Essay: Classical Choice Theory
European philosophers who were criticizing the corrupt and authoritative arbitrary nature of their legal system first developed this theory in the 18th century. The ideas about people and the criminal behavior in determining crime came up when these philosophers were changing the legal system thus referring it as choice theory. On the other hand classical theory is based on arguments that the law should not be discriminative and should be applied equally amongst all (Cullen & Agnew, 2006).
The other aspect of the classical and choices theory is ground to the fact that human beings have the capacity to control these choices. The fear to the confrontation of the consequences resulting from their behaviors governs their mode of conduct and therefore refrains from criminal activities. “Human beings have the ability to analyze situations with regard to their positive outcomes and their potential negatives. If the risks involved in engaging in certain behavior are much less than the benefits, then an individual is likely to commit that crime”(Siegel, 2004).
According to the philosophers, people act in a rational manner and choose towards their actions that gives them the greatest pleasure and least pain. The concept is equally applicable to the individuals who are involved in criminal activity. The classical theory holds that “Delinquent behavior is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives the chances of gain outweighs any perceived punishment or loss” (Siegel & Senna, 2004). It is therefore an individual’s choice to commit a crime after considerations of the benefits and possible consequences outcome. The characteristics traits of the offender, nature of the offence, specific factors and situation may affect his/her decision to a point. Psychological state of an individual in relation to emotions, strain and other external pressures is thus considered a contributory factor towards an individual committing a crime (Verma, 2007).