Turning to Crime

Reasons why people turn to crime and others don't.

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Farringinton (1996) - Problem Familes

Context: Taking nuture approach into why people turn to crime

Aim: Do problem familes produce problem children?

Sample: 411 boys predominantly white from the working class in East London across 6 state schools aged 8/9 years (born in 1953/1954)

Procedure: Longitudinal survey, Data gathered via self-report at age 48 and searches of criminal records of participants and close biological relations

Results: Problem families do produce problem children. The number of offences and offenders peaked at age 17. Those who started a criminal career at 10-13 were all nearly reconvicted once (91%), and most shared common risk factors e.g. a convicted parent, deliquent sibilings, a young mother, a large family etc.

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Sutherland (1934) - Differential Association Theory

1. Criminal behaviour is learned not inherited.

2. Criminal behaviour is learned through communication (non-verbal/verbal)

3. Learning criminal behaviour occurs within intimate groups (family, close friends)

4. The learning includes the technqiues of committing the crime (lock-picking)

5. The specific direction of motives depends on views of the law

6. In theory interaction with criminals/criminal behaviour can be quantified

7. Learning criminal behaviour is learning in the same way as other behaviours (classical conditioning, operate conditioning and social learning theory)

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Wikstrom (2000) - Poverty and Disadvantaged Areas

Aim: To find out what extent does poverty and social disadvantage contribute to criminal behaviour

Sample: Appox. 2000 Year 10 pupils (aged 14-15)

Findings: There are 3 groups of people: 'The Bad Egg' a group more dominiant on the individuals within (high-risk) - 'Mixing with the wrong crowd' less risk however prone to peer pressure - 'Wrong place at wrong time' situational problems are reasons for crime rather than the personality.

Conclusion: Gives insight into young offenders from the nurture perspective, and though reductionist may aid in reducing the number of young offenders and offences committed by younger people.

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