|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Criminal law Forensic science Criminal justice Human behavior|
Crime can be defined as a deviation from the usual practice of society and rules that govern normal behavior. Victims of crime usually wonder why individuals commit the crime. But studying criminology will help one to understand why individuals engage in misconduct behaviors as well as how criminals think and come up with ways of assimilating the criminal while controlling crime. Several theories have been developed to explain why people commit crimes. One particular approach is the rational choice theory, which suggests that people use analytical reasoning to make intelligent choices to attain results that are aligned with their objectives. The method helps to explain how an individual's mind functions in leading him/her to engage in crime. This essay is designed to focus on rational choice theory and determine the strengths and weaknesses of this describing a criminal behavior.
The criminal act chosen in this case is the one for Jennifer Dulos, who went missing in May 2019 during an acrimonious divorce. It was later discovered that her husband, together with his girlfriend, murdered her because of their gains. Rational choice theory best fits this crime because Jennifer's husband was used to beating his wife, and he had once attempted to hit her in the summer of 2017 in the car where she suffered head injuries. He chooses to beat his wife because he felt like it. Based on the information that was provided, this was something that Fotis was used to doing or what is known as a choice.
Jennifer Dulos, a mother of five, disappeared on May 5, 2019, and has not been found. It was assumed that her husband and his girlfriend murdered her because bloodstains found in his vehicle matched that off Jennifer's. He was also seen on camera in Hartford North end disposing of what looks like black garbage bags in garbage bins along Albany Ave. Although the search of the garbage landfill was conducted for many months, the authorities have yet to come up with more physical evidence.
Jennifer Dulos filed for divorce from her husband, and in that filing, she requested full custody of her five children. Instead, she was granted shared custody with her husband, Fotis, pending the divorce proceedings. Fotis had an affair, which may have been the reason for the divorce filing. The supposed girlfriend was also a part of what investigators believed a plot to kill Jennifer and dispose of the body.
Most recently Fotis, was not at his court hearing, when officers, on orders from the court went to his home, after breaking in, Fotis was found unconscious in his car that was locked in the garage. EMT tried to revive him, and he was flown to a hospital in New York where he later died. The families are now in court, not only legally fighting for properties but also for the children's well-being.
The investigation has taken center stage here in Connecticut, as the case is ongoing with the girlfriend and another person of interest, Foti's lawyer and friend. They presumably what Foti's plans were regarding his wife's and the mother of his five children's disappearance. All this time, their five children have been living with his wife's mother in another state.
Description of Theory
The crime theory that best fits the above scenario is the rational choice theory. This is a significant theory in classical criminology that best describes the reason for most crimes in society. It develops the belief that human beings are reasoning actors who weigh costs and benefits, means, and ends before making rational choices. According to Paternoster et al. (2017), the sound choice theory, there are situational factors that are considered the main reasons for committing the crime. There also exists a connection between wrongdoing and rational choice. In most cases, people deliberately engage in misconduct, and they are usually aware that the act they are engaging in is unlawful.
The theory also stipulates that people participate in crime because of their own free will. Before engaging in crime, they first evaluate their actions. After assessing the situation, they then do a valuation on whether there is a possibility of completing the activity without any restriction. They also hold information that helps them to choose the best alternative to execute their goals.
The rational choice theory also affirms that individuals who engage in crime are motivated to do so because of the desire to make illegal gains (Newman & Clarke, 2016). They know very well the consequences of committing crimes, but they instead choose to ignore these consequences and engage in crime irrespective of the results. Criminals will proceed to execute crimes where the benefits outweigh the costs and risks involved and where a chance to commit a crime exists (Newman & Clarke, 2016).
To control criminal behaviors, punishment should be enforced on those behaviors that individuals choose to do that breaks the law. The severity of the sentence, however, should correlate to the severity of the crime committed. Today, most countries have turned to capital punishment as well as the death penalty to prevent people from committing a crime. According to Clarke & Felson (2017), avoiding or reducing crimes can be achieved through the implementation of policies that convince offenders to abstain from illegal behaviors. Since the theory is mostly based on the idea that people are likely to engage in crime if they do not fear punishments, the law, as well as the enforcement procedures, should be designed in a manner that aberrant actions are considered harmful. Hence, they should be accorded the appropriate penalty (Clarke & Felson, 2017).
Description of how theory fits the crime
After the court hearing, Fotis Dulos was charged with murder and kidnapping. As it was earlier suspected, he killed his wife Jennifer Dublos with the help of his girlfriend. He wanted his case to be a probable cause case, which is mostly impossible. He had to appear in court so that the judges can see whether there was adequate evidence for him to be charged. Later on, he was arrested but was released on a bond of $7 million. The rational choice theory comes in where Fotis' sister and niece were interviewed by the courant, saying that Fotis was used to beating his wife. He chooses to beat his wife because that is what he always felt like. In 2017, it was said that he had tried to hit her where she suffered a head injury.
Based on the information that was provided, this was something that Fotis was used to doing or what can be regarded as a choice. As it was observed in Fotis' phone records, he was around his wife's home at the time the murder happened, and this shows that he was the main suspect. To sum it up all, Fotis is seen to have abusive behavior. The crime scene was bloody, and this signifies that the person who conducted that act had no mercy at all. Again, Fotis chose to beat his wife, and he was all too happy to kill her at the end of it all eventually. He believed that he was doing right by harming her as she also falsified her disappearance.
The strength of the rational choice theory is that it directly challenges an individual's motivations and infers that specific individuals have criminal intents according to their situations as well as their understanding. It necessitates logic and reasoning, and it eliminates all emotion from the equation, and does not have to depend on the concept of abnormality and to handle criminals as individuals (Clarke & Felson, 2017). The weakness of this theory is that in real life, it is not clear, simple, or forthright. Most importantly is that individuals seldom are rational in the sense of assessing probable outcomes. They usually act on a whim, not thinking things through like in the case of Fotis and his girlfriend. They chose without thinking of the risks and benefits associated with that choice
In conclusion, this paper has provided an analysis of rational choice theory, which helps in explaining the way an individual's mind functions in leading him/her to engage in crime. Based on this theory, what motivates individuals to engage in crime is their individual goals and wants, and their desires usually drive them. Since it can be impossible for people to achieve everything that they may desire, they should make choices that are related to their goals as well as the ways to accomplish the goals. Therefore, people should antedate the results of an alternative course of action and determine the activities that are best for them. Eventually, rational individuals can choose the alternative that is more likely to offer the highest satisfaction.
Clarke, R. V., & Felson, M. (2017). Introduction: Criminology, routine activity, and rational choice. In Routine activity and logical choice (pp. 1-14). Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315128788
Newman, G., & Clarke, R. V. (2016). Logical choice and situational crime prevention: Theoretical foundations. Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Rational-Choice-and-Situational-Crime-Prevention-Theoretical-Foundations/Newman-Clarke/p/book/9781855219472
Paternoster, R., Jaynes, C. M., & Wilson, T. (2017). Rational choice theory and interest in the "Fortune of Others." Journal of Research in crime and Delinquency, 54(6), 847-868. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022427817707240
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