This paper addresses the principles of Choice Theory with the origin of Classical Theory, as well as the Trait Theory which originated from the Positivist Theory. It establishes the differences between the two criminological theories. The defining characteristics are addressed to help the reader understand the relation between the two as well. The distinctions and descriptions are supported by various scholarly authors, and will be listed below. The ideas of the Choice Theory originated from the principles and ideas of the Classical Theory.
Back in the late 1700’s it was the understanding of the criminologist, that criminals would typically assess the possible benefits of conscious and rational choice before committing a crime. Choice theory establishes a mindset focused on the benefits they will render by becoming involved in a criminal act over the possibilities of punishment or rather conviction of the crime in question. Classical Theory was developed by Cesare Beccaria, an Italian social thinkers as stated in the text (pg. 84) after which, about a hundred years later the idea of Positivist Theory was developed and became the focus of the criminologist.
Although the Positivist Theory made an appearance within the study, not much longer after they shifted back to the original thoughts of Cesare Beccaria. As the years went on Beccaria original idea of Choice Theory developed into something greater and more advanced in its description. According to one article “Rational Choice Theory, Crime Control Policy, and Criminological Relevance” states it is matured into a more comprehensive perspective that ultimately appreciates the complexity of the nature of criminal behavior.
Within this crime theory, suggest that criminals are typically not fearfully of breaking the law because the excitement and thrill of the crime is far too enjoyable for these criminals. However if the criminal believe the punishment was too severe they will not engage in or every think to repeat their criminal offense. The notion that physical and mental traits distinguish a criminal from another is the principles of the Trait Theory. These criminals commit crime based on environmental effects as well the diet or food in which they may consume.
It originated from the Positivist Theory that rejects the idea that the criminal makes a conscious and/or rational choice to commit a crime; but rather their character differences is what constitutes their criminal behavior. These differences suggest the criminologist conclusion of deviant member within society and helps them identify them as such. The idea of this theory suggest that criminals have a distinct characteristics that causes them to commit a crime but it is in fact an unconscious act because it a personal trait in which only few possess.
It is easy to distinguish the difference between the Choice theory of Classical criminology and the Trait Theory of Positivist criminology. These differences include the free will of the classical criminology philosophy where the criminal calculates or determines if the crime is worth the risk of being convicted, whereas positivist criminology philosophy indicates the criminal is subject to external forces causing them to commit a crime. Choice theory suggest that the solution to this philosophy is any form of deterrence.
And the solution for Positivist criminals is also some form of intervention. Classical criminology places importance on the idea of agency verses positivist places it concern on structure. Classical criminals must be punished whereas positivist criminals need rehabilitation. The similarities include they are both criminals act that need to be addressed to prevent them from occurring. Whatever form to therapy, rehab or intervention that needs to take place has to occur. Another similarity is the time it was founded. Both theories were established around the same time era.