Theory in Practice

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Student #1 Mirrett Benta

Theory in Practice

Scientific research reveals individuals chooses to engage in criminal conduct by looking at the opportunities, weighing the benefits versus the punishment. Deterrence and Choice Theory explains people will respond to incentives and disincentives in such a way as to maximize enjoyment and reduce pain because people are rational thinkers.

January 6, 2021, when communities around the U.S. and the world watched a violent assault that tried to overthrow the process of American democracy and lead to lives lost, will be remembered as a dark and challenging day. Thousands of protestors smashed glass panels of windows and doors, vandalized offices, left threatening messages for selected Congress members, and strewn official documents across the floor in several offices. Thousands of rioters made their way into the Capitol and assaulted law enforcement officers with baseball bats and fire extinguishers. Several officers were seriously injured, and protestors took come lives. Insurgent groups, empowered by former President Donald Trump to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat, breached the Capitol and fought against the traditional counting of the electoral votes to confirm President Joe Biden’s win. Why did millions of Americans choose to respect the electoral process, and others outright refused to do so? I reference Choice Theory to explain their action. The maximization of enjoyment was evident as the event aired in real-time on the news and numerous social media platforms. It was beneficial in many ways for the protestors to breach the Capitol and make their mark in history. The was no doubt the experience was pleasurable for them. At the moment, they were in control and suffered no pain. The Capitol attack was strategic and mirrored scientific findings of the Classical and Rational Choice theories. People think before they proceed with criminal actions and will risk committing a crime to reap the benefits of that crime, for a particular gain. The insurgents figured it would be beneficial to showcase their loyalty to the former President publicly.

I fully support law enforcement efforts to locate and personally keep accountable those who have engaged in this deadly and destructive action to disrupt the process of American democracy. Protecting the right to exercise free speech and assembly has always been my position as a law enforcement professional. Thankfully, I have never encountered any event such as the attack and violence at the U.S. Capitol. The review of the theories will allow for a more holistic perspective of such events rather than a distinctive assessment of behavior. It is not that individuals should not be held criminally liable for their conduct; however, I envision assessing the theories propelling specific actions a more viable approach, which can lead to effective social change, especially for these types of events.

Walsh, A., & Jorgensen, C. (2018). Criminology: The essentials (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Publications. Chapter 1, “An Overview of Crime and Criminology” (pp. 1–21)

Walsh, A., & Jorgensen, C. (2018). Criminology: The essentials (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Publications. Chapter 4, “The Early Schools of Criminology” (pp. 64–82

Walsh, A., & Jorgensen, C. (2018). Criminology: The essentials (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Publications. Chapter 5, “Crime as Choice: Rationality, Emotion, and Criminal Behavior” (pp. 83–99)

Student #2 Shalanda Walton

When it comes to the theories of criminology and theories in practice there are many factors that play into why a certain crime or deviant act has occurred. What could be some of the reasons why individuals commit crimes and engage in deviant behavior. Being able to learn why only a specific age group, lifestyle, or platform are committing crimes or acting in a deviant manner is important when comparing data as well as crime prevention. Criminology is being implemented to display the reasons or ideology behind the crime being committed. Some theories that are relevant when dealing with individuals from all ages who suffer from drug addiction are that the individuals have been through some degree of trauma and could not cope with their own reality.

Living in a community or neighborhood that is poverty stricken, overcrowded, along with a decrease in opportunities for employment. More individuals look to criminal behavior due to the lack of supervision and support for from their family or loved ones. I believe that the concept of personal responsibility may affect my view in a minute way as one should take personal responsibility of their actions and the roles that these theories play and seek medical treatment and rehabilitation. Most of the time the ones who participate in this negative behavior does come from a broken household with a single parent.

By viewing this criminal justice event through a criminology theory could better prepare me for my career as a future professional because I will have the knowledge of the whole person and not just the crimes they have committed. Being able to make a decision with an unbiased mind and hopefully lessen crime and deviant behavior. Viewing drug addiction through a criminological theory would affect my efforts toward social change by holding myself and other co-workers accountable for actions that are ethically and morally wrong. Treating everyone with respect and dignity along with assisting criminals with the appropriate tools and resources to be successful within their community.


Walsh A., and Jorgensen, C. (2018). Criminology. An overview of crime and criminology. The essentials. Thousand oaks. Sage productions.

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