciplinary paradigm” for the study of people’s lives, structural contexts, and social change in which they find what are the causes and factors that go into the birth of criminal actions. One of the theories of Criminology is the Integrated theories of crime, it represents an attempt to bridge the ideological differences that exist among various older theories of crime by integrating variables from disparate theoretical approaches.

    By integrating a variety of ecological, socialization, psychological, biological, and economic factors into a coherent structure, such theories overcome the shortcomings of older theories that may be criticized on the grounds of reductionism. One way one can aproach this through analizing crime by the reasoning behind it, such as the way a subject may have grown up in a abusive home which led the subject to later in life adopt the same behavior. Antisocial behavior begins early in life and often continues through adolescence and adulthood.

    Early antisocial behavior can lead to more serious consequences and early intervention prevents delinquency. The adolescent-limited delinquent breaks the law only during youth. Life-course-persistent offernders continue to break the law and engange in antisocial behavior well into adulthood. On the other hand the Intergrated theory uses several theories to explain more types of antisocial behavior these are strain, self-control, and social learning explanations of crime into an organized theory that specifies how these interact to produce crime and delinquency.

    For example people who have more control exerted on them than they exert on others are likely to become antisocial a real life example of this would be a chold who hets beaten by their parents is more likely to participate in delinquent behavior than those who dont. On the other hand people who have too much control over others are also likely to engage in antisocial behavior. Those with a balance of control are less likely to become antisocial and engage in unlawful or unacceptable behavior.

    One mayor theory learned through the Life Course Theory is that aggressive or antisocial behavior among children is not “just a phase” to be outgrown. Antisocial behavior in early childhood is the most accurate predictor of delinquency in adolescence, in children it can be accurately identified as early as three or four years of age. If an antisocial behavior pattern is not altered by the end of third grade it can become chronic, only to be “managed” through supports and interventions; prevention and early intervention are the best hopes we have of diverting children from this path.

    In every school, three types of students can be identified: typical students not at risk, students with an elevated risk, and students who have already developed antisocial behavior patterns. A three-tiered strategy of prevention and intervention is the most efficient way to head off potential problems and address existing ones. Primary Prevention: School-wide activities to prevent risk of developing antisocial patterns. Secondary Prevention: Targeting at-risk students for more individualized prevention activities.

    Tertiary Prevention: Long-term, intensive services for students with persistent patterns of antisocial behavior, delinquency, violence, and destructiveness in other words this would mean that you would keep a child busy enough with activities that would ward off anti social behavior. Life-course criminology focuses on three issues: Development of antisocial behavior, poor parenting and bad conduct in early childhood as well as school failure and social rejection can lead to antisocial behavior. One of the first steps to deliquency is poor parenting. Parents who are harsh in their discipline provide poor role models.

    Also parents who do not supervise their childrens activities are more likely to develop offspring who engange in antisocial behavior. The problems of poor parenting and bad conduct can lead to more serious concerns in middle childhood. The social development model hypothesizes that during the elementary school developmental period, children learn patterns of behaviour, whether pro-social or antisocial, primarily from the socializing units of the family and school, with peers and neighbourhood influences playing an increasing role as children progress through the elementary school years.

    Studies have shown that children who are antisocial perform poorly in school. They might disrupt the classroom and fail to do their homework. They spend less academic time on task and lack academic skills such as regular attendance and participation in the class. One more problem that can cause antisocial behavior would be is rejection from social groups. Another Life Course issue is Risk factors at different ages which involve crimes caused by a variety of different age groups. Juvenile delinquents can be responsible for a great deal of crime.

    Some youths are never fully belong into a conventional society, are always at the bring of social groups, and eventually end up in the juvenile justice system. The life-course persistent offender is constantly breaking the law. The life-course persistent offernders are decribed as individuals who exhibit changing manifestations of antisocial behavior: biting and hitting at age four, shoplifting and truancy at age ten, selling drugs and stealing car at age six-teen, robbery and rape at age twenty-two, and fraud and child abuse at age of thirty.

    The disposition remains the same, but its expression changes form as new social opportunities rise at different points in development. This pattern is matched also by cross-situational consistency. Life-course-persistent antisocial children and adults, life at home, steal from shops, cheat at school and fight in bars as well as embezzle at work. The final Life Course issue is the effect of life events on individual’s development, which is the development of human beings, their societies, and cultures are impacted by genetic and social factors of course, family also plays a role in this.

    The individual begins his/her development as a result of genetics which are imbedded in the bio-chemical make-up of the human being which is “How brains adopt psychological character depends not only on accidents of environmental events but also on their innate architecture. ” (Gazzaniga, 1985, p. 11). The basic needs of man/woman must be satisfied in order that he/she may function on the organic level. But in order that he/she may function satisfactorily on the social plane, the most fundamental of the basic social needs must be satisfied in an emotionally adequate manner for personal security or equilibrium (Montagu, 1966, p. 9). In most cases, the family social environment influences the person’s early belief and value systems. In conclusion the Life Course Theory teaches us how people are analyzed based on their enviorments, culture and their social bonds that lead to anti-social behavior

    Work Cited

    1. Fuller, John R. Think Criminology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.
    2. Gazzaniga, M. S. (1985). The Social Brain – Discovering the Networks of the Mind. New York; Basic Books Montagu, A. (1966).
    3. On Being Human. New York: Hawthorn Books;

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