Discussion Board Forum 2
Which one of the theories presented in the text do you consider most valid, and why? Support your answer with evidence from your reading or other primary sources. Integrate at least 1 biblical reference.
• Choice theory suggests that juvenile offenders are rational decision makers who choose to engage in antisocial activity because they believe their actions will be beneficial. Whether they join a gang, steal cars, or sell drugs, their delinquent acts are motivated by the belief that crime can be a relatively risk-free way to better their situation, make money, and have fun. They have little fear of getting caught or being harshly punished. Some have fantasies of riches, and others may enjoy the excitement produced by criminal acts such as beating up someone or stealing a car. They may be greedy, thoughtless, selfish, and even cruel; they do what they have to do, to get what they want to get.
• Trait theory suggests that delinquent acts, such as the behaviors that Eric was getting involved in, are the product of personal problems and conditions. Many forms of delinquency, such as substance abuse and violence, appear more impulsive than rational, and these behaviors may be inspired by aberrant physical or psychological traits. Delinquent youth are not really rational decision makers but troubled adolescents driven by uncontrollable personal problems such as hyperactivity, low intelligence, biochemical imbalance, or genetic defects.
Social structure theories tie delinquency rates to both socioeconomic structural conditions (e.g., poverty, chronic unemployment, neighborhood deterioration) and cultural values (e.g., gang culture). Areas that experience high levels of poverty and social disorganization, that maintain deviant cultural values, will also have high delinquency rates. Residents of such areas view conventional social values, such as hard work and getting an education, skeptically. They believe that they can never be part of the American Dream.
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