Rational Choice Perspective • What does it mean when a decision is rational? • Someone weighs the costs and benefits of engaging in some behavior and when the benefits outweigh the costs, we engage in said behavior.• f(U) = individuals getting the most out of a situation with the least effort.
Assumptions of Rational Choice Perspective • An individual has precise information about exactly what will occur under any choice made. • An individual has the cognitive ability to weigh every choice against every other choice. • An individual is aware of all possible choices.
Elements of deterrence • Severity – how severe the punishment is. • Certainty – how certain punishment will follow. • Celerity – how related the punishment is to the crime. • Swiftness – how quickly the person is punished after the crime.
ypes of Deterrence • General deterrence • Specific deterrence (incapacitation).Strengths • Economics Professor Gary Becker describes it as, “a unified framework for understanding all human behavior.” • A way to understand what motivates any and all human behavior • Parsimonious • Reduces very complicated human behaviors and decisions to a fairly simplistic framework – people commit crime because the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs. • Has potentially strong predictive capabilities • Remember what theories should be able to do? • Predict behavior • In capturing human behavior as a mathematical equation, it can actually give specific predictions of when people will commit crime.
Weaknesses • Can human behavior really be reduced to a mathematical expression? • Do people even have enough information to make rational decisions? • Do offenders even know state laws concerning sentencing and criminal punishment? • Are there instances where people act irrationally? • Dentist example? • People very loyal to their dentists even though all dentists share about a 50% accuracy rate in detecting dental problems like cavities. • The role of mental illness, drugs and alcohol in criminal offending.
Charles Cooley • The “Looking Glass” self people define themselves according to society’s perception of them. 
Becker • Identified the role of “moral entrepreneurs” in creating moral panics • Many examples of individuals in positions of power trying to create great public concern over a “national crisis” • Not just limited to Criminal Justice • Tipper Gore’s and the Parents Music Resource Center.
The labeling process according to Lemert (Societal Reaction Theory)  Typically primary deviance typically goes undetected  Even if it is detected, the response may be mild or somewhat limited, leading to no further deviance  The more dramatic the response, though, the more likely that secondary deviance results  However there can be no secondary deviance without societal reaction. Two ways labels continue crime  Closes legitimate opportunities  Individuals internalize the label and adopt that role as their own.
Labeling • Labeling theorists critical of conceptions that crime is behavior that violates criminal law. • The criminal justice system is dangerous in the sense that it is “casting the net” of social control too widely. • They argue it’s not the harm that makes an act “criminal”, but whether the label is conferred on the act, and this varies from situation to situation. • The audience, not the actor, determines when certain behavior becomes defined as crime. • Labeling and reacting to offenders as “criminals” makes the crime problem worse.
Marxist/Conflict theories  According to Marxists, there are two different social classes,  The ruling elite or the bourgeoisie who own the means of production.  The proletariat or the working class who are viewed as commodity for the owners.Economic Production  means of production – the raw materials and technology required to make products.  mode of production –the economic base of society; the foundation upon which all other aspects of society are built e.g. capitalism or socialism.
Gender – the socially generated expectations about the attitudes and behaviors of women and men that are typically organized around femininity and masculinity respectively and are the product of social learning.  Patriarchy – social system where men hold most power and enjoy social, political, economic privilege.Gender is socially constructed  Men are socialized into being violent, aggressive, controlling and assertive  This socialization in part comes from popular culture and the media  This leads to more involvement in crime and violence on the part of men
Criminology theories have almost always focused on men offenders and ignored women offenders  Criminology does not pay enough attention to gender in the overwhelming offending disparities between men and women  Most theories do not examine the role of femininity and masculinity in offending  Most theories do not examine the role of patriarchy in offending