On the other hand, individual theories have its differences from social theories of crime and punishment. Individual theories look at the ‘make up’ of an individual to why they may commit crimes. Individualistic explanations of crime can be used as the term ‘biological criminology’. Individual theories within the study of crime focuses on the fact that some individuals were born with inherent criminal predispositions and seem to have a mental and/or physical inclination towards committing a crime.
The use of these theories help with the decision making in why people decide to engage in crimes based on individual principles. Moreover, the individual theories of crime have some roots which links to Cesare Lombroso. Cesare Lombroso identified the biological and the physical characteristics which has an effect on our interpretations.
Another link to the individual theories with crime and punishment is the Rational Choice Theory. This theory involves the Routine Activity Theory. The theory suggests that criminals carefully plan what they are going to do very carefully by selecting specific targets. The individuals who engage with the routine activities on a daily basis place themselves with being at risk of being victimized. Also, individual theories believe that punishment should fit the crime. (Chapter 6 – Individualistic Theories of Delinquency)
When an individual commits a certain crime, the punishment given should be “swift and certain”. The main purpose of the criminal justice system is to prevent crime through the help of deterrence. Thinking about that carefully, a potential criminal will make a decision against committing a crime as because the punishment that they would be given would be too costly. Deterrence is also used when linking individual theories to crime. Having a special or a specific deterrence would imply that punishment will help to prevent offenders from reoffending due to them realising how horrible to punishment is. Most of the research refutes the model of deterrence, this includes the death penalty. (Chapter 6 – Individualistic Theories of Delinquency)
Furthermore, Positivism also plays a good roll with linking the individual theories with crime and punishment. This answers questions through a scientific method. This individual theory argues that individuals do not have free will and this implies that an individual’s behaviour is determined by sociological, biological and psychological factors. Additionally, the positivist school of criminology has the needs to address factors which are the reasons why crime is caused in the first place such as an individual having mental illness or going through poverty. This theory suggests that for punishment, ensure that the punishment given fits the offender rather than fitting the crime and the Criminal Justice System should at least try to rehabilitate the offender. When underlying the principles of the classical school of criminology in relation to crime, some codes of the criminal law or some of the systems of punishment is necessary to respond to crime. The main instrument with the control of human behaviour is fear and pain. (Chapter 6 – Individualistic Theories of Delinquency)
To summarise this essay, I can identify that social theories are mainly looking at geography and the environmental impact that society has on the impact of crime and punishment. However, with individual theories its main focus is looking at the urban environment. This is individuals exploring about their urban environment. Socially, there are many theories that backs up given reasoning to why individuals may look at committing a crime, and the main reason is looking at subculture. On the other hand, individual theories are looking at factors which is effecting the individual their self in reasoning to why they may commit a crime, this could include biological traits and realism theories. Looking at key differences between social and individual theories of crime are important as we can identify the differences to why people may commit a crime and the punishment towards it. Individual theories seem to be the main points to why crime occurs as it is to do with the biological and sociological approaches. Many experiments and research has been carried out to show the individual theories of crime and punishment to help prove this approach.