Criminal Theories



Strainand Differential association Theories

Thisis a theory that was put forward by Edwin Sutherland. It proposedpeople learn about criminal activities through attitudes, techniques,values and motivation from other individuals who exercise criminalactivities (Lilly,&nbspJ.&nbspR.,Cullen,&nbspF.&nbspT., &amp Ball,&nbspR.&nbspA. 2015).It is a disease that is infected by association. On the other hand,Strain theory was developed by Robert Merton it argues that peopledefy what is culturally accepted to achieve another culturallyaccepted norm. For instance, making money is a widely acceptedculture, but people may opt different means to reach that stage.While others are genuine in making money, others will use scrupulousmeans. These two theories show how social behaviors affect someone tocommit crimes. In both theories motivation and desire to achieveparticular social status is used to influence people to commit acrime, while in Sutherland theory motivation may come from othercriminals in Strain it comes from the desire to achieve culturallyaccepted achievements.

Thesetwo theories have various principles that they believe they arefollowed by criminal in committing crimes. Merton proposes strain inpeople committing a crime is as a result of resentment and anger,these individuals are pressured by these characteristic to achieve,which eventually result to welcoming any means to achieve their goals(Lilly.J.R. et al., 2015) This characteristic is common in lessaffluent classes who lack vocational and educational opportunities tomake it in life. To reduce the strain imposed on them by the societyand trying to fit in, they end in crime to become like others.

Mertonuses five characteristics of the society to elaborate further histheory, firstly the conformity. In this characteristic, he shows howpeople have already adopted the social norms to adopt goals. Peoplewill follow legitimate means as conformity on how to achieve thesegoals has already diffused in the society. The characteristic he putsforward is innovation, here people will go for what is sociallyaccepted but the roads to reach there will be illegitimate. This ischaracterized by drug dealing falsifying IRS forms or corporatecrimes. These innovations emanate as a result of the strain someonebears when the importance placed on success surpasses the means toachieve it. Thirdly, there is the ritualism. In this case, peoplewill leave what is considered as cultural goals while adhering tocultural norms and means. The last characteristic is retreatism herepeople reject what the society general accepts as goals and means toachieve those goals. Rebels may best describe this person best theycome up with a different alternative from the existing order. Fromthe above characteristic crime result except in a society thatexhibits conformity characteristics.

Sutherlandtheory, show that crime is learned when a person in his or her earlylife interacts with people who have moral authority over them theprobability is they will follow their footsteps (Lilly J.R et al.,2015). When lack of something has always been achieved through crime,then a child will develop a crime nature to satisfy the needs thatwill be experienced in their lives. If one’s surrounding favorscrimes whether in talks, social media that will be the basis forencouraging one to commit a crime. For instance, there in someneighborhood that drug dealing is socially accepted norm thus makingit easy for any child to follow those footsteps. Here one will betaught everything he /she needs to do while committing a crime.


Lilly,&nbspJ.&nbspR.,Cullen,&nbspF.&nbspT., &amp Ball,&nbspR.&nbspA. (2015).Criminologicaltheory: Context and consequences.Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.