The paper "Theories of Criminology on a Case Study" is an excellent example of a case study on social science. In the study of crime, theories are used to try to understand and explain why and how people commit the crime. This paper examines crimes that occur in case study 3 in light suitable theories of criminology. The case concerns a defendant who killed two people, the first a fifteen-year-old boy so that he could not report him to anyone and the second a 25-year-old man whom he claims to have sold drugs on his turf.
The theory of differential association used to understand and explain crime was advanced by Edwin Sutherland (Walsh & Hemmens, 2013). The theory suggests that people learn values, techniques, motives, and attitudes of criminal behavior through interaction with other people. When one lives with people who have criminal behaviors, it becomes easier for them to endorse such tendencies. As such, people who are brought up in families where crime is condoned or associate with friends who have criminal behavior are likely to develop criminal behavior (Walsh & Hemmens, 2013). In this case study, several incidences in which the defendant’ s behavior might have been altered due to his association with other people are evident.
Throughout his life, the defendant has lived with family members of questionable behaviors. First, the defendant’ s mother Tammy dropped out of high school and none of his parents or step-parents attended college. This possibly explains why the defendant was not consistent in attending school. The defendant was absent 33, 27 and 25 times in kindergarten, in first grade and in second grade respectively. Additionally, the defendant was absent for more than 50 days in both seventh and eighth grades.
The fact Tammy was not concerned about the defendant’ s attendance of school is an indication that the defendant might have endorsed absenteeism from school due to the influence of his parents and step-parents (Walsh & Hemmens, 2013). The defendant’ s violent behavior as exemplified by his killing of two people is possibly a result of his association with a violent father and step-father. By living with them, he might have found it easier to beat up or kill a person than he would have he lived with kinder people.
Robert, the defendant’ s biological father, and Tammy’ s first husband was a violent man who beat her many times. Robert beat Tammy in front of the defendant and his siblings. Timmy, Tammy’ s second husband, and the defendant’ s stepfather were violent. He physically and emotionally abused Tammy and the defendant by slapping, kicking and punching them. By associating with a violent stepfather, the defendant attitude towards violent behavior might have been softened making it easy for him to consider violence when in difficult situations (Walsh & Hemmens, 2013). The theory of differential association also gives insight on how the respondent became a drug user and a drug dealer.
An examination of this case reveals many instances in which the defendant was associated with people who used drugs or dealt with drugs. The defendant’ s father, Robert, was a cocaine addict and Tammy used substances like amphetamines and cocaine as well. Although at first, the defendant did not endorse the use of drugs, for example, by hiding his father’ s cocaine vials, living with people who used drugs might have contributed to him using drugs when under stress as he was when his father died. His stepfather Timmy had a record of burglary and dealt with drugs by selling methamphetamine.
Timmy even says that he taught his children, including the defendant, how to con and steal. He admits to having exposed the defendant to a life of crime. Through association with such individuals, it is conceivable that the defendant’ s rationalizations, motives, and attitudes concerning drug use and drug dealing could have been compromised (Johnson & Groff, 2010).
The criminal behavior of the defendant can also be explained by different theories including biologic and evolutionary rewards (Johnson & Groff, 2010). This theory states that people can acquire certain traits and behaviors because of inheritance. Children born to a family with a predominant behavior are likely to express such behaviors (Johnson & Groff, 2010). The defendant was born to a family with multigenerational criminal and drug addiction problems. Ronald, the defendant’ s maternal grandfather was an alcoholic. The defendant’ s parents all used drugs, including Tammy who used drugs when pregnant with the defendant.
Robert, the defendant’ s father was a cocaine addict. With this in mind, biological positivism can explain the defendant’ s drug addiction problems. The development of drug addiction possibly because biological positivism is further reinforced by the fact that the defendant’ s siblings also developed neurologic impairment which is a risk factor for the development of criminal behavior. The case study presents the defendant who killed two people for reasons connected to drugs. An examination of the case reveals that the defendant acquired violent and criminal behavior and became an addict because possibly because of his association with people with such behaviors and because his family had a history of drug abuse and crime.
As such, the theories of differential association and biological positivism best explain how the defendant became involved in these behaviors. The father and stepfather of the defendant were violent men and in many instanced beat the defendant’ s mother. Association with these people can explain the defendant’ s violent behavior shown by the killing of two people. The defendant’ s grandfather, mother, father, and stepfather all used drugs.
By associating with these individuals, then the defendant’ s values and attitudes towards drug use might have been compromised. The multicultural trend of drug use in the defendant’ s family could have resulted in the defendant inheriting drug abuse behaviors.