Social Strain Theory Paper

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Theories are useful tools that help individuals understand and explain the world. These theories help individuals to understand to the way Criminal Justice System operates and the people involved in the system. Theories suggest the ways things are, not how they should be. They are not inherently good or bad but they can be used for good or bad purposes. A theory can try to explain crime in a macro level or explain crime at the micro level. Two types of theories are Biological Positivism and the Social Strain Theory. (, 2014) Positivism is based on the idea of a scientific understanding of crime and criminality. It is assumes that there is a distinction between the normal and the deviant. Positivism attempts to study the specific…show more content…
Both share the same definition of crime but do have some differences in the definition. The strain theory defines crime as natural, a violation of consensus. Positivism defines crime as natural, a violation of social consensus. It goes beyond a legal definition. The focus of analysis under the strain theory is on opportunities, the nature of social learning. Positivism focuses on the offender and his or her characteristics. The theories differ when it comes to the cause of crime. Positivism believes the causes to be individual, not a matter of individual choice. The strain theory is caused by learned behaviour and social strains. They also differ in the nature of the offender. Certain types of behaviour, biological and social conditioning and individual differences determine positivism. The nature of the offender according to the strain theory is determined by a social pathology. In order to treat the offender under the strain theory’s response to crime is to provide an opportunity to reduce strain or resocialise the offender. Positivism argues that offenders can be treated once they have been diagnosed; each treatment is indeterminate to fit the offender. In order to prevent crime under positivism, there must be an early intervention, diagnosis and classification of crime. Strain theory believes that expanding opportunity and fostering healthy peer group activity can help prevent crime. The criminal justice system is essentially neutral under the strain theory. It believes that individual rehabilitation combing with social programs will benefit offenders. Although positivism and the criminal justice system are also essentially neutral, it takes more of scientific approach. (White et al.,

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